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Powerline-Network Spec In Works For 3D

7/30/2010 06:52:25 AM Eastern

Portland, Ore. - The HomePlug Powerline Alliance took
another step toward finalizing a standard for sending multiple compressed
streams of 1080p video and 3D video over a home's powerlines.

The
alliance's technical working group has begun drafting the final standard,
called HomePlug AV2 and targeted for completion in the first quarter of 2010,
said alliance president Rob Ranck. The latest step follows efforts by the
technical group to identify the technologies needed to meet the alliance's 1080p
and 3D goals, improve coverage throughout the house, and enhance minimum
performance levels in all outlets in a house. Group members also tested powerline
characteristics in homes around the world to ensure the AV2 performance could
be achieved in multiple countries.

Products
incorporating the technology could potentially be available a year after the
spec is finished, Ranck said.

The
technology could be used in aftermarket adapters, which would plug into a
home's power outlets, to stream 3D and 1080p video from set-top boxes, Blu-ray
players and game consoles tucked away in less obtrusive locations. The adapters
could also be used to connect Internet-capable TVs to a broadband router to
stream high-definition content from movie-streaming services. For PCs, the
powerline technology would be a reliable replacement for wired Ethernet
networks, Ranck added.

The new
spec will support physical-layer data rates of about 1Gbps compared with the
200Mbps data rate of the alliance's current standard, called HomePlug AV. The
current spec delivers multiple 1080i or 720p HD streams in a house and doesn't
support 3D streams.

To enhance
coverage and throughput, HomePlug AV2 incorporates multiple-input
multiple-output (MIMO) technology, adds repeating and routing capabilities to
adapters, and enhances efficiency, Ranck said. HomePlug AV's actual throughout
ranges from 70Mbps to 100Mbps, making it 40 percent to 50 percent efficient,
Ranck explained. AV2 will be more efficient, he said.

The
alliance had initially
targeted
a finalized standard sometime
in 2008 with sample chips available in 2009. The standard's interim name was
HomePlug Next Generation AV. Development was delayed in large part because
field testing of powerlines in homes around the world took longer than
initially expected, Ranck said.