Here’s an article that may be useful. It’s in current issue of IEEE Spectrum, and it appears to be available to nonmembers. The accompanying article on the major players is interesting also. (Don’t miss the chart.)
Note this paragraph, buried near the end of the article:
“As cable TV companies, burglar-alarm suppliers, and even power companies negotiate for space inside digital hubs, Whatley foresees a sort of free-for-all to control a raft of functions also tied into the hub. An electric utility could, for example, manage loads more effectively, even turning off an air conditioner during peak periods. The system would also know when homeowners returned from work, so it could bring the house back to a comfortable temperature by the time they walked in the door.”
Are energy industry companies just naive bit players with their attempts to do “gateways” and smart homes? (Note their complete absence from the chart.) Or are utilities in a unique position to pull it off while media and IT giants do battle with each other?
Companies vie to create a single device, or hub, to handle all your home entertainment needs
By Paul Wallich, Contributing Editor
It’s a set-top! It’s a home server! It’s a digital hub! Whatever you call it—a souped-up cable box or a hard-disk recorder with wings—companies know that whoever gets it right will rule the entertainment gateway to the home.
More than a half-dozen companies so far are scrambling for the billions of dollars they hope to reap by offering consumers a single machine to handle their home entertainment needs. The companies agree on what the machine should do: record, archive, and play back video and music, organize digital photo albums, and distribute digital media around the home. Where they disagree is on what shape that machine should take.
For a view of how media companies are organizing to reach the hub in your home,
The Largest Players Rule the Media Playground
By Steven M. Cherry, Senior Associate Editor
The top media companies increasingly do a lot more than create content. The 12 companies shown here deliver content via cable systems and the Internet. They also have investments in makers of personal video recorders (PVRs) and set-top boxes and suppliers of video on demand.
Consider the former Moxi Digital, builder of a personal entertainment hub that can play DVDs and CDs and can function as a PVR and a set-top box. Moxi’s investors, before Vulcan purchased it, included AOL Time Warner, Vulcan, and Scientific-Atlanta. Vulcan also owns Digeo, another hub maker, with which Moxi was merged.
Eight of the companies listed—AOL Time Warner, Comcast, Disney, GE, Liberty Media, Sony, Viacom, and Vulcan— were investors in ReplayTV before it was bought by SonicBlue. TiVo, an up-and-coming PVR maker, has attracted hefty investments from almost all major media companies.