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Manufacturers Offer a Taste of MoCA

Alliance wants to spread the gospel of coax

WASHINGTON

Several major consumer electronics manufacturers recently announced the formation of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), which intends to use the coaxial cable already built into homes as a major conduit between entertainment devices.

MoCA will create specifications for a new high-speed interface that can share data among devices such as DVD players, TVs, set-top boxes, digital video recorders and MP3 players. The organization will also certify products that meet the specification.

Although some manufacturers have proprietary connections that can be used to interconnect equipment from one manufacturer, the goal of MoCA is to create an open specification that uses standard 75-Ohm coaxial cable and F-connectors to pass data among a wide range of components. MoCA makes the case that there are powerful advantages for this new interconnection protocol.

"MoCA... can securely connect the most advanced entertainment, wireless and computer devices in the home without the need for new wiring or connections," said Ladd Wardani, president of MoCA.

The members of MoCA include large consumer electronics manufacturers such as Panasonic and Toshiba, as well as companies that have expertise in networking and communications, such as Motorola and Cisco Systems. Other members include retailer RadioShack, signal providers such as Comcast and EchoStar, and integrated circuit provider Entropic.

The concept behind MoCA is that it will use commonly available 75-Ohm coax cable and F-connectors to interconnect the components and extend the reach of signals and control capability. An 802.11g "Wi-Fi" device with a MoCA port could provide interactive capability with a laptop computer anywhere in a home, giving the user control over DVD playback or the ability to sign up for a pay-per-view program.

MoCA will coexist with cable TV and broadcast signals already on the coax cable and use the cable's wide bandwidth to add additional services around a consumer's home. The transmission of these new services will be in a digital format and will support HDTV.

Fujio Nakajima, senior vice president of Panasonic AVC Networks, said that MoCA will offer, "high speed transmission of multiple diverse HDTV video content, data and voice communications throughout the home."

"We expect that MoCA-certified products will be available in the third or fourth quarter of 2004, starting with adapters and expanding to integrated devices," Wardani said.

The Consumer Electronics Association was also high on MoCA's goals.

"We think it's wonderful," said Matt Swanston, spokesman for the CEA. "Anything that makes it easier for consumers to use their equipment is good for the consumer and good for the industry."

Bob Kovacs is the former Technology Editor for TV Tech and editor of Government Video. He is a long-time video engineer and writer, who now works as a video producer for a government agency. In 2020, Kovacs won several awards as the editor and co-producer of the short film "Rendezvous."