Interface and connectivity define future digital home

A pair of ABI Research reports indicate that success in providing solutions for the future digital home market will be based on user interface design and broad standards support.

The push for online video and social communities in the living room has resulted in ever-increasing interest in HTML and other web-based technologies on consumer TVs, the analysts observe.
“ABI Research sees a strong push by some in the consumer electronics industry to explore the integration of HTML and browser engines into existing user interface platforms, and the use of the browser as a primary rendering engine for user interfaces,” says research director Michael Wolf. “We also see growth in the living room consumer-usable browser segment, where the primary use-case would be Web surfing in the living room or on a portable consumer electronic device.”
HTML, Adobe’s Flash/AIR, and Java are the three main contenders for the next-generation of user interfaces, the report suggests.

The way all these devices talk to each other is very diversified, the researchers note, pointing out that short range networking technologies are settling into more or less clearly defined roles. “Technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, UWB, 60 GHz, and ZigBee will not compete within the home,” says ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen, “but will be used in coordination, overlapping and coexisting for full wireless network coverage.”
“Bluetooth will be the driving technology in the PAN (personal area network) and may see some success in remote controls, especially for gaming. Wi-Fi will be the key technology for wireless LAN (local area network). UWB and 60 GHz respectively will be specialized for home office peripherals, and for wireless HDMI (uncompressed video sent from a set-top box to a high-definition TV). ZigBee stands apart, as a home automation technology.”

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