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Bluetooth enters the digital living room space

Posted: 13 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bluetooth DTV? remote TV control? single-chip receiver TV?

Broadcom Corp. has teamed with Sharp Electronics Corp. to deliver Bluetooth for next-generation DTV products. Sharp is now shipping its AQUOS XS1 series of DTVs (available in 65-inch and 52-inch diagonal screens) with built-in Bluetooth from Broadcom featuring the BCM2046 single-chip Bluetooth receiver in both the TV and the remote control.

Along with many other CE devices, TV sets are evolving into sophisticated digital devices with increasingly advanced built-in functions that enable the TV to provide new applications (such as digital picture and media access to Internet-based Websites, home network-based photos, music and video), as well as new services. After establishing strong positions in cellular handsets, PCs and wireless headsets, Bluetooth (the world's leading wireless user interface technology) is now moving into other CE segments to help shape the experience of using these increasingly advanced devices. Broadcom projects that the combined worldwide market for key consumer electronics devices (such as STBs, DTVs and MP3 players) will result in approximately 454 million units shipped in 2009.

The XS1 includes an external TV tuner unit that comes with a digital/analog TV tuner, and all of the connections and slots to connect everything from a home theater to a digital camera. The DTV's Bluetooth remote control uses a touchscreen display.

"Bluetooth is moving beyond its cellular handset roots to transform the user experience of cutting-edge devices in the home consumer electronics market," said Craig Ochikubo, VP and general manager of Broadcom's wireless personal area networking line of business.

Two roles
Bluetooth fulfills two key roles in next-generation DTV designs, impacting the remote control and the user interface. The remote control takes advantage of Bluetooth to allow viewers control over all aspects of the TV while also receiving feedback from the set for display on the remote's display.

Since Bluetooth is a radio technology, the remote control does not require a line-of-sight connection with home electronics devices, which allows the remote to be used from any room in the house. Other remote control technologies, such as standard infrared or IrDa, require line-of-sight connections that limit the remote's use by distance.

Bluetooth's second key role in DTV design is as a media transfer interface. Since Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones can perform a "picture push" function (transferring images from the handset to another device), DTVs, PCs or other devices can receive and display images via Bluetooth. Additionally, consumers can listen to their TV programs over wireless stereo headsets with the latest Bluetooth technology, allowing multiple headset users to enjoy the same stereo audio stream simultaneously.

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