AfterDawn: Tech news

Gateway releases WLAN-capable DVD player

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 27 Jun 2003 16:48

PC manufacturer Gateway has launched several non-PC products during the last couple of months, trying desperately to turn the company profitable again. The company's latest consumer electronics product is a stand-alone DVD player that includes 802.11b compatible WLAN access.
Through 802.11b connection, the player can retrieve MP3s and images from the local wireless network, i.e. from desktop PC's shared directories. Unfortunately the current wireless technology makes the connection bit too slow for video usage and therefore the device doesn't contain an option to watch DVDs that are stored within the local network over the wireless connection. For MPEG-4, the 11Mbps (actually more like 5Mbps) that 802.11b provides, would be suitable, but the device doesn't have an MPEG-4 decoder (and those higher bitrate MPEG-4 movies wouldn't be able to stream realtime anyway if the network would have other traffic taking the bandwidth or have other performance issues).

I've personally promoted the fact that wireless Net connectivity will change virtually everything in the multimedia within next couple of years and see this device as a first baby-step towards "dummy devices" that simply connect to Net wherever user happens to be and streams the video or audio as it would come from radio or TV, just with global selection and without time schedules.

The device, called Gateway Connected DVD Player, will be available on next week in States and costs $249.


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