Powerline networks have promise

There’s no question about it; hanging your big flat panel HDTV on the wall is really cool. One of the main obstacles for doing this, however, is the question of what to do with all the wires. It’s expensive and/or difficult to run signal cables through the wall. You can use those handy wire channels, but they’re not an ideal solution, either.

One immutable factor is that you’ll need to get power to the HDTV, and that’s where powerline networking comes in. A number of companies and associations are promoting the idea of using the electrical wiring in your house to carry data. A press release from Corinex Communications today announces their AV200 Powerline Ethernet Wall Mount F product. You can plug one unit into your broadband router, and then use another anywhere in the house to connect an Internet device — such as a computer or television — to the Internet. The list price is $124 per unit, and when you start adding up the price of running cables, this starts to look like a real bargain. Any power outlet becomes a network node.

The press release says that the network can transmit data at 200 Mbps, which is about 10 times the rate required for broadcast HDTV signals. So it should be able to handle HDTV streams with no problem.

We’re not at the point where getting your cable or satellite video over a home network is as easy as connecting directly to a TV, but devices like Slingbox and others are getting us there in a hurry. And soon, more and more people will want to gain access to the good quality video available over the Internet. Eventually, all video will be streamed across IP networks of some sort, making powerline home networks a practical alternative to other wired and wireless choices.