Home-Electronics Devices Unite

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A group of media, computer and consumer-electronics companies has formed the Multimedia Over Coax Alliance to write the specs for products that will interconnect various devices in the home "to deliver DVD/HDTV-quality video and Internet to every room in the house using existing connections and wiring."

The founding members are Comcast Corp., EchoStar Communications Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Entropic Communications Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), Motorola Inc., RadioShack Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

Back in November, consulting firm Booz, Allen Hamilton warned traditional ad-supported media that they faced new competition from home media networks (HMNs).

Those networks, fueled by the growth of broadband delivery and home computers, allow consumers to manipulate digital content with a variety of networked devices, including computers, digital cameras, MP3 players, TVs and stereos. With the addition of media hub hardware, said the report, homes have a "killer connection" that will further fragment the audience. "The ability to aggregate an audience-e.g., watching a TV show during prime time-will be severely weakened," warned the report.

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