FireWire Group Developing Spec To Spur HDTV - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

FireWire Group Developing Spec To Spur HDTV

The 1394 Trade Association is developing a specification to enable the IEEE 1394 standard, also known as Firewire, to deliver audio and video over coaxial cable.

The 1394 Trade Association has announced that it is developing a specification that will enable the IEEE 1394 standard, also known as Firewire, to deliver audio and video over coaxial cable. The trade association expects the use of “1394 over coax” to help spur the spread of HDTV.

The task group expects to complete a single “native 1394 over coax specification” built on the 1394 S400 physical layer device (PHY) coupled with an integrated interface to provide a single link for coax.

“Cable MSOs (operators) are looking for the optimal long-term solution and we believe that native 1394 over coax is the most cost effective way to deliver multiple streams of HD video with trick play over a single coax cable,” said James Snider, the TA’s executive director, in a statement.

Dick Davies, 1394 Trade Association spokesman, said the specification will enable video to be transmitted from set top boxes over coax to PCs and MPEG2 decoders in HDTV format.

“You have an FCC mandate to create all these new HDTVs and living room equipment that must have digital tuners,” Davies said in an interview Monday. “The 1394 Trade Association is trying to get 1394 ports on set top boxes so consumers can use the technology. At 400 Mbps, coax makes it possible for cable operators to implement the highest quality hookup.” Davies said the TA expects the new technology can begin to be implemented in 2006.

Davies said when the 1394 Trade Association realized cable operators preferred to use coax for HDTV, the TA focused on developing the specification. The 1394 Trade Association had been developing specs for both coax and CAT-5, but cable operators prefer to use coax because most of their customers are already fitted for coax. The coax spec will be upgradeable to 800 Mbps and is expected to represent the least costly and highest speed solution for audio-video delivery.

The 1394 coax task group is chaired by Hans van der Ven, a former executive at Royal Philips and Panasonic. Another task group now working on 1394 IP over isochronous channels is chaired by Oxford Semiconductor. It expects to unveil a tecnical bulletin on that specification by the end of this year.

The real-time spec is planned to enable the transport of IP packets with guaranteed Quality of Service in which data will be delivered within a guaranteed time period.

The 1394 Trade Association said it is working to ensure that its mechanisms will be compatible with other IP systems like the Digital Living Network and Residential Ethernet.

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