NEW YORK, N.Y. A diverse group of electronics companies and media companies have formed an alliance to create design guidelines for high-definition audio/video networks that will speed the creation of easier to use high-definition products.
Called the High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance, the group initially comprises Charter Communications, JVC, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc., NBC Universal, Samsung, and Sun Microsystems. Most of the founding companies were represented at a press conference here Wednesday (Dec. 14) announcing formation of the alliance.
In addition to the founding members, ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, and Pulse-Link have joined as contributing members.
HANA hopes to create design guidelines that would enable TVs, digital recorders, and storage devices to connect via a single IEEE 1394 cable, replacing the maze of wires and cables connecting current-generation electronics.
"HANA is about enabling the whole home to experience digital TV," said Darren Feher, executive vice president and chief technology officer of NBC.
Heemin Kwon, president of HANA and executive vice president and general manager of the Digital Solution Center for Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., said the single-wire 1394 connection would be capable of transmitting multiple high-definition data streams. He added the connection is hot pluggable, allowing devices can be connected and disconnected without having to power down.
Another key element of the HANA concept would be use of a single remote control for all devices, replacing the multiple controls often used currently. A browser like-menu would appear on the TV screen to show all functions, simplifying the user interface.
The HANA architecture incorporates Digital Rights Management to ensure that high-definition content flows seamlessly across a wide range of consumer devices and protect copyrighted content.
Implementation of HANA is still at least a year away. By Jan. 2007, enhanced HDTVs, network interface units, audiovisual hard drives, and personal video recorders supporting HANA are slated to emerge, said Kevin Morrow, director of business development for Samsung’s Digital Solution Center. Next-generation DVDs, game consoles, and other devices will follow later that year.
With the mandate for high-definition TV broadcasts drawing nearer, the alliance’s formation appears timely. But as with other industry alliances, HANA faces challenges gaining momentum in a market where a number of standards and industry groups are trying to shape the face of next-generation consumer electronics.
HANA’s proponents believe the cross-spectrum of companies represented—content providers, consumer electronics suppliers, and information technology companies—increase the likelihood of the alliance gaining members and developing standards likely to gain mass adoption.