SAN FRANCISCO (02/18/2000) - Two industry giants are betting that the Internet will enhance rather than diminish the role of the personal computer, as some industry observers have prophesied.
Intel Corp. and Sony Corp. today announced they will team up to develop connectivity and interoperability between PCs and Internet appliances such as digital cameras, music players and video camcorders.
"The role of the PC is actually going to expand in the home as more and more people get on the Internet and download music and video," Kurt Sehnert, strategic marketing manager for Intel's desktop products group, said today in a telephone interview. "The PC is a flexible device that will let people do a lot of different things, including storing and cataloguing content and making it accessible to other devices in the home."
The companies plan to start releasing products in the second half this year to support the connectivity and interoperability initiative, which they call eHome.
Intel and Sony will work together to help PC manufacturers to implement Sony's Memory Stick flash memory technology, the companies said in a statement issued today. The Memory Stick can enable the sharing of content across different consumer electronic devices such as portable music players and digital camcorders.
To facilitate interoperability in the sharing of digital content, the companies will try to bridge the existing standards -- uPnP (universal plug and play) from Microsoft Corp. and HAVi (home audio video interoperability) backed by the likes of Hitachi Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), Royal Philips Electronics, Sharp Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Sony.
UPnP is Microsoft's answer to Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Jini, a technology allowing devices to be found on a network without any additional hardware or software. HAVi is a networking standard designed to allow seamless connection and communication between consumer electronics equipment.
Intel and Sony will also push for industry-wide adoption of DVI (digital video interface) to promote compatibility among the next generation of flat-panel PC displays. DVI provides high bandwidth, plug-and-play digital connections for high quality displays.
To resolve some of the issues surrounding owner rights to digital content, the pair are working on 5C DTCP (digital transmission content protection) bus encryption between Sony's OpenMG copyright protection technology and Intel's Software Integrity System.
Intel, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-987-8080 or via the Internet at http://www.intel.com/. Sony, based in Tokyo, is at +81-3-5448-2200 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.sony.co.jp/.