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Need for Digital Home Device Standards

The headaches of home networks have entertainment's future on pause -- The much-hyped digital living room that promises to connect all entertainment systems wirelessly isn�t ready for mass adoption, tech experts said at an industry conference.

One big problem thwarting the spread of home media centers and other devices is that tech companies can�t agree on standards, said the panelists, addressing audience members who had paid thousands of dollars to attend an iHollywood conference entitled �Digital Living Room 2005� in Foster City, California, about 20 miles south of San Francisco.

The tech industry is forcing its products on a market that isn�t ready, said Van Baker, an analyst with research firm Gartner. Despite growing sales of media center PCs, �very few of those are actually in the living room,� according to Mr. Baker. Instead, consumers are using the devices as media-focused personal computers.

�What you need here is people sitting around a table willing to redefine standards, willing to give up the proprietary advantage they think they get,� said Don Norman, co-founder and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group. �That�s the problem: it�s a business issue, not a technical issue.�

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