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1394 Trade Association replies to Intel Firewire snub

USB 2.0 only good for PC-centric peripherals, chairman claims

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Reader's Comment I have just read Intel Snubs IEEE 1394 for USB 2.0 by Tony Smith. On balance, I found it to be an accurate portrayal. I would like to add some more facts for your consideration. 1394 is the undisputed winner in the Consumer A/V realm. It is being promoted by the Federal Communications Commission for inclusion in DTVs. It has been shipping in digital camcorders since the summer of 1995 and is currently in camcorders from Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and JVC. Approximately seven million have been sold to date, with a run rate of one million units per quarter. 1394 DTVs are scheduled to hit the market in time for Christmas 99. But new A/V products will not be the only new 1394 products attracting attention on store shelves around Christmas this year. Printers and scanners are also scheduled to hit the market in time for the rush. 1394 mass storage devices for PCs are scheduled to appear in mid-99 (even sooner for iMacs), with first year sales estimated at just under a million and 2000 sales estimated at a minimum of three million. This does not include the numbers for the AV HDD which was announced by Quantum and Sony late last year. With PCs already shipping from NEC, Compaq, Sony, and Apple, and four more coming from the top 10 PC makers this year, 1394 is picking up significant support in the PC world. Sales in 1999 for 1394 PCs is estimated at 8 million units. In the USA, we sometimes lose sight of what is happening in the rest of the world. 1394 is very popular in Japan where they love their 1394 DV camcorders and are looking for something to connect to it. There are 10-14 times the 1394 products on store shelves in Japan as in America... and they are all moving this way. In only nine months, Sony 1394 notebook computers have captured the number 10 spot worldwide for notebooks and the number seven spot in Japan. With Apple finding enormous success in the Japanese market (with market share as high as 28.8 per cent, depending on when you take the snapshot), 1394 (FireWire) peripheral sales could easily double current estimates -- see here for peripherals announced at MacWorld Expo. Texas Instruments is the only 1394 silicon vendor making their sales and estimates public. TI enabled over 2 million 1394 products with silicon in 1998 and easily expects to top 10 million in 1999 (and it is only one 1394 silicon vendor). The 1394 Trade Association expects 30 million 1394 products to ship in 1999, with growth expected to rise exponentially starting in 2000. And finally a word about USB 2.0. USB 2.0 is only good for traditional peripheral devices in a PC-centric environment. For any peripheral maker who wants to take advantage of the convergence revolution, 1394 is the only good choice. Printers can be connected directly to digital cameras through the DPP standard using 1394 and hard drives can be customized for digital video as Quantum, Sony, and Western Digital have done. If the peripheral maker wants to increase his target market to individuals who may or may not own a PC, then the peer-to-peer capabilities of 1394 make it the only peripheral interface which makes sense. 1394 has created the convergence of the PC, PC peripherals, consumer electronics, silicon graphics workstations, and the Apple Macintosh G3 and iMac. All of these systems now share 1394 as their, high-speed interface. There is no other way to connect to the gigabytes of data coming into the homes over cable, satellite and DVD. There are too many advantages of 1394 for anyone to automatically choose USB 2.0 unless their only goal is to develop a traditional, commodity peripheral that will be forever tethered to the PC. ® The Register welcomes letters for publication. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and conciseness.

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