Cloud services complicate home networking push

John C. Tanner
24 Jun 2011

The home networking paradigm is becoming increasingly complex thanks to the rise of cloudhosted content and the growing need for open-access DRM standards across multiple devices, experts said Thursday.

With industry hype growing around streaming content services like Netflix, YouTube and Rhapsody, and content-hosting services like Apple’s iCloud – all of which tout the ability of users to access content via multiple devices – the traditional paradigm of home networks is arguably changing, said Jim Williams , president of consultancy Media Strategies and Solutions.

“Typically a home network is defined as where content is resident in your home and you can move it around between devices within that home, and you can watch it without necessarily being connected to the internet,” he said. “Is that what home networking is still going to be, or is it going to be the cloud, where it’s not about moving content around from device to device but enabling devices to connect to wherever it resides?”

Alvin Lee, Asia Pacific executive director for international relations and public policy at Time Warner, said that content can reside in both the home network and in the cloud, but that “it’s up to the customers to decide where they want their content hosted.”

Intertrust VP Shawn Ambwani said it would depend on the network, the business models and how people consume content.

“For something like Netflix, for example, it’s in the cloud, but you have to be connected to watch it, and it has to be a good connection, otherwise it’s useless and has no value,” he said. “If you want to watch a movie from iTunes, you have to download it first and that takes awhile.”

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