Friday, January 11, 2008

New life for 1394?

Based on everything I heard before CES, I don’t hold out much hope for the future of 1394 as a mainstream conduit in the digital home. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the news from the show that the 1394 Trade Association has approved a spec for 1394 over coax using the ultrawideband technology of Pulse~Link as a physical layer transport.

The word is the group farted around waaaay too long getting the spec out. An expected election for new leadership later this month could shake things up and give the group some new leadership blood. I am told Cablevision is doing field tests of 1394 over coax as a home net technology.

There’s a little glint of sunlight there, but it might be just the on-coming train. Most cable and IPTV companies seem to be inclining toward the more mature MoCA, powerline and phoneline options and even there a lot of the work is only tests and trials for many companies. As far as I can tell 1394 is at the back of the line.

What's more, before the 1394 group could even get word out about approving its 3.2 Gbit/spec, the USB crowd had already pre-announced plans for USB 3.0 at 5 Gbits/s. An Intel booth minder at CES said more than 100 companies have signed up to help finish a USB 3.0 spec by midyear with a big meeting in San Jose on the topic next week. He expressed confidence the group can hit its 5 Gbit/s target.

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