Nokia bets on Linux for home networks

The gloves are off as Nokia says Sky and its kin are hobbling the digital TV market

Telecoms giant Nokia has attacked Sky and other digital content providers, claiming their use of proprietary technology is holding up the market for converged digital TV and Internet services. The solution says Nokia, is in open source, which will drive the uptake of networks in the home.

Putting its money where its mouth is, Nokia announced its home networking product strategy Thursday, with its prototype digital Media Terminal -- much like a set top box -- running Linux and the Mozilla browser. The prototype is being developed by the newly formed Nokia Home Communications division set up to develop products and services for home appliances connected to wireless LANs.

Nokia Home Communications' product range will consist of:

  • Home Gateways to receive and distribute Internet and media content throughout the home

  • Software and services developed for the home

  • Media terminals to act as a home communication centre

The media terminals run on open standards, which Nokia believes is crucial for the technology to succeed. Heikki Koskin, vice president and general manager for Nokia Home Communications, was scathing in his attack on Sky and others for hobbling the dtv market through their use of proprietary standards. "This is one of the biggest bottlenecks to why dtv is not doing better," he says. "The market must be driven towards IP-based open standards."

Sky was bemused. "I would categorise Nokia's comments as odd," a spokesman says. "We now have 2.6 million subscribers and we're hardly inhibiting our competitors as we're giving away free kit, as are OnDigital." Asked if Sky would consider following open source standards in the future, the spokesman says, "We're developing new boxes and technology and we're not ruling anything out, and we certainly won't rule out talking to Nokia about providing content and services. They should talk to our engineers."

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