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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 17:24 GMT
The next steps for mobile media
Chris Long
By Chris Long
Click reporter

It is getting easier and easier to distribute your music, films and pictures around the home. But what if you want to go further afield?

Internet radio
Using wi-fi, music can be downloaded onto music players

What if you want to start using all these really small devices we are carrying in our pockets to take your data with you?

Music on the move is not new. Ever since the tape cassette walkman gave way to the MP3 player it has been simple to take our songs around with us.

But now we're being given even more freedom.

Wireless technologies are opening up new possibilities to access music on the move.

"I think you'll find 2007 is going to be an exciting year for people to take everything that they normally enjoy in the living room on the road," said Keith Washo of memory technology company SanDisk.

New MP3 players and phones, for example, can access music downloads stores directly without the need for a computer or cable, whilst others can tap into internet radio channels. Both developments open up a whole new world of wireless listening.

All the time we are seeing neater and funkier hand-held devices, but it is our desire to access pictures on the move that is pushing developments.

A prototype device from SanDisk, shown at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, allows you to copy your video, films or home movies on to it and plug it into a friend's TV to watch.

It even has its own remote control. It will be out in the next couple of months.

Digital locks

So as we approach the next act in this technology play, what about accessing your entertainment files while they are still on your PC at home?

It can beam your media to you wherever you are, and you can receive it on anything that's got a browser
Joe Costello, Orb

"Today, digital media is pretty much locked up in your personal computer, and it very rarely escapes," explained Orb Networks CEO Joe Costello.

"But people don't want to consume things on their personal computer, in general they want to consume it elsewhere - at work, on the laptop on the road, on their friend's PC, or their PDA, their cell phone or their TV screen."

That idea is epitomised by the company's Orb program.

Slingbox sends your home TV signal to any computer

"Orb is a free piece of software that you download onto your home computer, wherever you put your digital media," said Mr Costello.

"That software turns that machine into a little personal broadcasting system, simple as that.

"It can beam your media to you wherever you are, and you can receive it on anything that's got a browser."

So the question: "Can we take our home entertainment out of house?" has been answered with a resounding "Yes".

But for those that do not like the environmental footprint and security implications of an always-on PC there is the Slingbox.

"The straightforward concept of Sling is to be able to watch and control your home TV wherever you are. We've also recently launched a mobile product, so you can access your home TV over your mobile phone," said Slingmedia co-founder Jason Krikorian.

"Ultimately it supports all of the navigation around your home TV that you're used to, so you can just press one on your keyboard and it changes the channel to BBC One."

So now it is possible to view and listen to our media on the move, it begs the question - is there anything good on?

Connecting the digital home
13 Jan 07 |  Click

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