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'HANA' HD Networking Body Bows

12/19/2005 02:00:00 AM Eastern

A multi-industry coalition of CE and IT developers, content producers and service providers, called the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA) announced its intention to develop an easy to use and secure home networking system based on existing technologies, including IEEE-1394 connections.

HANA's members include Charter Communications, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, NBC Universal, Samsung and Sun Microsystems. JVC, which was not part of the group when HANA recruited companies at the CEA Industry Forum in Las Vegas last October (TWICE, Nov. 7, p. 6), is now a member but Warner Brothers, which was originally listed as a member, was not on the most recent list.

In addition, ARM, Freescale Semiconductor and Pulse~LINK have signed on as contributing members. Additional members will be announced by International CES, the coalition said.

Heemin Kwon, Samsung's Digital Solutions Development Center executive VP, serves as president of the organization. He said the group is now actively seeking new members.

“Since HANA is a cross-industry effort with members from each of the impacted HD industries, we can achieve the win-win necessary to commercialize HD networks,” Kwon said.

HANA's mission is to create industry design guidelines, utilizing existing technology and specifications to allow the following:

  • viewing, pausing and recording 5+ HD channels simultaneously without compromising quality of service;

  • viewing, pausing and recording HD anywhere in the home with just one set top box;

  • sharing personal content from PCs to AV devices while keeping protected content secure;

  • controlling all AV devices and access content with a single remote per room; and

  • adding any device to the home network with just one cable.

HANA-compliant products will include HDTVs, next-generation DVD players, personal video recorders, set-top cable boxes and other home theater components. Some of the first commercial products are expected to be introduced at International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 5-8.

The Alliance plans to offer developers conferences and compliance testing to facilitate compatibility among various manufacturers' products.

Kwon said HANA will add new levels of component interoperability on existing 1394 networking systems while delivering a user-friendly graphical user interface to help consumers easily find and control connected products.

The technology will also allow recording content and moving it around a home network while ensuring the integrity of digital rights management requirements, broadcast flag restrictions and other content protection instructions.

New interoperability standards will place the heaviest requirements on source components connected to a HANA-ready TV or central Network Interface Unit (NIU), which is a set-top box that serves as a base station for the network. The NIU can also bring HANA system operability to TVs that don't include 1394 interfaces.

HANA is in discussions with a number of other standards bodies to use their technologies to enable HD content sharing.

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