Seventeen leading consumer electronics, computer, and mobile companies today announced the formation of the Digital Home Working Group (DHWG), a non-profit organization dedicated to the simplified sharing of digital content, such as digital music, photos and video, among networked consumer electronics (CE), mobile devices and PCs. The group consists of industry leaders including Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Intel, IBM, Kenwood, Lenovo, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Microsoft, NEC CustomTechnica, Nokia, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, STMicroelectronics and Thomson.
The group shares a common goal of establishing a platform of interoperability based on open industry standards and will deliver technical design guidelines that companies can use to develop digital home products that share content through wired or wireless networks in the home. Examples of these products include PCs, TVs, set-top boxes, printers, stereos, mobile phones, PDAs, DVD players, digital projectors and other devices.
Due in large to an increase in broadband adoption and device sales, consumers today are acquiring, viewing, managing and sharing an increasing amount of digital media on devices in the CE, mobile and PC domains.i As such, consumers want to easily enjoy this content, regardless of the source, across different devices and locations in the home. A number of conflicting standards and media formats exist today making the digital home complex to set-up and manage.
Industry standards alone do not always ensure interoperability. The interoperability framework and technical design guidelines established by the DHWG will provide the baseline for development of multi-branded products and solutions that will work better together. The goal of the group is to deliver guidelines resulting in the first compliant products within the next 12 months.
The DHWG design guidelines will utilize well-known and established standards such as Internet Protocol (IP), UPnPTM, Wi-FiTM, and other common formats. Over time, the guidelines will evolve to incorporate emerging or subsequent versions of existing standards. Format interoperability will be achieved by requiring certain formats that meet specific criteria. The format must be an open standard that has been formally ratified by an internationally recognized standards organization, and IP must be licensed under reasonable, non-discriminatory terms.
Based on these guidelines, a set of programs including certification, compliance logos, marketing and promotion, will be considered by the group and made available to DHWG members. Products made under DHWG guidelines will provide consumers with increased assurance of connectivity between devices, enabling customers to enjoy contents and services easily.
The group will develop marketing and promotional programs to communicate the benefits of the digital home to consumers and the industry alike. Products based on guidelines will create new business opportunities for the consumer electronics, mobile device and computer industries, accelerating the member companies' development and delivery of networked audio-visual products including hardware, software, applications and components devices.
Additional information about the group, its participating companies and membership information is available at www.DHWG.org