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Wi-Fi gear makers make home connections

The manufacturers introduce new products that will allow home stereos and DVD players to play back and connect to digital media stored on other devices connected to wireless networks.

LAS VEGAS--Wi-Fi gear makers introduced new products that will allow traditional consumer electronics products, such as home stereos and DVD players, to connect to and play back digital media stored on other devices connected to wireless networks.

Linksys and D-Link joined NetGear this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in announcing Wi-Fi gear that will be available in the coming months.

The announcements signal a trend in the industry and a significant opportunity for manufacturers to adapt millions of older devices to enable them to work with wireless networks. The ease of network setup and rapidly falling prices have made Wi-Fi gear a hit with consumers.

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Manufacturers are looking to expand into the consumer electronics market and bridge that world with the PC industry where Wi-Fi has already become a standard capability in new computers.

"As the number of homes with wireless networks rises, our customers are seeking greater value from their networks," Steve Troyer, director of product marketing at Linksys said in a release. "With the ability to deliver digital media from the PC and Internet to other multimedia products around the home, the wireless network becomes the backbone of a home's entertainment infrastructure."

Linksys is teaming Wi-Fi capabilities to DVD players, which is one of the most popular product categories in consumer electronics history, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. By the end of the first quarter of this year, Linksys will begin shipping the Linksys DVD Player with Wireless-G Media Link, which will be able to play back content from a PC on a television or a stereo system.

The company also announced the Linksys Wireless-B Media Link for music, which can play back digital music stored on PC on a stereo.

Rival D-Link announced the availability of a $399 Wi-Fi Internet camera, the D-Link DCS-5300W, which allows consumers to set up a video monitoring system and transmit video over a wireless network so it can be viewed on a Web browser anywhere. Consumers will be able to remotely control the camera.