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Panasonic Chipset To Enable Powerline-Networked HD Video

Panasonic has developed a new chipset that can bring high-definition (HD) video into every room in a home network via existing power lines.

Panasonic has developed a new chipset that can bring high-definition (HD) video into every room in a home network via existing power lines.

In a press conference Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, executives of the Seacaucus, N.J.-based electronics giant--the North American unit of Matsushita Electric Industrical Co--said the chip, MN1A92080L, will begin production this spring. They said the chip will allow HD-ready, high-speed Power Line Communication technology to be put into practical use in digital converged solutions.

The new HD-PLC chip will be compatible with standard Ethernet technology and bypass the need to connect HD video playback devices via IP or wireless technology, according to Panasonic. The company said the chip integrates all of the necessary digital processing components on a single chip which, when used in the home, can provide networking for all rooms simply by connecting devices to an AC power outlet.

The chipset was one of several key CES announcements by Panasonic executives, including the following:

• Panasonic has reached a working agreement with Hewlett-Packard to integrate their DVD technology into each other's products. Panasonic will add DVD+R* read-write capability into its DVD recorders, while HP will add DVD-RAM** functionality to recordable DVD drives in its consumer desktop PCs.

• Beginning in March, Panasonic will begin rolling out a series of new plasma displays, including the 42-inch TH-42PD50U EDTV display in March and the 50-inch TH-50PX500U HDTV display in June.

• Also coming out in 2005 are new high-definition LCD, LCD rear-projection and DLP-technology displays plus a new home-theater-in-a-box with wireless-ready, surround-sound speakers.

From a strategic perspective, Panasonic also said that its parent company, Matsushita, is adding 50,000 units to 150,000 units per month to its plasma-display manufacturing capacity, which would boost overall capacity to 2 million units per year by 2006.

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