The most surprising offering at CES? Lots of HomePlug and powerline networking products: Several companies and the HomePlug Alliance were demonstrating the latest in high-speed over-home-electrical-wiring networking. My scoop from the show? The HomePlug Alliance told me that the board had just released its ratified HomePlug AV--a 200 Mbps spec--to members, which can now finalize chip designs and start building systems. At the alliance booth, chipmaker Intellon had a demonstration of HD signals running across a pseudo network using pre-release chips.
Other booths around the show had non-standard but backward compatible powerline offerings at 85 Mbps from vendors that plan to upgrade to HomePlug AV in the future, but possible not for another year. One firm, DS2, was showing its own flavor of powerline that isn't compatible with HomePlug past or future at 200 Mbps.
The head of the HomePlug Alliance, Jim Reeber, said that several chipmakers will produce HomePlug AV chips, while competing powerline technologies are supported by single chipmakers. He believed this would enhance the HomePlug approach because manufacturers would have several vendors to choose among for chips, producing more competition and lowering cost.