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Cirrus makes push into home networking

Chipmaker Cirrus Logic is acquiring Peak Audio in a push to tap into the area of commercial and home networking.

Chipmaker Cirrus Logic on Friday said it is acquiring Peak Audio in a push to tap into the area of commercial and home networking.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Austin, Texas-based Cirrus Logic said it expects to use the technology and expertise of Peak Audio, which makes audio networking systems, to develop entertainment audio systems for commercial and consumer audio networks.

Home networking systems are built to connect multiple pieces of equipment and multiple locations. An example might be a PC or a living-room entertainment center connected to speakers in the bedroom, kitchen or bathroom, by way of Ethernet, existing home wiring or wireless technologies.

The home networking market was one of the darlings of the investor community as analysts and companies in the industry said it would be the next Internet wave of the future. However, it appears that its time has yet to come, as consumers consider home networking gadgets confusing and not worth the investment, analysts say.

However, the market is far from folding. According to In-Stat Group, a research firm, sales of home networking products grew 97 percent to $290 million in 2000. The market for networking equipment that connects PCs, printers and other sources and that allows people to share an Internet connection reached $147 million in 1999. The market is expected to grow from 5 million networked homes to more than 27 million networked homes worldwide by 2004.

Products of Boulder, Colo.-based Peak Audio are used for audio entertainment and communications for businesses and public institutions, such as the U.S. Senate chambers, Australia's Sydney Opera House and Stadium Australia and Wembley Stadium in England.

Cirrus Logic builds analog technology for Internet entertainment electronics, and targets audio, storage and communications.