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The Seventh Annual Interactive Music Conference
brainstorming graphic

Group Report: The Future of Hardware for Home Entertainment and Computer Systems

Participants: A.K.A. "The Mysterious Cloud of Resonance" Glenn Arentzoff; DTS Interactive
Kurt Heiden; SRS Labs David Konetski; Dell Computer
Kristoffer Larson; Dolby Laboratories Len Layton; Dolby Laboratories
Phil Lehwalder; Intel Charles McCallum; Texas Instruments
Danny Mulligan; SigmaTel David Roach; SigmaTel
Bob Starr; QSound Mark Tuffy; THX
Jack Unverferth; Microsoft Facilitator: Spencer Critchley; Palo Alto Media

Current Situation - The Problem
With the increase in complexity of home entertainment and computer systems, the market is hitting a ceiling: While the adoption of simple devices such as traditional TVs can approach 100%, more complex systems stall well below that level.

The complexity problem can be summarized in terms of:

  • Connectivity
  • Interoperability

The seriousness of the problem is made clear simply by imagining a expert user unpacking a new DVD player, A/V receiver and surround speaker system. On simply looking at the number of connectors on the back of the receiver, this user is likely to quit. Successfully placing and setting up the speakers looks very unlikely, and there are lots of other opportunities for error, as in connecting composite/S/component/digital video.

The Solution
Given the difficulty of connecting devices and getting them to work together correctly, the ideal solution would seem to be zero connections and automatic configuration.

This would presumably involve the following:

  • Wireless transport
    • Control data
    • Media - compressed video, uncompressed audio(uncompressed video even at current resolutions requires gigabit speeds)
    • Wireless speakers with easy setup
  • Truly Universal Plug and Play
    • Automatic peer-to-peer discovery of device capabilities and content
    • Internet connectivity through home gateway
  • Branded ease of use program "EZ AV" ratings for equipment

The AV Receiver of the future will be a key part of the transition to the ultimate solution.

Transitional Solution
The fully wireless networked home will take some time to roll out. Legacy equipment will also be around for a long time and needs to be supported.

EZAV™ - promising consumers ease-of-use

EZAV™ is a rating system for equipment that requires manufacturers to adhere to some standardized operating and set up procedures, provide simple and clear instructions and to minimize the complexity of their interconnections wherever possible.

Example : Speaker Connectivity

-Each speaker wireless
-Sub with analog fanout
-Each speaker 1394
-Sub with 1394 daisy chaining
UPnP attributes / Analog connectivity
-Discoverable and configurable
Analog w/ impedance detect
-Auto routing and configuration
USB Spkr
-Sub USB connected
-Computer only today
-DRM Problem

section 5

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select a section:
1. Introduction  2. Speakers  3. Executive Summary  
4. Proposal for Latency and Uncertainty (Jitter) Management By Enumerating Renderers and Sources
5. The Future of Hardware for Home Entertainment and Computer Systems  
6. User Interface Design Issues for Audio Creation Tools 
7. Maximizing the Resources Available to Achieve Quality Game Audio
8. Schedule & Sponsors