First DLNA-certified products expected by year end

The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), a 165-member consortium of consumer electronic, IT and mobile equipment manufacturers, expects the first products based on its design guidelines to be available by the end of the year, according to a member of the industry working group.

"The manufacturers have shown immense interest in collaboration and in delivering products as quickly as possible," said Ralf Schaefer, project manager of IP (Internet Protocol) video solution in the research and development division of Thomson, in an interview Wednesday at the e/Home digital home conference and exhibition. Thomson is a DLNA member.

In June, DLNA members announced a set of design guidelines, called Version 1.0, to move content among consumer electronics, PCs and mobile devices over wired or wireless networks in the home. The specifications are viewed by the manufacturers as a key step toward creating a common foundation for them to build products that are fully interoperable and can thus share and play back digital content regardless of vendor and type of gadget.

DLNA supports the media formats JPEG, LPCM and MPEG2, the device discovery, control and management standard UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and the Internet protocols IPv4 and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). In addition to Thomson, alliance members include Intel and Microsoft, Philips, Nokia, NEC and Sony.

The alliance expects to announce a Version 2.0 specification next year, which will address, among other issues, sharing paid content across different DRM (digital rights management) systems, according to Schaefer. How to ensure interoperability across different DRM approaches is a big challenge, he said.

Additional information about DLNA, which was initially called DHWG (Digital Home Working Group), can be found at the group's Web site: http://www.dlna.org .

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