17 leading consumer electronics cos join hands to form DHWG

SAN FRANCISCO: Seventeen leading consumer electronics, computer and mobile companies have announced the formation of Digital Home Working Group (DHWG), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the simplified sharing of digital content - such as digital music, photos and video - among networked consumer electronics (CE), mobile devices and PCs.



The group consists of industry leaders including Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Intel, IBM, Kenwood, Lenovo, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Microsoft, NEC CustomTechnica, Nokia, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, STMicroelectronics and Thomson.

A medianet release says that the group shares a common goal of establishing a platform of interoperability based on open industry standards. It will also deliver technical design guidelines that companies can use to develop digital home products that share content through wired or wireless networks in the home. Examples of such products include PCs, TVs, set-top boxes, printers, stereos, mobile phones, PDAs, DVD players, digital projectors and other devices.

The interoperability framework and technical design guidelines established by the DHWG will provide the baseline for development of multi-branded products and solutions that will work better together. The goal of the group is to deliver guidelines resulting in the first compliant products within the next 12 months.

"This collection of cross-industry leaders share a common vision and are collaborating to make the connected home a reality. One of the critical requirements for mass-market success of networked devices is true and reliable interoperability. The Digital Home Working Group has proposed a sound and fair baseline of interoperability standards, which is an important milestone towards realizing this vision," Danielle Levitas, director of IDC's Consumer Devices and Services Programs, was quoted as saying.

The DHWG design guidelines will utilise well-known and established standards such as Internet Protocol (IP), UPnP (TM), Wi-Fi (TM), and other common formats. Over time, the guidelines will evolve to incorporate emerging or subsequent versions of existing standards, say DHWG spokespeople.

Format interoperability will be achieved by requiring certain formats that meet specific criteria. The format must be an open standard that has been formally ratified by an internationally recognized standards organisation, and IP must be licensed under reasonable, non-discriminatory terms.

Based on these guidelines, a set of programmes including certification, compliance logos, marketing and promotion, will be considered by the group and made available to DHWG members. Products made under DHWG guidelines will provide consumers with increased assurance of connectivity between devices, enabling customers to enjoy contents and services easily.

The group will develop marketing and promotional programmes to communicate the benefits of the digital home to consumers and the industry alike. Products based on guidelines will create new business opportunities for the consumer electronics, mobile device and computer industries, accelerating the member companies' development and delivery of networked audio-visual products including hardware, software, applications and components devices.

Additional information about the group, its participating companies and membership information is available at http://www.DHWG.org.

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