Powerline-Network Spec In Works For 3D

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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.


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