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< Press Release >
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May 14, 1998

Hitachi, Ltd.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
Philips Electronics
Sharp Corporation
Sony Corporation
Thomson Multimedia S.A.
Toshiba Corporation

Eight Consumer Electronics Companies Release
Home Audio/Video Interoperability (HAVi) Core Specification
for Networking Digital AV Appliances

(May 14, 1998) GRUNDIG A.G., Hitachi, Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic), Philips Electronics N.V., Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Thomson Multimedia S.A. and Toshiba Corporation today announced that a core home networks specification for AV electronics appliances has been compiled for release to interested companies. The 8 companies plan to actively promote the HAVi (Home Audio-Video interoperability) core specification as a home network standard for the AV electronics and multimedia industries.

The remarkable growth of the digital AV market in recent years has made it apparent that the time will come when users will find it necessary to be able to connect their digital AV appliances to create home entertainment networks. For different brands of AV electronics appliances to be interconnected and interoperated, each appliance must incorporate middleware that contains certain software elements common to all appliances on the network. The core open home network specification defines these elements, their roles, and their functions. In addition, it ensures that the software elements of different appliances will work together.

Home networks comprised of AV appliances which incorporate the core open home network specification will provide users with the convenience of the following:

A) Plug-and-Play Connectivity
Users will be able to create a home network simply by connecting various electronics appliances through their digital interfaces, such as the IEEE1394. If a user wants to add a new appliance to or remove an appliance from the network, he or she can do so without adjusting any settings because the appliances would be able to communicate, recognize changes in the network configuration, and automatically make adjustments to the network settings without interrupting the functioning of the network.

B) Appliance Interoperability
Not only would users be able to interconnect and interoperate AV electronics appliances based on this specification, but in the future it will also be possible for appliances on the network to share functionality. This means that any one appliance could make use of the functions and capabilities of the many different appliances connected to the network.

C) Future-proof Appliances
Once appropriate applications software is developed, electronics appliances incorporating these specifications will be able to share functionality. This means that consumers will be able to import functions from newly purchased appliances into appliances purchased earlier as long as both appliances incorporate the HAVi specification.

The main software elements included in the core specification are described below. (For a more detailed explanation of these elements, please see the attached page.)

1) 1394 Communications Media Manager (CMM) - acts as an interface between the other software elements and the IEEE1394.

2) Event Manager (EM) - informs the various software elements of events in the network such as the changes in the network configuration that occur when appliances are added or removed from the network.

3) Registry - maintains information about the appliances connected to the network and the functions they offer. Applications can obtain this information from the registry.

4) Messaging System (MS) - serves as an API (Application Programming Interface) that facilitates communication between the software elements of the various appliances on the network.

5) Device Control Module (DCM) - represents an appliance on the network. Applications programs can interact directly with a DCM. This shields them from the idiosyncrasies of each individual appliance.

6) DCM Manager - Installs the DCMs. It automatically reacts to changes in the network by installing new DCMs for new appliances

7) Data Driven Interaction (DDI) Controller - renders a GUI (Graphical User Interface) on a appliance's display on behalf of a HAVi software element. It supports a wide range of displays, varying from graphical to text-only.

8) Stream Manager (SMGR) - creates connections and routes real-time AV streams between two or more appliances on the network.

Grundig, Hitachi, Matsushita, Philips, Sharp, Sony, Thomson and Toshiba plan to promote the HAVi core specification broadly as an open standard not only for the AV electronics industry, but for the entire multimedia industry as well.

The HAVi core specification is available at the following web-sites for evaluation purposes only. *this link is no longer active and a revised page does not exist. *this link is no longer active and a revised page does not exist. *this link is no longer active and a revised page does not exist. *this link is no longer active and a revised page does not exist.

The release of the HAVi core specification does not convey an implied or express license to make or distribute any product under any patent right, copyright or any other intellectual property right protecting any part of the HAVi core specification. Details regarding the licensing of the HAVi core specification or any update thereof will be made available in early October 1998.

APPENDIX: Specifications Outline

1394 Communications Media Manager (CMM) - interfaces with IEEE1394 to provide services to other HAVi software elements or application programs which reside in the same appliance as the CMM.

The CMM provides two types of services: (1) it provides a transport mechanism for sending requests to and receiving indications from remote devices, and (2) it abstracts the bus activities and presents the resulting information to the HAVi system.

Event Manager (EM) - a service that enables software elements to post a record of specific events (such as changes in the network configuration) and subscribe to reports of such records. The Event Manager is responsible for delivering reports of each posted event to all of the elements subscribing to it.

Specifically, when appliances are added to or removed from the network, the EM reports these changes to each appliance on the network. This allows for the convenience of "hot" plug-and-play connectivity.

Registry - records the attributes of the software elements of all appliances on the network. By checking the registry, an appliance can locate and recognize the essential software elements of other devices on the network. This makes it possible for the different appliances to interoperate.

Messaging System (MS) - is responsible for transferring messages between software elements in a location transparent way. ( i.e. the sender and receiver are not aware of which appliance in the network they are located.)

Device Control Module (DCM) - offers a model of a device on the network. Applications interact directly with a DCM, not the device itself. The DCM offers a proper API, and shields applications from idiosyncrasies of the individual devices. This enables each appliance on the network to recognize the functions of the other devices on the network, and it enables these functions to be controlled from a remote location.

DCM Manager - controls the installation of DCMs for various devices in the network. It automatically reacts to changes in the network by installing new DCMs for new devices. It allows for continuous appliance operation even during network reconfigurations, and it accepts user-preferred settings for DCM installation.

Data Driven Interaction (DDI) Controller - renders a GUI (Graphical User Interface) on a appliance's display based on the GUI data provided by a HAVi software element such as a DCM. The GUI data contains sufficient information to produce a GUI on a wide range of displays, varying from graphical to text-only. The DDI supports user interaction with the appliance.

Stream Manager (SMGR) - provides a service for establishing end-to-end real-time AV stream connections. Connections may be between two or more appliances. The Stream Manager is responsible for the configuration of both internal (within a device) and external (between devices) connections. It also requests and releases network resources and provides global connection information, and it supports reconnection after the network resets.