The CES will also usher in a new company – 4HomeMedia – that doesn’t really care whether it gets its signal from IPTV or RF or wireless.
"You need broadband access to connect back to our portal," said Brad Kayton, the company’s marketing vice president.
From there, 4HomeMedia takes over automating the home, connecting entertainment center devices via a new High Definition Audio/Video Alliance (HANA) 1394 interface or Ethernet, then using other space-age technologies such as LonWorks for powerlines and Z-Wave for wireless mesh protocol for home automation to present a unified user interface (UI) on the PC, the TV or the mobile phone so consumers can remotely control devices.
The product, which is a reference design right now, will be sold to consumer electronics vendors and also pitched to "telcos, cable companies and energy providers," Kayton said.
"The telcos are interested, at least early on, in the home monitoring service that we offer; the energy companies are gravitating towards the energy management application; and we’re looking at a unified digital media management application, which is interesting telcos and MSOs," he said.
It is, he said, a step above other home networks because "we’re allowing you to converge everything into an integrated home system; we’re not doing it at very high price points – we’re doing it at mass market price point, taking a $10,000 to $20,000 product and bringing it into a sub-$200 price point." A mystery to the user 4HomeMedia, Kayton pointed out, would brand the product/service for the service provider, then do all the heavy lifting at a hosted facility.
"The embedded software in the home is talking to the 4HomeMedia portal in the back-end," he said. "It’s a real-time dynamic distributed architecture that’s going back and forth. The end user, sold through a cable or telco or power company, wouldn’t know they were going back to our portal." – Jim Barthold