Feeds

Hi-Fi meets Wi-Fi with Linksys

Wireless chatter

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

How many wireless networks do you have in your home?

The last time I counted - writes Rob Bamforth of Bloor Research - I had six: Wi-Fi/802.11b for the wireless LAN, DECT for the fixed line phone; Bluetooth for the 'little things'; GSM/GPRS for the cell phones; an active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for a tagging system, and an unknown proprietary system at 433MHz for the car alarm / immobiliser. There's also a microwave oven overlapping with some of the spectrum used by the digital networks - hopefully not radiating outside the box.

That's a lot of wireless chatter, but all for fairly small data rates. Even when using the wireless LAN it's rare to really make use of all the bandwidth. I did once use wireless LAN, broadband and a laptop to listen to internet radio broadcasts, until I realised how expensive that was compared to using a transistor radio.

Wireless fixes the problem of having to place one device within tethered range of another. Your PC and broadband Internet is in the study, but you want laptop access from your sofa. When you use the phone you don't want to be tied to a socket in one room, you want to roam.

But when you use your PC as a media store for your digital camera images and downloaded MP3 audio files, how do you reach your traditional analogue entertainment systems, the TV and the home hi-fi? The PC is in the study and the home entertainment is needed in every other room in the house except the study.

So what about making a wireless connection between TV, home hi-fi system and PC?

This what the Linksys division of Cisco Systems want you to be able to do with its new line of Wireless Home products. The first is a wireless multimedia device called the Wireless-B Media Adapter (WMA11B). Clearly the 'B' is there to either confuse the general public, or to appease the 'mobiliterii' and allow them to show their knowledge of variatious 802.11 wireless standards.

Either way, it's a box that allows your PC to send pictures and sound to your TV without wires.

Now we're talking lots of data and the WMA11B has some serious processing to do. The underlying power is provided by an Intel XScale PXA250 processor. This enables support for the main picture formats, gif, jpeg, tiff, png and windows bitmap, and the power to decode digital music files. The WMA11B connects on one side to standard red white and yellow audio and video jacks or s-video connector, and the other via a wireless connection or standard wired Ethernet cable. A remote control and simple menus displayed on the TV are all it takes to control it - after all this is a consumer device.

What it means is you can simply view your digital camera images on your TV. You can zoom and pan the images while viewing and set up a slideshow. With the audio in place you could also listen to digital music while you view. Easy.

Many have talked of the convergence of the PC with the TV. The truth is they're poles apart. Most often, they're also rooms apart. From a user experience viewpoint it's probably best to keep it that way. Let the PC become the hub or server for digitaly stored media in the home. Keep the home entertainment playback systems simple, and employ technology to allow them to communicate simply with the hub.

This device seems to fit the bill. Now excuse me, I'm just going to adjust the picture showing on my microwave oven.

© IT-Analysis.com

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.