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HomePlug-Based Multizone Audio Due

Music Choice, the cable-music provider, teamed with chip-maker Intellon at the NCTA show to demonstrate HomePlug-based power-line distribution of music channels delivered by Music Choice’s new 52-channel broadband music service.

The service was demonstrated with clients, or audio “receivers,” that would be the first networked-audio receivers equipped with HomePlug power-line network technology, said Intellon president Ron Glibbery, whose chips are used in the products.

The clients stream Music Choice and other Internet music services through a broadband-connected PC equipped with bundled application software. The receivers, in turn, plug into home audio systems or powered speakers for playback.

Clients made by Gigafast, Creative Labs and others were demonstrated at the show, and the first ones will likely hit store shelves in the third quarter, said Glibbery, whose power-line network chips are used in the clients. The receivers could potentially be marketed by cable operators, he noted.

With the clients, four different music channels could be streamed simultaneously via a home’s power wires to four clients, which will be available from at least one company in the third quarter at less than $100, Glibbery said. The clients will also stream MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files stored on a networked PC’s hard disk drive (HDD), he added. The clients incorporate MP3 and WMA decoders. Music Choice uses the WMA format.