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AMX to plug your hi-fi into the Net

First step for Net as universal connectivity solution

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Dallas-based AMX is set to launch an device that connects TVs and hi-fis to the Internet, used as a source of digital video and audio. The Panja Gateway 1000 -- if only AMX had called it the Gateway 2000 -- looks like a VCR and hooks up to the Net via a built-in DSL box or a cable modem, AMX said. The device hooks up to its own portal site which will display a list of avilable online content, formatted for the Panja remote control unit's touchscreen. Unlike other such devices, most notably WebTV, AMX's machine isn't primarily about surfing the Web without the need for a PC. Instead, it's more about providing an alternative content delivery medium. "Our goal is to get users to the point where it doesn't matter where content is coming from -- the Internet or a home jukebox of CDs and movies," said AMX's VP for consumer business, Tom Hite. It's a canny idea that gets AMX, which will ship the Panja in the autumn for around $2000, in ahead of the consumer electronics giants, all of whom are beginning to develop standard products like amps and CD players that connect to the Net directly, or via home networking technologies such as HomePNA and Sun's Jini. ®

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