AMD: We're in the Age of Glass

We should be able to see content on any device, free of DRM

AMD outlined its vision for the connected home at a special event in Milan on Monday.

Corporate vice president of sales and marketing Stephen DiFranco talked about the "huge challenge" AMD and its competitors face in enabling all the various devices in our homes to interoperate.

"It's not about products anymore, the content is king," DiFranco said, as he discussed the way our need for multiple TV has pushed a change in programming content.

Age of Glass

Under the banner 'The Age of Glass', DiFranco went on to explain how he envisioned the future. He predicted that all the monitors we look at on a daily basis - whether a TV set, computer, mobile phone or MP3 player - will be able to show the same content, without price or DRM restrictions.

"A mobile phone already identifies you wherever you are in the world. Imagine if it could also know what you wanted and when, and was able to push content through automatically when you put it into a docking station, for example," DiFranco said.

He said the mobile phone will be the most important device in your life. AMD's buyout of ATI last year was a strategic move to develop technology which will improve the performance of TVs and mobile phone displays.

DRM in the dock

DiFranco hit out against those transcoding content and adding DRM restrictions to content. He said: "You should only have to buy, rent, or borrow content once, and then be able to play it back anywhere, anytime and on any device. This is the biggest hindrance for digital homes today."

In the future, fewer devices will do more things, DiFranco predicted. "If you only need to buy one device to do many things, you'll reduce the cost of ownership," he said. He pointed towards the US, where set-top boxes double up as PVRs (personal video recorders).

But setting up a true digital home is still too complex. "It is still too difficult to work out how to transfer data or stream music around the digital home - we still don't have it worked out," DiFranco said. The concept of the digital home needs to become more streamlined, he added.

"You shouldn't have to be a technical expert in order to get it working straight away," he said.

Seamless home automation

Another vision of the digital home is for its wireless network to automatically detect devices such as your car, for example, when you approach your house. The wireless network would then automatically synch and update the gadgets you have in your car automatically, with the home network.

"You shouldn't even have to think about managing your data or syncing it between devices - this should be done seamlessly and automatically," DiFranco said.

He said AMD would be working with makers of handheld devices, gaming consoles, and digital TVs, as well as with rival computer manufacturers to achieve targets of connectivity and cross-platform performance. Energy-efficient products and improved image quality was also high on the agenda, DiFranco concluded.