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Toshiba demos MPEG 4 movies over Bluetooth

Quality's not much to write home about, but it's definitely a step in the right direction

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Japan's Toshiba has demonstrated a prototype system that sends movies across Bluetooth wireless networks, according to the Nikkei newswire. Toshiba's set-up involves transferring images grabbed by a digital camcorder, compressing them using the MPEG 4 format, and beaming them to another machine via Bluetooth. PC-to-PC communications are handled by a TCP/IP layer built on top of Bluetooth's L2CAP protocol. TCP/IP then provides the basis for supporting the Real-time Transfer Protocol (RTP), which ensures the movie's packets are correctly synchronised. Right now, the system works, though not quite up to DVD playback standard, with a frame rate of just ten frames per second in a quarter common intermediate format (QCIF), so the image quality isn't too hot either. However, a Toshiba spokesman said the company is working on improving both picture quality and frame rate. Even now, though, the technology is probably good enough to allow, say, a mobile terminal to show the user in one room of a house to see what's currently being broadcast on TV so he or she can set their VCR remotely -- the kind of role to which Bluetooth is ideally suited in a home environment. Toshiba said it plans to submit it 'MPEG 4 over Bluetooth' system to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's Audio/Visual Working Group, which is defining methods by which multimedia data can be transported over the wireless network. Toshiba will also demo the system at next month's CeBIT show in Hanover. ®

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