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Over at http://www.twice.com and at numerous other places for info -


iLink / FireWire is now the true ground zero in the HDTV connections battle. Sony has appartently convinced other companies to fight for this connection. The questions then remain


Will it win ?


What happens to the older connections and those of us with STBs and HDTVs ? I think once iLink / FireWire is adopted by all the major manufacturers, all older connections will be dead. My guess, in a year and a half. I reach this conclusion based on the PC industries embrace of digital camera and video technology. Many Digital Video cameras have wide screen recording capability now. XP is set to explode this on the public by October.


With no requirements for Cable (that is connected in 2/3 of all US households) to carry HDTV signals, does it really matter? Until the majority of people can actually get HDTV, all bets are off.


Does the MPAA have the wherewithall to beat down everyone and only allow degraded HDTV to be shown in the first place ? My personal opinion is that their stance only works because Broadcast Tv has such limited HDTV programming. If it was everyewhere, they would be forced to provide all movies in HDTV. The end around is manufacturers trying to sell new HDTV VCRs. Look for JVC to have their new one out by mid-summer.


[This message has been edited by Dmon4u (edited 03-17-2001).]
 

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I have always believed that Firewire (actually IEEE-1394, since both iLink and Firewire are trademarked names by Sony and Apple, respectively) could be the potential end all and be all for "convergance" connections.


It already has a roadmap with full backwards compatability taking the bit rates from the current standard 400mbs to well over 4Gbps. And frankly, what makes it a "killer app" in my opinion is the network topology. All you need is one cable between all the pieces in a system and full bi-directional data transfers can be made from any component to any other and generally multiple simultaneous transfers can be made as well.


It is like Ethernet without the need for a hub, RJ11 connectors or bulky cable. Imagine seeing that big nest of wires behind your AV system replaced with a network of simple cables, one connection per component. Any possible hook-up connection can be logically made (See HAVI http://www.havi.org for how companies plan to manage this ability).


Unfortunately, I believe the delayed introduction into the CE world with Firewire other than DV Camcorders (Firewire, in some form, has been around for almost 10 years now) is a direct result of pressure from content providers (RIAA, MPAA). They fear more than anything the free and clear perfect copy-able world of digital content.


The RIAA was strong enough to kill DAT (Digital Audio Tape, a 15 year old technology that never happened, at least for CE) and looks like they might be strong enough to kill free and clear sharing of audio content on the Internet (the ultimate digital network). Will they sucessfully kill IEEE-1394? Not in a direct way.


If they do, it will be because they are successful in scaring CE mfrs. from using it. This, just because of the potential copy-ability of any non-encrypted data flowing around it. And any competing encryption technologies will only delay the introduction and adoption of any standards, making market acceptance more remote.


It seems HDTV is right in the middle of it all, because what other digital connection technology other than DVI can handle the bandwidth? Since DVI is targeted specifically at uni-directional data, it hardly qualifies as a competitor overall to Firewire, but in HDTV land it is.

Quote:
...I think once iLink / FireWire is adopted by all the major manufacturers, all older connections will be dead. My guess, in a year and a half...
Older connections dead in a year and a half? Are you dreaming? DVD didn't get accepted in that amount of time even after it had been _introduced_ into the market and DVD is one of the most successful CE technology introductions EVER! Firewire has been around for a long time now. Nothing is happening _today_ that will cause this sweeping change. Maybe five years at the earliest, but not 1 1/2 years!


Overall, I believe Firewire is in serious jeopardy of dying a silent death. If it happens, it is to be replaced with a more limiting technology in which tighter controls can be placed on how the data gets passed around. It will be the flexibiliy and ease of use that would kill Firewire in the CE arena and relegate it to an obscure technology that will be used by professionals and the few remaining camcorders around that use it (like DAT).


Rick




[This message has been edited by wirehead_rick (edited 03-17-2001).]
 

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wirehead_rick,


I have to disagree with Firewire dying a slow death. Sony and Mits have already announced sets with Firewire to ship this fall and I would bet that Toshiba will follow very soon. Also, check out the link I posted below. It looks like the MPAA coalition is beginning to fall apart.


http://www.variety.com/body.asp?HbkI...eId=1117795431


 

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I don't believe Firewire will die slowly either. It's just been embraced by Sony and Mit's and it's part of the HAVi standard. HAVi will replace audio and video cabling and provide automation. I believe it's the standard by which all mfg’s will implement their digital connections. Eventually HAVi will replace the myriad of cables behind our racks and it may lead to lower prices on some CE gear. As I understand it it's supposed to eliminate redundant circuits (at some point in time). An example - DVD Players and STB's both have mpeg decoders. Someday the Mpeg part will be implemented in the display so DVD players and STB won't need those chips resulting in lower cost (theoretically at least).


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Geof
 

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Quote:
Dmon4u wrote:

Many Digital Video cameras have wide screen recording capability now. XP is set to explode this on the public by October.
This is actually old news. Apple's iMovie made it simple to utilize digital video cameras two years ago. For that matter, Windows ME has some limited software that ships with it...

Quote:
wirehead_rick wrote:

And frankly, what makes it a "killer app" in my opinion is the network topology. All you need is one cable between all the pieces in a system and full bi-directional data transfers can be made from any component to any other and generally multiple simultaneous transfers can be made as well.
The concept of one wire is what attracted me to Firewire in the first place. To connect my VCR to my audio receiver, I have two SVHS cables and two sets of audio left and right cables -- six wires in all. Considering I have three recording devices plugged into my receiver, that's 18 wires. Firewire could reduce that to three wires, but I've yet to see any AV receivers with even a single IEEE 1394 connection.


In addition to bumping the bandwidth to 800mps with a road map to more than 4Gbps, the next real wave for the technology is wireless. The 1394 Trade Group is merging its work on wireless 1394 with the bluetooth group, which should the technology a little cheaper. In my mind that will be a huge selling point over DVI and other connection schemes.


The main thing that has kept IEEE 1394 technology alive is its advantages on the data side. I'm in the process of digitizing my entire CD collection to an external Firewire 80GB hard drive that only cost me $350. I can have more than 20 of these drives daisy chained together.


Unless something drastic happens, there will be transcoders available that allow you to plug Firewire devices into analog devices and vice versa. I have a Sony iLink SVHS to DV transcoder that works great and there are also component models available. I've got to think at some point there will be an RGB to IEEE 1394 transcoder on the market...


Dennis


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Dennis Whiteman

FastPipe Media, Inc.


[This message has been edited by ultimate (edited 03-17-2001).]
 

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Well, just to be clear what I meant is that Firewire was in jeopardy of dying in the application of home CE audio/video systems. Additionally, I said it was in _jeopardy_ of dying a slow death, not that it definitely would.


I have never bet on anything but a sure winner. I bet on CD's when they came out, I bet on DVD's when they came out, I bet on HDTV when it came out (This is a shaky decision, in my opinion. Maybe a valid one considering usinf a HD display for DVD playback, but for HD it's a tossup so far), I bet on Intel based PC's when they came out, and I bet on Linux when the kernel version was still 0.97.


Firewire has been the latest and greatest technology for 6+ years now with mostly pro-level Apple system based hardware being available in any real sort of diversity. If any industry could have pushed Firewire into the forefront, it is the PC industry (MP3's? CD-Ripping and Burning? Internet?) The PC industry has let us down so I am NOT betting on Firewire yet.


As for the www.variety.com article, it seems to me that a lack of a concerted effort by content providers in the industry for encryption is _not_ in the best interest of Firewire. Any fracturing will surely mean confusing and competing standards. This is a sure way to delay the introduction of any technology since the market will play wait and see. A delay in introduction means there are opportunities for other technologies to be developed and introduced.


I firmly believe that content providers want and will fight tooth and nail for absolute control in a content digital perfect home entertainment system. If Firewire can't do it for them, then they will look for something simpler and easier to control.


I believe it certainly could happen, and in all likelyhood will. We only have historical examples to show us how likely it is.


Rick
 

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Quote:
wirehead_rick wrote:

The PC industry has let us down so I am NOT betting on Firewire yet.
Maybe it is because I'm a Mac user whose last four computers had Firewire built-in, but I think the technology has matured a lot in the last two years. The things you cite -- (MP3's? CD-Ripping and Burning? Internet?) -- all work on the Mac today. Dell and Compaq both ship PCs with IEEE 1394 built-in and a friend just bought a PCMCIA card for bringing in video from his DV camera to a Dell laptop. And external hard drives, while not having native IEEE 1394 interfaces, now have bridge chips that get the transfer speeds close to 40MBs...


I don't recall seeing an MP3 player that uses anything but USB. But I wouldn't consider buying a CD burner today that wasn't Firewire based for convenience and speed. Even my old SCSI burner works via a Firewire adapter I bought a few months ago. Although there is 1394 TCP/IP networking technlogy out there, I don't see it as having any real benefits over fast or gigabit ethernet.


That said I agree that unless IEEE 1394 makes it into AV receivers, DVD/CD players, Personal TV devices, VCRs and other consumer electronics, then it probably won't be widely adopted for anything other than computer applications. HAVI would seem to be the step that could make this happen, but Microsoft won't participate in anything related to Java so I'm relatively sure they won't be offering any help.


Dennis


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Mitsubishi also reported it is in discussions with a number of consumer electronics companies to license Mitsubishi's Promise Module technology, which enables the upgradability of equipment to be compatible with HDTV receiver-decoders, IEEE 1394 networking, 5C copy protection and HAVi software.


I would think this is good news for all you early adopters out there. This was at the link that Dmon4u provided. Last paragraph under "Mitsubishi Defends 1394 Position".


Devin
 

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Hi All,


FYI


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


Mitsubishi Digital Electronics Adopts DTCP (5C) Copy Protection System for IEEE 1394-Equipped Devices


Irvine, CA -- January 5, 2001 -- Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc. (MDEA) today announced overall adoption of the Digital Transmission Copy Protection (DTCP) system (known as 5C) in future devices using the IEEE 1394 High Speed Serial Bus. The company previously announced the Mitsubishi Promise Module, a tuner-decoder upgrade module for its HD-Upgradeable Televisions, which included IEEE 1394 and 5C. In making this announcement, the company is demonstrating its support of 5C in devices that use the IEEE 1394 connection.


"MDEA wants to eliminate any ambiguity or question regarding its choice of copy protection technology," said Max Wasinger, vice-president of sales and marketing. "As we move forward into a totally digital interconnected home entertainment environment, we believe that 5C is the de-facto standard for content protection."


The company further noted the de-facto adoption of 5C by the Federal Communications Commission which specified the connections between digital televisions and cable boxes in their recent declaratory ruling to include IEEE 1394 as well the DFAST technology. Previous to the FCC ruling, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reached agreement with the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) for a cable box to digital television interface known as EIA-775A, EIA-799 and DVS-194, which incorporates a IEEE 1394 and 5C interface.


"It is our position that the 5C system provides robust and resilient protection to address the concerns of content creators and owners, as well as workability and flexibility for manufacturers and consumers," noted Robert A. Perry, director of marketing, MDEA. "We hope that the content community will move forward to take advantage of the opportunities to deliver new and better content through digital systems, and will come together in support of this standard. It clear that no other system offers the combination of features and protection that 5C has, as well as the broad-based support of manufacturers and government."


The company further noted its continued support of consumers' "fair use" rights under copyright laws, which the U.S. Supreme Court has held extend to in-home non-commercial copying of content for personal use.


The Company will announce its new slate of digital products at its National Product Line Show in Long Beach, CA, May 6th through May 9th, 2001.


Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc. manufactures and markets a comprehensive line of premium quality, NTSC and high-definition upgradeable projection televisions, satellite receivers, VCRs and audio products for complete home theater systems. Recognized as the world leader and innovator of big screen and digital television receiver technology, MDEA develops audio and video products that lead the industry in performance, ease-of-use and system integration. For additional information about MDEA, visit http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com.



For More Information:

Cayce Blanchard

Mitsubishi Electric News Bureau

800/828-6372 for media use only

[email protected]



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CBS New York

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I could be wrong, but I believe set top boxes will be made that provide traditional analog outputs -- RGB and Component -- similar to what we get via satellite now. Ultimately, those will be phased out, but not for a few years. So long has the STB has the necessary decryption technology built-in, it shouldn't be a problem watching it on an older set with analog outputs.


If you're in no rush though, it doesn't hurt to wait a few months to see how this will begin to shake itself out. Alternatively, you could look for a bargain and enjoy what we have while its here and upgrade later if necessary...


Dennis


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Dennis Whiteman

FastPipe Media, Inc.
 

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As I understood the 5C rules, any analog output can only be 480i (or is it 480p). Only when talking to another secure 5C device, can the box output 1080i or 720p.


/carmi
 

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Quote:
As I understood the 5C rules, any analog output can only be 480i (or is it 480p). Only when talking to another secure 5C device, can the box output 1080i or 720p.
Whether 5C or DVI, it's really a legal contract issue rather than a technical issue how good the non-protected outputs are allowed to be. I've never seen that specified in writing anywhere.


It's looks to me like they are targeting 480i as the best but no one seems really willing to say. I do know that of the various set top boxes that occasionally give (possibly erroneous) messages about this they all fall back to 480i that I've heard of. But most of what I know is just from messages here on this forum.


I do know that they should be forced to be more open and honest on this point.


- Tom


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Good fences make good neighbors... but please build them only on your own property! -- Boycott ALL invasive copy controls.
 

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So what happens to Mits SD5 ?????????????

Mits states that the new HDTV sets will have this 5C, and will provide an upgrade to their users for a mere $1,000. Gee, that is the cost of an STB!

So, if you buy a Mits STB SD5, you lost twice?

Has anyone got any clarification from Mit?

This will be a big issue in May, when they announce it.
 

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majortom - You're reference is to DVI/HDCP, not 1394/5C.

ultimate states:
Quote:
Unless something drastic happens, there will be transcoders available that allow you to plug Firewire devices into analog devices and vice versa.
1394 -> Analog, yes. Whether or not said future device would be licensed with the appropriate decryption technology is another issue. (So it might not ba able to "transcode" 5C protected broadcasts) But 1394 is pretty much so an "open" standard and it'd be difficult to imagine this scenario - since the CE manufacturers and NOT the MPAA own the patents (although at times they end up being the same company), I couldn't see them denying rights to technology which would be an effective bridge for the over 1M HDTV ready displays out there w/o 1394.

Analog -> 1394, Not too soon. The HDTV data over 1394 is the compressed datastream, you'd have to re-compress the analog to create a 1394 datastream. The problem here is that the MPEG encoders needed to get Gibabit speed data to 19.4 Mbps for true recompression are too expensive for consumer devices. In a few years, this may be possible. (Actually, 1394 allows 300-400Mbps(?), so using cheaper MPEG encoders, I suppose if you got it down to that range, you could still have a fairly decent recorder - not as efficient, but a lot cheaper... hmmmm)
 
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