July 09, 2008
| by Richard M. Sherwin
The major audio-video accessory companies fear that the big CE manufacturers have finally delivered on the age old promise of "No New Wires." With Sony and Panasonic starting to introduce products that are supposedly wire-free, the accessory companies have been touting their own new wireless solutions for HDTV to HDMI to whole home audio and other house cluttering products and services. Here's a look at both sides of this ever troublesome home theater dilemma.
No More Wires Please!
(By Susan Davis, an award winning advertising copyrighter and a former feature writer for The Daily News Sunday News Magazine
I am not a Luddite
. I swear. I like technology. Well, sort of. I can appreciate the wonder of all the newest gadgets and all that they do. I’d have to; my husband is possessed. Or I should say, we possess, every latest electronic thing-a-ma-jig that comes on the market. And I mean everything: MP3 players, storage devices, fax machines, printers, computers (Mac and PC / desktop and notebook), electronic book readers, HDTVs, streaming audio-video and video games. Did I list them all? Probably not, but that’s all I can remember at the moment.
Is this a good thing? Well, yes. And no. Yes, I can impress everyone who steps into my home. I’m used to hearing “Wow, you have that?! Already?! Didn’t know it was out yet!” And no, I have to warn whoever comes over to be careful where they walk. That’s because of the bane of my existence: the wires. Miles and miles and piles and piles of wires. A tangled mess that’s impossible not to see, as they’re bulging out from behind everything that’s plugged in. They’re leading to and from the TVs, to and from the computers, to and from everything. The last person I invited over glanced at the wires near the TV and said, “Jeez. Will you look at that.” Exactly my point.
And it’s not like you can tell what’s connected to what. Oh no. There are so many wires that to disconnect something (or to try and move something away to clean), you need an hour or two to figure out which plug to pull. It drives me absolutely nuts.
Can someone please tell me why, when half of the newest, the latest, the most sophisticated toys around are marketed as wireless, the huge snake pile of wires in back of, underneath, and yeah, right out in the open, in my house just keeps growing, and growing, and growing?
Wires: The Only Way to Make Sure Things Work!
(By Richard Sherwin, a former syndicated technology columnist and TV/Radio analyst.
Of course, when my one-year-old granddaughter Maggie traipses around the room where I have my TV, TiVo, stereo, game consoles, etc., etc., etc., my thoughts are of her safety and welfare and not that things may get disconnected. Although they could be since, admittedly, there are wires everywhere. And that’s a good thing, because hard wires are the only thing I trust to make my stuff work. Some people…OK, a lot of people (I won’t mention names)…have a misconception that wireless data, streaming audio, streaming video even the upcoming HDMI wireless standard, does away with boxes and wires. I disagree. Until electricity itself, or every entertainment contraption and set top box and component is invisible, or every homeowner has the money to have everything built behind the wall, there’s going to be boxes and wires in your entertainment area.
Even for those who can afford to build a custom wall or entertainment center, many experts still claim that the best quality audio, video and data performance requires wires and cables. Some companies, like Panasonic and the venerable X-10, are successfully testing (in Japan, and domestically) home power-line technology that makes things simpler. And some accessory makers, like Monster and Logitech and even Sony, have shown off wireless video. But those solutions are only for small rooms and you still need power that plugs into the wall, i.e., wires. So far, no one has come up with any wireless technology for audio or video that produces consistently high quality content with no problems.
Until then, I guess I should promise to buy more cable-hiding furniture to place in front of the wires. But it’s getting awfully crowded in here.
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Richard Sherwin is a former syndicated technology columnist and TV/Radio analyst, who has also been a marketing executive with IBM, Philips, NBC and a chief advisor to several manufacturers and service providers.