From home server to multimedia cell phone

"Innovative Consumer Electronics" symposium with details about future trends in the industry / CE as the driving force behind the home networks market

In between the two -yearly Funkausstellung the "Innovative Consumer Electronics" Forum is one of the most important and exciting sources of information for all those opinion -formers in the media, politics and business who are in search of information about the latest trends in technology, products and the market in this industry.


When the participants in this year's Forum assemble on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds on 2 September they will be able to experience innovations in consumer electronics in a setting that places the development prospects for this sector of industry in a wide -ranging context. For the second time the organisers, the CE and communication electronics association Gesellschaft fr Unterhaltungs - und Kommunikationselektronik (gfu) in collaboration with the Consumer Electronics Division of the electrical/electronics industry federation ZVEI, will be integrating their technical forum "Innovative Consumer Electronics" in the programme of the three -day trade fair and congress e/home.

This documents one of the main trends in this sector: networked home electronics. DVD players, home cinema receivers, special media servers and clients, and the use of wireless and wired networks to exchange entertainment programmes with one another and with computers and to communicate with the internet were the main focus of public interest at the IFA 2003. They will soon become a central component of the "Intelligent House", using shared networks to support functions such as home automation, security or the control of domestic appliances. Consumer electronics is set for fresh expansion, which in turn will trigger increased growth and more customer satisfaction. And this will push the boundaries of technology even further, but the pleasant and relaxing "living room atmosphere" of consumer electronics will remain a decisive factor. Using numerous actual examples, the exhibition section of the forum will illustrate how consumer electronics with networking capabilities can be perfectly integrated in the networked home.

The technical and product concepts of such appliances will also be covered in the programme of papers. One of these contributions, for example, will deal specifically with Home Servers, as a central archiving system for audio, video and multimedia content, which can be made available throughout the house by means of the home network. This demonstrates the advantages of the specific expertise that consumer electronics manufacturers can bring to such solutions:

• audio and video processing of outstanding quality,
• simple, ergonomically perfect controls,
• the interaction between hardware and software, functioning reliably, without making users wait until the equipment gets up to full operating speed, and without crashing.

The importance of the latest flat screens for displaying multimedia content from every conceivable digital source has increased dramatically. A number of contributions to the forum are devoted to this new and extremely dynamic market. Highly qualified speakers from manufacturing companies which are major players in the development of displays will be available with information about the latest key technologies such as plasma, LCD and OLED and will take part in discussions about their respective applications. The various different flat screen designs have one thing in common: with their superior display capabilities they are already capable of being used with the next generation of programme sources, one example being high definition television HDTV. Some television programmes are already being produced in this high definition format. High definition cameras will be used for coverage of such major sporting events such as the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2006 Football World Cup. So when can we expect the leading European television companies to start beaming HDTV pictures into our homes? This question will be addressed by one of the papers at the forum, which will also explain the various tasks that will have to be tackled in terms of standardisation and market development.

Not only will the television of the future offer improved quality, but we can also expect to see greater convergence with telecommunication network services. Television will then become more mobile and interactive, offering enhanced enjoyment. The DVB -H standard offers a transmission technology that has been designed in particular to meet the requirements of small, battery -powered receivers, one example being provided by the technical possibilities inherent in multimedia cell phones. The first DVB -H trials will begin in Berlin this summer and the equipment manufacturers have already developed suitable hand -held receivers, which are now ready to go into mass production. These and similar initiatives form part of the programme of the "Go Mobile" working group, which has been created by the Consumer Electronics Division of the trade association ZVEI, as an interdisciplinary forum for promoting the convergence of digital broadcasting and telecommunications. The programme of papers at the forum will be rounded off by a fascinating report on the work of "Go mobile", with numerous practical examples.

The "Innovative Consumer Electronics" Forum will take place on 2 September from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. It is being organised by Gesellschaft fr Unterhaltungs - und Kommunikationselektronik (gfu) in collaboration with the Consumer Electronics Division of the ZVEI.

Journalists can obtain their accreditation from Roland M. Stehle, gfu Press and Public Relations Department (e -mail: stehle@gfu.de).

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