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Industry Forms HD Alliance 'HANA'

Charter Communications,JVC,Mitsubishi,NBC Universal,Samsung (opens in new tab) and Sun Microsystems have teamed together as founding members of HANA--the High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance. HANA's main objective will be "to create a design guideline for secure high definition audio visual networks that will speed the creation of new, higher quality, easier-to-use HD products," according to an alliance statement this week.

The new group will push for design strategies to enable DTV sets, DVRs and storage devices to connect via single IEEE 1394 cables, replacing the maze of wires and cables connecting many of today's disparately configured electronics.

ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, and Pulse~Link have joined HANA as contributing members. Dr. Heemin Kwon, an executive vice president at Samsung, will serve as HANA's first president. He said HANA will be a cross-industry effort with members from each of the impacted HD industries, and is sort of milestone for industry alliances because its priorities "are starting in the living room," not the office.

Some of the alliance's goals seem well worth the effort, such as simplifying the ability to view, pause and record HD anywhere in the home using just one set-top box. Yet other technical issues that HANA is working on may offer a bit technology than many consumers would care to employ--for example giving users the ability to view, pause and record at least five HD channels simultaneously without video degradation.

HANA-compliant products will include HD sets, Blu-ray and/or HD DVD players, DVRs, STBs and home theaters. The first commercial products are expected to be available at CES2007 a year from next month. HANA said it is in discussions with the CEA, CableLabs, MPAA, ATSC, and the 1394 Trade Association. In the first half of 2006, HANA plans to work directly with the Advanced Access Content System (AACS), Open Media Commons and other digital rights management groups.