LAS VEGAS Just about every form of home networking and interconnect showed advances in silicon, standards or systems at the Consumer Electronics Show. But 60 GHz wireless and Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) showed the most traction.
In wireless, SiBeam's 60 GHz chips snagged three major design wins with top TV makers. In wired networking, Broadcom Corp. jumped into MoCA with its first set-top box processor to integrate the technology, and MoCA pioneer Entropic Communications showed its first single-chip standalone controller.
Among other options, ultrawideband showed up in a handful of prototypes, but failed to find sockets in the products top consumer companies announced for 2009. Meanwhile, powerline advocates said their IEEE standard set December 18 is driving interest in a new generation of products expected to emerge late this year.
Separately, some vendors showed an ability to route video between set-tops, TVs, Blu-ray drives and cellphones thanks to the maturing software standards set by the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).
LG Electronics, Panasonic and Toshiba said they plan to ship wireless video products in 2009 using the SiBeam chips based on the specification of the WirelessHD consortium.
The companies all plan some form of external transmit and receive boxes or snap-on modules to link their flat-panel TVs to Blu-ray drives and set-tops. The boxes likely will cost upwards of $800 per pair and draw more than 9 W.
OEMs are looking for lower cost and power devices before they are ready to build the capability into systems. Silicon is expected in late 2009 that cuts the chip's 36 antennas to 18, cutting power consumption in half.
Taiwan module maker AboCom Group (Hsinchu) said it is sampling 60 GHz modules to OEMs based on SiBeam chips. They cost $240 per pair in volume and will be in production at the end of March.
The WirelessHD group released a test spec and a list of features for its next generation. Getting systems tested and certified as interoperable is one of the last major hurdles to rolling out the technology by this summer said Masafumi Matsumura, an interface specialist in Toshiba's R&D group.
Broadcom, a member of the WirelessHD group, is said to have 60 GHz products working in the lab, but has not sampled them yet. The company would not comment on any 60 GHz plans, but presumably will try to integrate the technology with future digital TV and set-top chip sets.