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CEA mulls standards for MP3 players, more

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Chris Paveglio

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Already set

    The standard's already set. It's the iPod. Make the dock connector an IEEE standard and make Apple publish the connection protocol, and you're done.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple doesn't want it...

    Simply put, the iPod dock amounts to vendor lock-in, as it's a proprietary connector that Apple refuses to license to other MP3 player manufacturers. Apple is unlikely to change their position, as it would hurt Apple while benefitting all the other manufacturers.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This would be great, ensuring that everyone can compete on equal footing to integrate with all the electronics in our lives, from our car stereos to home entertainment gear. Enforcing industry standards for wireless music playback, cell phone call forwarding and integration, video display, media playback remote controls, etc. would help ensure a competitive marketplace which would benefit us all. Proprietary interfaces like the iPod connector and its proprietary protocols for feature access are the very antithesis of consumer choice and welfare. I would welcome pushing Apple to adopt industry standards where appropriate, such as enabling A2DB wireless stereo on devices they ship with Bluetooth antennas, standardizing the remote control protocols for accessing the media playback features of the iPod and iPhone over USB, and for using its display as an output device, so that other vendors can integrate with devices just as well as Apple can; this would give us some real competition in the marketplace, ensuring that Apple can't use their position to muscle competitors out of the market.

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