With a multitude of wireless technologies for the living room on the horizon, it's tough not to be mesmerized by the competing standards and their jumble of numbers and letters that pass for names. The Consumer Electronics Show and Macworld brought a whole new set of media technologies meant to connect the TV to the PC without wires, so here's a look at the leaders of the pack.
HomePlug AV: Networks multiple media devices in the home through power outlets. Any outlet becomes an access point to a home network and supports speeds of up to 200 megabits per second, and companies are working to increase that speed.
Technically, HomePlug isn't wireless, but it might as well be. There are no additional wires beyond the electrical cord, and because "wireless" TVs from Samsung need electrical cords, too, HomePlug can be said to be functionally equivalent to wireless technologies. It's big in Europe and enjoys backing from companies like Spain's . Dell is also hot for HomePlug, and showed off a PC connected to a monitor through HomePlug at CES. Intellon provides much of the silicon to enable this.
Pros: No additional wires other than what's already built into the walls, though a HomePlug adapter is necessary for each outlet.
Cons: Not quite as convenient for portable devices and laptops because there aren't Homeplug PC adapter cards yet on the market. Pricing and availability "are the real thing holding it back," according to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for the NPD Group.
from Sharp uses this type of powerline networking, but it's just a prototype right now. It will be a way to deliver multiple high-definition streams to its line of HDTVs.
January 24, 2007 12:15 PM PST
Photo by: Sharp
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