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Pioneer To Demo ‘Entertainment Tap’ At CEDIA

Pioneer plans a CEDIA Expo demonstration of its Project Entertainment Tap concept technology, which transfers, downloads and streams content for playback in a home-theater system.

The technology copies CDs for storage on a hard drive, streams and downloads audio and video from authorized Web sites, streams audio and video from a networked PC, place-shifts audio and video content to Wi-Fi-connected iPhones and iPod Touches anywhere in the world, and centralizes control of home-theater components and home systems within the home-theater room.

Project E Tap will be demonstrated as a stand-alone component that incorporates a 1TB hard drive and Blu-ray/DVD/CD player. The technology, however, could be integrated into other types of home-theater products as well, including home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems and A/V receivers.

The company plans to take feedback from the Expo to further develop the product and expects to launch a Tap-based product in the summer of 2010.”

Here’s what on Tap:

Downloading of music and movies from authorized Internet-download sites via an Ethernet-connected broadband modem;

Streaming of movies, music and photos from the Internet and from networked PCs;

CD ripping for storing music in PCM format on the device’s 1TB hard drive;

Built-in ZigBee wireless-RF home-system control technology developed in partnership with Control4; the technology will enable a ZigBee-based remote to control the Tap, home theater components connected to the Tap via IR inputs, and control ZigBee-based home systems within the home-theater room, including the room’s lights, thermostat and motorized shades; and

Place-shifting of Tap-stored A/V content to iPhones and iPod Touches via the portable devices’ Wi-Fi technology. A/V content stored on connected devices, including DVRs, can also be place-shifted.

Tap technology also offers social-networking applications, including the sharing of a consumer’s viewing choices with other people connected to a social-network account. Other features include automatic metadata lookup to view CD and video metadata; a buy-it button to purchase products and services related to movies and music being played; and widget support for viewing news, weather and sports information. The technology also offers RSS feeds and a high-definition GUI.

For particular retailers, Pioneer will customize the Tap to offer out-of-the-box access to Internet service providers or online stores with which the retailers are aligned, the company said. Via a Web portal, consumers will also be able to choose service providers and set up social-network connections.

For the CEDIA Expo demo, Pioneer will configure Tap to work with multiple music services, video-download and streaming services, and photo services, the company said before the show. The company will disclose names this week at the show.

The demonstrated device includes many of the capabilities of the Pioneer Digital Library, whose introduction was canceled in 2003 because of technical difficulties. The library featured CD ripping, 80GB hard drive, and music- and video-streaming and downloading from the Internet. Unlike the Tap, however, it distributed content to other rooms via Ethernet-connected clients, or Branches. The library didn’t place shift or offer home-system control capabilities.