Electronic Design

Home Of The Future: Totally Connected With Seamless Access

As we move from analog to digital, wired to wireless, and fixed to mobile, success in the consumer electronics industry centers on the concept of the "Connected Home." Electronics manufacturers must deliver easy, seamless access to content demanded by consumers through technologies that can speak to one another within the home and in the outside world. Key technologies, such as broadband, wireless connectivity, and digital television, are the main players.

When it comes to the chip industry, one main trend has emerged to drive this opportunity. As the world moves headlong into the digital domain, the semiconductor content of consumer electronic devices rises in tandem. Take, for example, the portable audio cassette music player of yesteryear versus the digital music (MP3) players of today. Potentiometers, LEDs, and tapes have given way to digital controls, LCD-based graphic displays, and flash- or disk-based storage systems.

As we look out into the near future, three application areas within the consumer electronics space are poised for growth—flat-panel displays, optical storage, and connectivity. As CRTs cede to flat panels, displays are taking on new roles in consumers' homes. These devices are supporting interactive games and even Web browsing. The new form factor of flat, high-resolution and portable displays will increase the number of displays in the home.

Optical storage, combined with magnetic storage, will become central to the consumer's digital lifestyles. Personal video recorders, home media servers, and DVD recorders satisfy the demand for customizing and archiving content.

Finally, seamless connectivity is essential for all products in the Connected Home, both wired and wireless. Whether it's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, or other emerging networking protocols, increased semiconductor content will ensure that connectivity solutions are secure, reliable, and easy to use.

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