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Home electronics on the net

Posted: 03 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer electronics? home entertainment? personal video recording? internet? dvd?

DJ Bak

VP Multimedia Segment, STMicroelectronics

The integration of home entertainment and domestic appliances on the Internet will be a major driving force for the consumer electronics market in the next two to three years. The integration of PVR (personal video recording) on the server enabling you to record programs on HDD or DVD recorder from either TV signals or Internet and converting the contents from HDD to DVD recorder and vice versa is already a reality. And with portable wireless Internet adapter or server, you can watch TV and browse the Internet from anywhere in your home, even in your bathtub.

DVD players and STBs for digital broadcasting on satellite, cable, or terrestrial TV will also go to the net where you will be able to better handle video files as well as web browse using TV as monitors. Audio systems can play back music from your PC files, downloaded from broadcasting station or other media through the home network.

Putting your household appliances on the Internet means you can operate them from your workplace. Not home yet? A house guest can only be allowed entry once his identity is verified on the remote camera through the Internet. Imagine too the possibility to surf on your appliances.

What is holding us from having our dream home? Essentially costs. Cost is a major stumbling block keeping consumers at bay. But the good news is that the evolution in the AV entertainment area is driving the trend toward home electronics on the net. As AV equipment do not require separate display monitors, significant costs achievement will come from silicon evolution in large scale integration and faster processing power.

Looking at current complexity of circuits and increasing faster processing power, STB, and DVD are set to lead the change this year.

Silicon costs in STB and DVD have gone down by more than half compared to a few years ago, thanks to SoC integration. This trend of cost reduction will continue. With faster processing power, new generations of DVD players and STB will offer browsing functions. The earliest units are expected in the market around mid-2003.

It will also accelerate the integration of DVD and STB chipsets into one common back-end MPEG-2 decoder.

Of course, a powerful home server is necessary to link up all the home entertainment and appliances together for easy control. With the current rate of evolution for PDAs, future home servers are expected to come in wireless type with high processing power. This will happen when mobile phones evolve into home networking. When that happens, there will be more variables due to its mobility and connectivity.

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