CEATEC NEWS: Streaming gets real with 1Gbps internet access
Everywhere at the CEATEC 2008 show the talk is of networking, streaming and new ways of accessing content. And the whole concept of IPTV - telly delivered over the internet, both live and on demand - just got more real in Japan with the launch of 1Gbps internet access for the home.
It became available from October 1 from telecommunications provider KDDI, under its 'au' brand, and packages start from around £25 a month.
While UK users consider themselves lucky if they have 20mbps access, and most broadband offerings are comfortably in the sub-10Mbps sector, here in Japan it's quite possible to have 100Mbps service in the home.
KDDI is upping that speed by an order of magnitude, and offering this new 'fat pipe' as the total means of home communication and entertainment.
Consumers opting for the complete solution can get internet, telephony and TV for under £45 a month, and can also get the au Box (illustrated).
This device combines TV decoder, CD/DVD player and interface for a wide range of popular mobile phones - also available from au, of course! - and allows music and movies to be downloaded, and services such as ringtones to be accessed.
It also has its own amp and speakers built-in, making it very much the modern connected mini-system alternative.
But the most exciting thing about these super-fast internet speeds is that getting high-quality content is no longer a matter of waiting for a download. At 1Gbps, streaming becomes a reality.
And the backroom people at KDDI are working on increasing data speeds around the home, too: as part of an R&D display they were showing high-speed infrared transmission, able to link home devices and, of course the mobile phone.
How fast does that run? 1Gbps, naturally, with the claim that a 100MB file can be copied in just 0.8seconds. Bluetooth, meanwhile, would take almost four and a half minutes to shift the same amount of data, the KDDI boffins point out helpfully.