New Standards for Home Networking?

Late last week, Intel and Sony announced that they intend to collaborate in an effort to give consumers the ability to share electronic content between PCs and various consumer electronic devices, including home entertainment systems (digital televisions, set-top boxes), digital cameras, digital camcorders, and portable music players. Intel says that the effort is part of the companies' vision of the "e-Home" of the future, in which the Internet will be available throughout a range of devices.

With the PC as the primary Internet access device for the e-Home, Sony and Intel claim that they wish to make it easier for consumers to quickly transfer digital content—such as photos, music, and video—over the Internet to other devices in the home. The companies say they will continue to work together to announce products throughout the year that support the e-Home vision.

As part of the collaboration, Intel and Sony say they are developing technologies together for the networked sharing of digital content and the control of various devices, as well as developing wired and wireless home networking technologies. As part of their efforts, the companies say they will work on the possibility of bridging uPnP (Universal Plug & Play) and HAVi (Home Audio Video interoperability), which is used to control consumer electronic devices.

According to Sony and Intel, they are also working together on 5C Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) bus encryption technology, aimed at protecting content-owners' rights to digital content in the networked environment, and will work on establishing interoperability between the Intel Software Integrity System and Sony's OpenMG copyright-protection technology.

Motoharu Sone, an analyst at Universal Securities, says of the alliance: "You cannot develop anything in this digital network era without forming alliances. The one between Sony and Intel should be open, and the point is who else will join in the camp. That's the key to winning a de facto standard in this digital network business."