Denon and Onkyo Sign with Digital Harmony

FireWire's prospects got a little hotter last week, as equipment manufacturers Denon Electronics and Onkyo announced new license agreements with Digital Harmony Technologies. The companies say that they have selected Digital Harmony to add standards-based IEEE-1394 (aka FireWire or iLink) interfaces to their product lines, and both companies expect to release Digital Harmony-powered products in 2000, each certified for compatibility with a number of 1394-based products made by other Digital Harmony partners in the US and Europe.

According to Denon and Onkyo, prototypes of the first devices will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2000, running in the Reference System at Digital Harmony's booth. Onkyo's Kenji Tetsuyama predicts that "at CES we will demonstrate that, enhanced by Digital Harmony's 1394 interface modules and system software, Onkyo products will deliver on the promise of high-bandwidth home-entertainment systems."

On behalf of Denon, Kazuharu Zama states "we make it a point of being early to market with innovations. . . . Digital Harmony enables our product-development teams to bring interoperable 1394-based products to market much more quickly than developing the products in-house." Denon adds that the company's planned Digital Harmony-certified A/V products will highlight its deliberate expansion into digital product categories.

Digital Harmony claims that its standard 1394-based interface is "gaining momentum" in the consumer-electronics industry from manufacturers interested in adding the plug-and-play interface to their products. The company also adds that its modules can link up to 63 home-entertainment devices through a single, high-bandwidth cable connection. Ted Inoue of ArchTech, Digital Harmony's Japanese sales representative, says that "Digital Harmony-powered devices are guaranteed to operate with other certified devices in a home-entertainment system. The Digital Harmony technology provides a neutral, unbiased advantage over manufacturer-owned 1394 technologies. IEEE-1394 is happening today, and Digital Harmony is honored to bring it to manufacturers in Japan."