The Next Big Thing
If you are building or updating your home entertainment system and a new HDTV is on your shopping list, you are
focused on the size of the set and a list of important features (number of HDMI connections, native resolution, etc.).
The one additional thing you may want to look at on your HDTV (or for that matter, PVR, AV receiver,
Home-Theater-in-a-Box, etc.), is an RJ45 port. That’s right, an Ethernet
(RJ45) port. The mere mention of terms like Ethernet, LAN,
NAS or DHCP
probably has you thinking about computers, if you are at all familiar with these terms. But as the lines between consumer
electronics and computers continue to blur, these terms are not only reserved for MACs, PCs and UNIX boxes, they are more
and more becoming part of the language of HDTV and other consumer electronics products.
Pioneer, Toshiba and HP have been sporting Ethernet ports on various HDTV models in their respective 2007 line-ups.
Industry heavyweight Samsung has begun to include Ethernet ports on their 2008 Series 6 and 7 models. So, you may want
to ensure that your next HDTV set (or any other device) has an RJ45 port to allow you to take advantage of the next big
thing in home entertainment. The next big thing in home entertainment is seamless access to all of your digital content.
A collaborative effort that began in 2003 known as DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), is about to move to center
stage in the home entertainment market. If you are unfamiliar with DNLA, then you may want to read this background article.
In a nutshell, the goal of DLNA is to achieve seamless interpretability between all digital devices in the home, using a home
What the Ethernet port provides is a way to access digital content, stored on your PC, NAS (Network Attached Server) or
even the internet directly from your HDTV (or other devices) in real time. If you have digital pictures stored on your PC, all of the current
DLNA sets will allow you to find and display the content on your HDTV across your home network. The HP SL4778N and SL4278N,
allow you to play DivX movies stored on your computer directly to the set, and also provide the ability to utilize
DivX Video-on-Demand (VOD) services directly. The InfoLink service on the Samsung series 6 and series 7 HDTVs, allows
you to view RSS feeds of news, weather and stock market information in pop-up windows over top of your regular HDTV
What we are beginning to see is the vanishing of Digital silos. Devices like televisions which once only presented
content like your weekly evening sitcom, are being transformed into portals capable of accessing and presenting any form
of digital content.
Ethernet is a local-area network (LAN) architecture that was developed in the 1970s by Robert Metcalfe
and David Boggs of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. The current application of the technology facilitates
the transmission of data packets (1s and 0s), over “twisted pair” wires.
Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that facilitates the transmission of digital data using radio
A NAS (network-attached storage) is a file storage device that is directly attached to a network to provide
file sharing services to the network.
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is technology that allows specific configuration information,
such as an IP address, to be assigned to networked devices. The IP address is a way to uniquely identify
devices for the purpose of forwarding data to it. Other information that is typically configured using DHCP
are the gateway address (an address that messages go through when they are destined for a different network),
and the DNS (Domain Name System) server address. The DNS server is like the phone book and 411 operator of
the network rolled into one.