New Network Technology for the Home

"It would be really silly for any consumer electronics company to cook up their own networking standard," says McCarthy. "But the PC companies don't [take] great notice of ease of use. The technology is just a consumable commodity."

So, consumer giants such as Sony are taking a lot of the networking technology and modifying it for new consumer devices. Sony's latest device, RoomLink, for example, is a sleek videocassette-sized device that uses connects any TV to a computer using almost any current networking standard.

Todd Titera, a Sony product manager, says the design of such devices has to be "technology agnostic" since standards — and consumer needs — are constantly changing.

"One size doesn't fit all," says Titera. "We're not dictating what fits in the customer's lifestyle."

While such industry glasnost is a welcome step, some experts note it will take quite a few more years for wired homes to become commonplace.

Laura Behrens, an analyst with GartnerG2, a research firm in Stamford, Conn., says while work is being done to make home networking easier, "Everything about it is still complicated."

Behrens estimates even with full cooperation between the computer and entertainment industries, it will be at least two to five years before unified home network standards can be established.

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