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Tech Heavyweights Hope To Navigate Obstacles To Digital Living

Some of the biggest names in consumer electronics and high technology released on Tuesday a set of technical guidelines that they hope will establish a roadmap for interoperability of digital devices in the home.

The companies also announced that their organization, originally called the Digital Home Working Group, has been renamed the Digital Living Network Alliance. Members of the alliance's board of directors include Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Nokia Inc., Philips, Samsung and Sony Corp. Other members include IBM, Sharp, Kenwood, NEC Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc.

Many consumer electronics and high-tech companies would like to see consumers build home networks that would enable them to share music, video and pictures stored in a computer with multiple devices, such as televisions, stereos and music players. Among the biggest hurdles in achieving a digital home, however, is the lack of interoperability standards and copyright protection for digital content.

During a news conference in San Francisco, the alliance unveiled the first version of its interoperability guidelines, which lists the standards comprising the group's framework for sharing content. The DLNA framework includes Ethernet and Wi-Fi standards for network connectivity, Internet protocol (IP) for the network stack, HTTP for media transport and universal plug and play (UpnP) for device discovery, control and media management. The media formats supported in version 1.0 of the framework include JPEG, LPCM and MPEG2.

Upcoming versions of the framework will include more media formats and standards for interoperability with mobile devices, such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants.

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