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More network, fewer wires

AMD's Phil Hester looks at options for digital content at CES.

The options continue to grow for distributing digital content, including HD, over networks within and beyond the home. A major help in this area will be the trend toward "wireless everything" that stands out at this 2008 show.

Most of the major TV manufacturers have announced HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) wireless capabilities and plans to stream Internet content to the TV, via wired or wireless connectivity. Additionally, LG (with Netflix) and Microsoft (with ABC, Disney and MGM) announced plans for downloading movie and television content to the TV from the Internet via set-top boxes and media extenders.

I was particularly excited to see Sling Media's Slingbox PRO HD, which was announced here at CES, has HD inputs and outputs that allow users to stream content to PCs, mobile phones and BlackBerrys worldwide. Priced around $400, that one goes on my wish list immediately.

As I moved from home/office solutions to automotive technologies, I was surprised to see that beyond Microsoft Sync there are not many in-car wireless networking solutions available for mainstream users. This seems like a market that is poised to grow as consumers look to integrate functions like Internet, navigation, music, movies, TV and e-mail--everything we're used to in the home--into simple to use, affordable options for the car.

Phil Hester is senior vice president and chief technology officer at AMD, responsible for setting the architectural and product strategies and plans for AMD's microprocessor business.