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1394 Group Develops Spec to Boost HD

The 1394 Trade Association (TA) is developing a specification that will enable the IEEE 1394 standard (Firewire) to deliver audio and video over coaxial cable. The trade association expects the use of "1394 over-coax" to help spur the spread of HD, according to published reports.

The task group expects to complete a single native 1394 over-coax specification built on the 1394 S400 physical layer device (PHY), coupled with an integrated interface to provide a single link for coax. "Cable MSOs are looking for the optimal long-term solution and we believe that native 1394 over-coax is the most cost-effective way to deliver multiple streams of HD video with trick play over a single coax cable," according to James Snider, TA's executive director, in a statement on the group's Web site.

Snider said the specification will enable video to be transmitted from set-top boxes over coax to computers and MPEG2 decoders in HD. TA is trying to encourage the use of 1394 ports on STBs so that consumers can use the technology. At 400 MB, TA reports, coax would make it possible for cable operators to implement a very high quality hook-up. TA reportedly expects the new technology to be implemented sometime in latter 2006.

Cable operators prefer to use coax because most of their customers already have it. The new coax spec will be upgradeable to 800 MB.