Plug 'n play in home networks

Oct 05, 2004

Today, music, images and videos are usually stored in digital form. But each medium needs its own playback device. In a networked home, different types of media can be smoothly interchanged and played back thanks to the UPnP standard.

The range of audio and video equipment in today’s homes keeps growing – digital cameras, video recorders, MP3 players, set-top boxes and game consoles. It doesn’t take long to build up a jumbled collection of audio and video data, stored on numerous devices that are frequently not compatible to one another. “UPnP – Universal Plug and Play – is a standard created by the industry for linking different devices made by different manufacturers,” explains Christian Gran of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS in Berlin. “The idea is that computers, televisions, multimedia devices and household appliances will automatically detect and communicate with one another or exchange data, without requiring complex configuration on the part of the user – simply plug and play.”

So far such arbitrary interchanging is only possible to a limited extent. A UPnP Audio / Video stack designed by developers from FOKUS and its spin-off, TwonkyVision GmbH, is already available on the market. The stack includes a media server that supports a variety of media such as music, images, videos and Internet radio. These components make it easy to put the idea of a multimedia home network into practice. It is planned that next-generation devices will be equipped with UPnP AV by their manufacturers.

Any new DVD player or game console that the user subsequently purchases will be ready for UPnP. Set-top boxes, MP3 players or video recorders will then be able to communicate, regardless of make. Another asset of the media server is that it only requires less than 150 kilobytes of memory. The user no longer needs to worry whether the file format is the right one for the playback device – the server deals with that problem. Further help is provided by a database-supported multimedia content management system, which manages and searches for music, images and videos in the UPnP network regardless of the device on which the data are stored.

In future, however, it will not only be the devices within a single home that are interlinked, but different home networks with one another. FOKUS and TwonkyVision are working on a home-to-home gateway for this purpose. Multimedia devices connected via the home-to-home gateway can then access the content from different UPnP networks. “So if I’m visiting my friends and they suddenly want to see the photos of our last vacation, I can simply use their devices to show the pictures from my server,” concludes Christian Gran.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Morphing wings help drones manage collisions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Uninvited access to security camera systems pinned down

Jan 29, 2013

(—A digital video recorder (DVR), used in homes and businesses for security, is helpful when not in the hands of criminals, The latter scenario is what is rattling some security blog and Forbes reader ...

US-CERT says Wi-Fi hole open to brute force attack

Dec 29, 2011

( -- The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued a warning about a security hole in the Wi-Fi Protected Set-up protocol for Wi-Fi routers. Security researcher Stefan Viehbock ...

The digital home: An all-in-one device

Feb 26, 2008

Cable clutter and interface problems will soon be a thing of the past. In the living room of the future, all devices are connected wirelessly and can be easily operated via the television set. Fraunhofer researchers and their ...

Free Buffalo NAS Upgrade Allows Remote Access

May 01, 2007

Buffalo Technology announced a new free Web Access feature for its LinkStation Live NAS (networked attached storage) devices on Monday, which the company says will let customers share and access their content from anywhere ...

Nokia introduced N80

Nov 02, 2005

Nokia today introduced the Nokia N80, the first ever handset to enable seamless home media networking between compatible TVs, audio systems and PCs. Weighing only 134 grams, the compact yet feature-rich 3G ...

Recommended for you

Wearable device helps vision-impaired avoid collision

31 minutes ago

People who have lost some of their peripheral vision, such as those with retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, or brain injury that causes half visual field loss, often face mobility challenges and increased likelihood ...

Yahoo boosts share buyback plan by $2 billion

47 minutes ago

Yahoo on Thursday told US regulators that it will spend another $2 billion buying back shares as the pioneering US Internet search firm continues an effort to re-invent itself.

Blue Freedom uses power of flowing water to charge

5 hours ago

Good friends may decide to tell you something that is not true but nonetheless sustaining: Nothing is impossible. That was the case of Blue Freedom co-founder who asked his friend if it would be possible ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.