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The iTV, due in the first half of 2007, will let consumers stream movies or music to televisions. It will sell for US$299 and works with Macs and PCs. Apple says it will have 802.11 wireless built in, but hasn't said which version of 802.11. Most folks are expecting 802.11n, which is is expected to drive Wi-Fi uptake into core digital living room devices such as digital TVs and set top boxes, according to In-Stat's research.
There are great expectations abound for this next step in wireless LAN technology. It promises up to 600Mbps, virtually unheard of for a wireless technology of any kind. 802.11b/g wireless networking hardware includes Apple AirPort and AirPort Express Base Stations. 802.11b and 802.11g standards use the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) band. 802.11n builds upon previous 802.11 standards by adding MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output). MIMO uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to allow for increased data throughput through spatial multiplexing and increased range. The one possible kink to iTV's use of 802.11n: according to the IEEE 802.11 Working Group Project Timelines, the 802.11n standard is not due for final approval until July 2007.
Even with sub-10 percent attach rates expected for set top boxes and digital TVs in 2010, Wi-Fi-enabled shipments in these device segments are still expected to number in the millions. RecentIn-Stat research found that:
Â°Â Digital Rights Management, combined with a lack of consumer understanding around multimedia home networking, may continue to hinder Wi-Fi's uptake into CE devices designed to access and/or distribute online content.
Â°Â Although Wi-Fi offers networking capabilities not provided by wireless Personal Area Network (PAN) technologies, there are some device segments -- such as digital video camcorders, digital still cameras and printers -- where Wi-Fi faces technology competitors such as the emerging Wireless USB.
Â°Â Handheld game shipments with embedded Wi-Fi are expected to reach 28 million units in 2006. Gaming consoles with embedded Wi-Fi are expected to ramp up to approximately 5 million by the end of 2006, driven by the fourth quarter release of Sonyâ€™s PlayStation 3 and Nintendoâ€™s Wii.
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