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New Uses for Home Networks

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, January 15, 2003

New uses for home networks. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Until now, home networks have been used to connect multiple PCs together to share high speed Internet connections, files and printers. One of the big trends at this year's Consumer Electronics Show... .were new devices designed to connect good old fashioned TVs and stereo systems to those home networks. Sony, Hewlett Packard and SONICblue were among the companies announcing boxes that will allow the sharing of digital content with your TV. SONICblue will be selling a DVD player with a network connection. CEO Greg Ballard...

"It basically allows you to put this DVD player anywhere in your house but use it to access files that you have on your PC, whether they are audio files or video files, so it enables people... the classic example is they could be sitting in their bedroom, watching a DVD player, but suddenly decide that instead they want to listen to some music that they've got filed on their PC. It's really the first glimpse I think that people are going to have of what a networked home can really look like."

The technology will bump the price of the DVD player back up to where it was a year or so ago according to Ballard. And he admits it may be a while before there's a real mass market for this kind of thing...

"I think your instinct is probably correct ... it's going to be gadget happy people. But the gadget happy among us are now legion."

SONICblue... a company that has been losing money... is best known for its line of digital music players and ReplayTV personal video recorder.