Several top technology companies have formed a group to promote the networking of household electronics in order to more easily share digital media. Panasonic, Intel, Infineon and Texas Instruments are the four leading members

of the HomeGrid Forum, a panel comprised of technology companies in order to make standard the wiring of PCs, TVs and entertainment systems.

The goal is to make all of these household technologies operational through a computer, thus limiting the amount of remote controls and labor involved in switching from one to the other.

The four companies will test and market a standard to bring together the electronics through the electricity and cable lines already existent and in use in most American houses.

"Powerline is the most ubiquitous technology in the world. You have powerlines to almost every house in the world," Intel's Matt Theall, president of the new HomeGrid Forum said on a conference call to

Within a year they hope that new products will be compatible with this network standard and enable simple sharing of media between them.

The four companies will work with the International Telecommunications Union and a standard they have already been working on, hopefully speeding up the process and bringing the technology to homes more quickly.

The HomeGrid Forum is similar to the Wi-Fi Alliance, in which a similar group of companies worked to make wireless the household standard and produced thousands of products to be wireless-compatible.

Seven other members of the HomeGrid Forum include Aware, Gigle Semiconductor, Pulse Link, Ikanos, Sigma Designs, DS2 and Westell, with more companies to come into the group.

Household electronics integration will probably prosper come a year from now, and it will be just the beginning of networked technologies.

By Danny Scuderi
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