Cisco Systems Inc. is providing the cable modem for a new
consumer device aimed at feeding broadband content to noncomputer devices such as
televisions, home stereos and videocassette recorders.
Panja -- a Dallas-based maker of automation-control
systems, formerly called AMX Corp. -- also said it is in discussions with
cable-modem-service providers, which, along with telephone or satellite companies, would
provide broadband connections from the gateway to streaming Internet video and audio and
"What we're really focusing on is what consumers are
demanding more of, which is getting this enriched content off the Internet and instead of
it going to their PC [personal computer], it gets to the system of choice, which is
typically their TV or stereo," Panja vice president of marketing Charlene Rogers
Although audio will be the initial marketing focus, Panja
believes that as more hardware is developed, enabling existing mainstream consumer
electronics to use Internet content like MP3 music files, content providers will create
more and more sites like Broadcast.com Inc. aimed at offering large databases of
downloadable video, as well.
The "Panja 1000" entertainment-gateway device is
based on the company's "Entertainment Processing Level 3" solution, which
selects and decodes MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group), RealAudio, RealVideo and MP3
streams taken from the Internet via an external Cisco standards-based modem, co-branded
The company is working with Cisco to develop an embedded
modem for the gateway, based on the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification.
Another device, the "2000," also enables remote
control of home-automation capabilities such as thermostat or lighting adjustments or
viewing of security cameras, either from the home or over the Internet.
Besides the hardware, Panja plans subscription services
that, for a monthly fee, will provide the actual connectivity between Internet streaming
data and home TVs or stereos; online remote access to home-control systems, such as
burglar alarms and thermostats; and "narrowcasting" of information such as news
or local traffic from the Internet to LCD (liquid crystal display) keypads or wireless
touch screens located in the home.
Panja also announced an agreement with Internet portal
Infoseek Corp. for access to streaming and static content from the portal's GO Network
Rogers said Panja was leveraging its 17 years of experience
in automation and control systems for large enterprise applications and home systems,
noting that the company has worked with some 22,000 different home devices.
The 1000 has a list price of about $2,500, while the 2000's
pricing will be announced at a later date. Rogers said the product will initially be sold
through service providers such as MSOs, as well as directly from its Web site.
"We're giving companies a compelling reason to market
cable modems," she said. "There's been talk of what broadband does, but it's
been focused on data speeds. What it hasn't been focused on is bringing data to devices
other than the PC."