If you’ve ever wondered how your gadgets talk amongst themselves to successfully play music from your PC through a media streamer, you’ll be interested in this interview with Dr Alan Messer, President of the UPnP Forum.
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is the standard by which IP networked gadgets advertise their services and intercommunicate. Formed in 1999, nearly all the big vendors are signed up with over 1000 members, the notable exception being Apple who tend to do their own thing. Think Intel, Samsung, Nokia, Philips.
The most common example of UPnP (AV spec) is DLNA-certification which governs media management, discovery and control and this effectively determines how music is streamed from one device to another. Set-top boxes know how to use different router ports based on UPnP techniques. Almost any consumer device attached to the network in the home will have some element of UPnP built-in.
(No, Andy, it’s not the ISA PnP but thanks for the trip down memory lane.)
Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.
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Sony have launched a series of high performance HDMI cables to meet the needs of the latest developments in audio and video entertainment, including 3D and Ethernet.
All the cables in the DLC-HE series offer:
- HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC), allowing the cable to not only carry audio and video, but also data.
- Audio Return Channel (ARC), permitting audio to be transmitted in both directions.
- 3D support, for the latest movies.
- Quad Full HD, for resolutions up to 3840 x 2160.
- 48 bits per pixel colour depth, giving richer colour reproduction.
Obviously, the TV and the connected device, e.g. an AV amp, have to support these features to take advantage of the cable.
Although the press release doesn’t make it 100% clear, I believe that these features mean these new cables conform to the HDMI 1.4 standard.
There are five different cables in the range, from general purpose to premium, with variants using horizontal and vertical swivel connections. There’s also a special cable for connecting from HandyCam or Bloggie cameras that have the HDMI type C connector.
The cables come in a range of lengths from 1m to 10m. Additionally the HDMI connector body has been redesigned so that it’s easier to see which way round the cable is before trying to plug it in.
Available now from all good stockists with prices starting from around £40.
Onkyo, one of the world’s leaders in A/V receivers, made a big announcement on June 29, 2010. Their new receivers, the TX-NR3008 and TX-NR5008, are now, not only DLNA certified, but also Compatible with Windows 7. This means they support the Windows Play To feature.
So, what does all of this mean? In Microsoft’s own words this is what it means:
“Play To allows you to seamlessly play music, video, and photos through your home network to any network media device that carries the Compatible with Windows 7 logo.”
If you haven’t used Play To, it’s pretty simple. From any PC on your network you can open Windows Media Player or Windows Explorer, right-click an audio track, and choose “Play To”. If you don’t see the Play To option then you can download the plugin HERE. A Play To icon also appears above the Now Playing list in Windows Media Player. This does require Windows 7.
My guess is that we will be seeing many of these Windows 7 and networking features added to home theater devices in the near future.