Will HomePlug AV be DOA?

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Will HomePlug AV be DOA?

Westlake Village (CA) – HomePlug-compatible 200Mbps powerline networking may be just around the corner, but one major consumer networking company isn’t waiting. Netgear today announced that will soon be shipping “200 Mbps” powerline networking products using chipsets from Madrid-based DS2.

The products are slated to start shipping “in the second quarter of 2006” and are intended to support “high-quality, high-definition video and other bandwidth-hungry applications without interruption,” according to Netgear chief executive officer Patrick Lo. DS2’s chipsets use proprietary technology that does not interoperate with products based on the HomePlug 1.0 standard or Intellon’s proprietary HomePlug ” Turbo” enhancement.

This announcement can’t come as good news for the embattled HomePlug Alliance, which has been beseiged by competing powerline technologies. This January’s Consumer Electronics show featured product demonstrations and announcements not only by DS2, but also by Panasonic, which introduced its own, proprietary, high-speed powerline product.

HomePlug AV technology, which also has a 200 Mbps (raw) data rate and is targeted as the same HD video and multimedia streaming applications as DS2’s technology, appears to be perpetually six to nine months away. Intellon demonstrated HomePlug AV reference designs using its INT6000 chipset at CES and said it will be shipping samples starting in this quarter. But ship dates for actual HomePlug AV-compliant product remain unannounced.

Netgear probably can’t be blamed for moving ahead with introducing a powerline networking product that is incompatible with its existing HomePlug 1.0 and 85Mbps Homeplug products since the train is leaving the station for getting spec’d in by IPTV service providers. If other major manufacturers also jump on the DS2 bandwagon, HomePlug AV might join the ranks of other now-defunct networking technologies.