An alternative to PC-centric whole-house content sharing
By Nancy Klosek
While some companies are busy plotting product strategies that center on building upward and outward from the Media Center platform, other solutions are being presented in the market that take different paths: a structured-cabling path, for one.
LE&AP (the Leviton Entertainment & Applications Platform) is the result of a collaboration between well-known custom industry brand Leviton and Dedicated Devices, Inc. (DDi), a digital networking enterprise founded two years ago by former Micron Electronics executives.
Characterized by Leviton as an "entertainment server that bridges computers and consumer electronics in the home," LE&AP is designed to take advantage of homes' existing structured-cabling systems.
"There are about a million structured-cabling systems added to the economy a year, with over 60 percent of builders now doing structured cabling," says Mark Cerasuolo, director of brand development at Leviton.
"We're now at the point where, by 2008, there will be 10 million structured-wiring 'cans' in place, and most of them in existence right now are two-thirds empty, with a lot of expansion capability. They were just waiting for someone to come along and load in the next generation of digital entertainment."
Enter the LE&AP system, which Cerasuolo describes as "not a computer, but an appliance that the homeowner never has to see. He just accesses its functions with a remote and then calls it a day.
"If you look at the digital server market out there," observes Cerasuolo, "there are, maybe, 35 companies in it, maybe more. The commonality is that all want to move music out of PCs to places where people want to use music. What's driving it is that ordinary people are amassing libraries of digital content—even my mother is ripping CDs! People have huge quantities of music and photos. Last year, there were more digital cameras sold than film cameras, for the first time. Then there's video on the internet. One of the biggest applications is kids downloading movie trailers and collecting them.