Two giants of the personal computer world are trying to make it simpler to move PCs from the desk to the living room.
Intel Corp., the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, and Compaq Corp., the biggest maker of PCs, are teaming up with major electronics companies to develop standards for big-screen entertainment devices known as PC Theatre.
Their hope is to have compatible products that will enable consumers to hook up to a system that controls home entertainment products from television to digital video disc players and stereo systems.
The devices also will let users browse the Internet, play video games, and communicate over phone networks.
Joining in the effort are electronics companies like Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Philips Electronics NV, and Thomson Consumer Electronics.
PC Theater is expected to compete with state-of-the art home theater systems, which use bigscreen TVs and sophisticated audio technology to create a “surround sound” effect.
But before that happens, PC makers and electronics companies must create a set of standards that ensures compatibility and enables the devices to be hooked up easily by the average user.
The PC Theatre devices are expected to cost up to $5,000 initially.
Philips and Sony Electronics Inc. already are selling a device called WebTV for browsing the Internet on a television. But the set-top box, which sells for as little as $325, does not have the storage ability or computing power of a PC.
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