Technology Integrator June 2012 : Page 38

IPIQ Rob Gelphman The Connected Home: From Divergence to Convergence How integrators can navigate network technologies By Rob Gelphman, Chair of the Marketing Work Group for the Multimedia over Coax Alliance, MoCA® he rapid growth in the number of digital media sources and the number of platforms from which consumers expect to access them is creating a “digital divergence” that is putting enormous pressure on current home networks to deliver a satisfactory experience. While there is no silver bullet, there are solutions available now that can meet the needs and requirements of a variety of devices, services, screens and usage models encompassing mobility, ubiquity, ease of use and reliability. Both the devices and the sources of content are redefining connect-ed homes. In contrast to earlier local area networks (LANs), which were often limited islands of digital access, a truly connected home provides seamless, “anything-to-anywhere” data access for computers, Internet-enabled TVs, digital media players, game platforms and other media appliances. T Wireless (Wi-Fi) Powerline (HomePlug) Coax (MoCA) This two-part article will explore the trends affecting connected homes, including the applications they support, and how these tech-nologies are productized to deliver data, entertainment and a rapidly expanding ecosystem of innovative digital services throughout the home. Changing the Way We Work & Play Demand for pervasive connectivity is accelerating as the boundaries continue to erode between traditional media and the Internet. Pay TV network operators face growing competition for viewers’ atten-tion from YouTube, Hulu, NetFlix and other over-the-top (OTT) media, as well as multi-player games, and content stored on net-worked media players. Networked media is also changing where, when and how we con-sume entertainment and content. This shift is highlighted in a recent study by Parks Associates, which found that more than 25 percent of all video viewing in U.S. broadband households now Drawbacks occurs on other platforms in addition to the TV, includ-Reliability is a challenge ing PCs, laptops, tablets and Prone to interference smartphones. Unlicensed band “One-third of U.S. broad-band households streamed a Performance is not on par TV show in the past 30 days, with MoCA and the average broadband Prone to high interference user watches 36 minutes of video on a tablet,” said Low outlet coverage Brett Sappington, director of performance research, Parks Associates. Value Proposition Mobility Ubiquity of outlets Proven performance and reliability. In use by all three pay TV segments. MoCA 2.0 ratified— Interoperable with 1.0/1.1 Mobility, ubiquity, ease of use and reliability Reliant on coaxial outlet penetration The Connected Home No silver bullets Will need at least some wire As shown in Table 1, each of the commonly used technologies has its own pros and cons. Wired, Wireless Or Both? One of the key decisions the installer faces is which net-working technologies they will use to create a connected home. While traditional Ethernet provides excellent performance, the cost of pull-ing specialized cabling makes it too costly for most home applications. A few estab-lished and viable technolo-CustomRetailer U June 2012 38

IPIQ: The Connected Home

Rob Gelphman

From Divergence to Convergence<br /> <br /> How integrators can navigate network technologies<br /> <br /> The rapid growth in the number of digital media sources and the number of platforms from which consumers expect to access them is creating a “digital divergence” that is putting enormous pressure on current home networks to deliver a satisfactory experience. While there is no silver bullet, there are solutions available now that can meet the needs and requirements of a variety of devices, services, screens and usage models encompassing mobility, ubiquity, ease of use and reliability.<br /> <br /> Both the devices and the sources of content are redefining connected homes. In contrast to earlier local area networks (LANs), which were often limited islands of digital access, a truly connected home provides seamless, “anything-to-anywhere” data access for computers, Internet-enabled Tvs, digital media players, game platforms and other media appliances.<br /> <br /> This two-part article will explore the trends affecting connected homes, including the applications they support, and how these technologies are productized to deliver data, entertainment and a rapidly expanding ecosystem of innovative digital services throughout the home.<br /> <br /> Changing the Way We Work & Play <br /> <br /> Demand for pervasive connectivity is accelerating as the boundaries continue to erode between traditional media and the Internet. Pay TV network operators face growing competition for viewers’ attention from YouTube, Hulu, NetFlix and other over-the-top (OTT) media, as well as multi-player games, and content stored on networked media players.<br /> <br /> Networked media is also changing where, when and how we consume entertainment and content. This shift is highlighted in a recent study by Parks Associates, which found that more than 25 percent of all video viewing in U.S. broadband households now occurs on other platforms in addition to the TV, including Pcs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.<br /> <br /> “One-third of U.S. broadband households streamed a TV show in the past 30 days, and the average broadband user watches 36 minutes of video on a tablet,” said Brett Sappington, director of research, Parks Associates.<br /> <br /> Wired, Wireless Or Both? One of the key decisions the installer faces is which networking technologies they will use to create a connected home. While traditional Ethernet provides excellent performance, the cost of pulling specialized cabling makes it too costly for most home applications. A few established and viable technolo-Gies already exist to help make a connected home affordable for everyone.<br /> <br /> O Wireless networks provide convenient data and multimedia access for laptops, tablets and handheld media devices, but its limited data capacity may be further degraded by microwave ovens or other wireless equipment operating in the same band. In addition, a single hot spot's range is limited so full coverage of even a modest home may require multiple access points or extenders, which, in turn, generally require multiple wired connections to the broadband gateway/router.<br /> <br /> O Powerline-based networks offer ubiquity, as there are outlets in ever)' room, including the garage, and even outside, thus delivering data wherever a power outlet is located. The nature of the medium Is such that it may suffer from interference, affecting performance and reliability.<br /> <br /> O Coax, while often overlooked as a viable medium in the home network. As it adds considerable value to the existing cable infrastructure to establish an Ethernet connection that Is transparent to existing pay TV signals, supports any IP-based application and can extend the wire Less network. A drawback could be the location and number of coaxial outlets In the house.<br /> <br /> In the next installment, we'll take a deeper dive into the various connected- home technologies to see how the home electronics professional can leverage their strengths to provide customers with a solution that's optimized for their needs and their budget. <br /> <br /> Rob Gelphman is the chair of the Marketing Work Croup for the Multimedia over Coax Alliance, MoCA®. MoCA technology is used for a variety of applications. Including multiroom DVR, gaming and high-speed Internet and wireless extension. There are more than 110 MoCA certified products mailable via the pay TV custom installer and/or retail channels. Visit www.mocalhance.org and moca4installers.org for more information. You may also contact Rob directly at robgelphman@mocalliance.org.

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