updated 11:55 am EDT, Tue August 5, 2008
CEA Mulls MP3 Standards
The Consumer Electronics Association is considering implementing technical standards for handhelds and other home electronics, according to an announcement late yesterday. The organization says it has formed a discussion group that would gauge interest in a cross-platform standard that would ensure digital cameras, GPS navigators, MP3 players, and video screens all obey a certain minimum standard for integrating with other devices in the home.
The CEA isn't yet willing to describe the full nature of the possible standard but would require that devices all integrate in a similar way with audio and video home theater equipment as well as in-car mapping and media systems. Creating a common standard would potentially spike interest in these devices as customers would know that one piece of electronics would work properly with a given accessory, according to CEA VP Brian Markwalter.
It's unclear as to whether this would force hardware changes or would be limited to software.
The private group doesn't say when it would anticipate such a standard taking effect but will hold its first meeting on the subject in late October and is opening it to any company or individual person with a formal interest in creating a standard.
Critics of the current portable device industry have frequently complained about the proprietary nature of most devices' connections to peripherals as well as their integration with networks. Company-only ports such as Apple's Dock Connector for iPhones and iPods limit expansion only to specific devices, while media streaming standards such as DLNA or Windows Media Extender often require separate support and are often used primarily by a key backer of the standard. DLNA is most commonly found in Sony products, while Windows Media is used by Windows and the Xbox 360.