DLNA’s new guidelines woo cable
The Digital Living Network Alliance has promised a certification program for software conforming to the DLNA home networking standard. At the same time, the organization made a pitch for universal adoption of its standard interface in home electronics by dint of the fact that it is getting members of all three service provider categories – cable, satellite and telco – to converge on DLNA.
Well, cable at least. Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable are among those loaning their names to the effort.
Maneuvering to qualify  as one of the slots in the back of consumer electronics and consumer premises equipment is intense. It costs too much to build in more than a small handful of interfaces, yet there are so many competing standards: Wi-Fi (b/g and the newer n), WiGig, Zigbee, Z-Wave, BlueTooth, HomePNA, MoCA, HomePlug, G.hn, Ethernet, HDMI, DLNA and more (some with various levels of overlap with certain others).
There’s even an organization, DECE , that has sprung up to try to make sense of them all.
The common tactic for advocates for each standard is to establish a beachhead among one of the constituencies – some segment of the consumer electronics industry, a portion of the PC industry, a group of service providers. At CES, the DLNA organization is targeting that last group.
Scott Smyers, president and chairman of the board of DLNA and a senior vice president at Sony Electronics, said consumers are getting used to moving digital content, including HD films, from device to device around their homes.
“Cable, telco and satellite companies, principals as they are in the delivery of that content via their expansive delivery systems, recognize that the home network as enabled by DLNA is a very suitable, convenient and available landing zone for the content and services they deliver, replete with servers to store the content and TVs on which to display it,” Smyers said.
“With DLNA's rich set of guidelines to store and play content, including DLNA's content link protection guidelines for securing the high-value content they deliver, service operators are anticipating the improved user experience they will be able to deliver through DLNA,” Smyers added.
There are more than 6,000 DLNA-certified devices available, the organization said. With the new guidelines, products certified by DLNA will work with set-top boxes from consumers’ service providers.
"With the new DLNA guidelines, Time Warner Cable will be able to offer premium cable content to a wide variety of retail consumer electronics devices in a secured manner and with a quality user experience," said Mike Lajoie, CTO of Time Warner Cable.
"We're working to continually innovate our products and services to offer consumers unparalleled choice and control for a differentiated entertainment experience," said Tony Werner, executive vice president and CTO for Comcast. "The new DLNA guidelines and certification will support that goal by giving our customers the ability to enjoy content when and how they want on a range of devices."
Scott Hatfield, executive vice president and CTO of Cox Communications, said: "The new DLNA guidelines have the potential to transform the delivery of premium content. Customers who prefer to access music and video on the go could augment their current set-top box with the ability to have services delivered to their media devices."
"CableLabs supports DLNA's commitment to better, easier sharing of digital content throughout the digital home," noted Paul Liao, president and CEO of CableLabs. "The new guidelines will help to further the reach of cable services, giving consumers the confidence that the DLNA-certified devices they purchase in retail outlets will work with their set-top boxes."
The first new guidelines, for playback of high-value, premium commercial content across home networks, will be published later this year.
"There has been strong industry demand for the certification of consumer software," Smyers said. "Over the last few years, many companies have been working to develop 'DLNA-compatible' software, but it couldn't be certified for interoperability on a DLNA network."
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