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Connecting Home Top Priority At the Digital Life Conference

6 Oct, 2007 By: Anne Sherber

NEW YORK — Content providers may still have unresolved concerns about digital rights management. But at the fourth annual Digital Life consumer technology exposition, hardware manufacturers and consumers were marching full-speed ahead toward connectivity and interoperability.

While announcing Gateway's new all-in-one computer, the Gateway One, Bob Davidson, the company's SVP of global retail sales, said, “It is designed to become the hub of the digital home.”

That same interoperability was at the center of one of the show's keynote addresses, delivered by Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, corporate VP, entertainment and devices, eHome division. Belfiore demonstrated the new extenders for the Windows Media Center, which enabled all the pictures, movies, music, live and recorded television and online entertainment stored on one computer to be seamlessly available to all of the playback devices in the home.

Consumers are averse to complexity, Belfiore noted. At the same time, he said, it is time for the computer to get to know the television.

“These are two things that people spend a lot of time with that are, for the most part, disconnected,” he said.

During a second keynote address, Hewlett-Packard's Phil McKinney, VP and chief technology officer, personal systems group, discussed the future of digital entertainment.

“Digital living room technology is still hard to use,” he said. HP's challenge is to “plug into the digital ecosystem” and let consumers enjoy their media in simple and fun ways.

Among the products that McKinney demonstrated was a home server, expandable to 4TB of memory, from which consumers will be able to manage their digital content. HP showcased its newly released Blackbird 002, a high-performance desktop and laptop PC created specifically for gaming.

Quartics and CinemaNow announced a pact to provide on-demand access to online programming using Quartics' PC2TV technology. The technology will let CinemaNow users access an online library of more than 10,000 movies, TV shows and music videos on their TV sets. Quartics' PC2TV technology enables wireless streaming of high-def 1080 x 720p content from a PC to a TV without buffering.

“CinemaNow users have come to expect instant access to their favorite programs on-demand,” said Safi Qureshey, CEO of Quartics. “With our PC2TV solution, it is virtually a click away for users to view personalized content on their big-screen TV.”

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