November 12, 1996 1:30 PM PST

FireWire to get big push at Comdex

PC-consumer electronics convergence products based on the FireWire specification, including cameras, VCRs, and audio products, will blossom at Comdex.

FireWire technology--also known as "1394"--is significant because it bridges the gap between consumer electronics devices and PCs. FireWire offers a high-speed port on a PC which connects to FireWire or 1394-compatible consumer electronics products such as video cameras and VCRs.

FireWire technology is expected to be used in Simply Interactive PCs (SIPC), computers due out in 1997 as well as other cutting-edge products. "This is the optimal interface for the creation of new technologies, such as interactive television and NetPCs," said Gary Hoffman, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association in a written statement.

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection found increasingly on new PCs, by comparison, is targeted at lower-data-bandwidth peripheral such as mice, keyboards, and scanners.

Major companies including Sony, Texas Instruments, Apple Computer, and Toshiba will have consumer electronics-PC convergence products to showcase at Comdex.

--Sony will demonstrate its passport-sized Digital Video HandyCam as well as a digital cassette recorder and a desktop conferencing camera. A FireWire-compatible Digital Video Capture Board will be shown as well.

--Texas Instruments will be showcasing its new Extensa 900 series of notebooks which support connection to FireWire 1394 devices.

--Apple Computer, the originator of the 1394 specification, will demonstrate prototype printers, digital cameras and camcorders, and a high-speed file transfer between Macs, using FireWire 1394 technology.

--Toshiba will demonstrate a new 1394-based CD-ROM, which it developed with Texas Instruments' Japan-based subsidiary.

--Yamaha will have a FireWire demonstration of an audio product which can handle multiple audio and MIDI streams.


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