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SI Unveils LiquidHD Networking System

Silicon Image, a primary developer of the HDMI audio/video port technology, is using this week’s International CES to evangelize its new “seamless” home-networking solution for that platform, called LiquidHD.

LiquidHD is billed as “a foundational technology that extends the benefits of the HDMI technology … to offer high-definition video, audio, remote user interface and control over commodity IP networking gear.”

The system was designed to create a seamless consumer electronics network that enables access and transferring of content to and from any device in the home. Silicon Image said LiquidHD-enabled devices will be able to stream HD audio/video content through a secure and low-cost single connection.

Over a LiquidHD network, consumers will be able to enjoy digital content from any source device on any LiquidHD-enabled display in the home, the company said.

Such products as TVs, home-theater systems, PCs and portable consumer electronics devices can quickly interconnect over a variety of existing wired and wireless pathways. The platform is described as “a suite of protocols that runs over commodity IP networks such as Ethernet, coax like MoCA, powerline like HomePlug and wireless like Wi-Fi (802.11n).”

The technology is said to get around one of the problems of HDMI, which was the difficulty it presents for use in home networks.

The LiquidHD suite is comprised of the following five components:

  • LiquidDiscover: enables automatic discovery and authentication of all LiquidHD-enabled devices in the home;
  • LiquidMedia: enables high-definition, high-fidelity media streaming from live and stored sources;
  • LiquidPixels: enables pixel accurate, low latency and low bandwidth transmission of any source device’s user interface to any LiquidHD display device; includes a single remote control at each display for control of all source devices on the LiquidHD network;
  • LiquidControl: enables secure control and communication between all devices; and
  • LiquidPlay: provides a comprehensive security and content protection architecture built on a hardware solution, enables consumers to play and move their legally obtained content on any LiquidHD device they own, and protects CE devices from malevolent attacks by securing the control commands and LiquidPixels remote user interface.

LiquidHD will also allow all LiquidHD-enabled devices to revert to low-power standby modes.

Silicon Image said it will partner with service operators and consumer electronics manufacturers to form an industry consortium to support and promote the LiquidHD technology standard for market adoption.

As the backbone of the platform, Silicon Image unveiled here its SiI6100 HD display processor as the silicon implementation of the LiquidHD specification. The SiI6100 display processor is said to enable manufacturers and service operators to reduce the time-to-market on LiquidHD-ready equipment.

The SiI6100 is an integrated system-on-chip (SoC) solution with a multistandard high-definition and standard-definition video decoder for H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1 formats.

It also features a multiformat audio decoder for Dolby Digital, MPEG-1 Layer 2, MPEG-1 Layer 3 (MP3), MPEG-2 AAC stereo and DTS 5.1 formats.