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Harman International And NETGEAR To Launch Co-Branded AVB Switches At InfoComm ‘09

Harman International Industries (NYSE: HAR), a leading provider of branded audio and infotainment electronics for the home, the car, and sound professionals, today announced an agreement between its BSS division, and NETGEAR®, Inc. (NASDAQGM: NTGR), a worldwide provider of technologically innovative, branded networking solutions, to launch the world’s first AVB (IEEE Audio Video Bridge) switches for networking multichannel audio and video over standardized Ethernet. Today’s announcement, made at InfoComm ‘09, sees the immediate introduction of a pair of 16-port and 24-port co-branded switches featuring specialized AVB hardware and software for use in a wide array of fixed installation audio video applications. Standardized multichannel audio and video over Ethernet, enabled by AVB, provides AV professionals and their customers with considerable cost-per-node savings in deploying complex AV systems, while advancing integration, ease of use and system functionality and control.

The IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging Task Group is an IEEE initiative comprising engineers from a host of technology leaders in the semiconductor, enterprise computing, automotive, professional AV, consumer electronics and networking solutions markets. The group has developed protocols to allow vendors to build a standards-based network with the appropriate quality of service for high-quality audio performance and production.

Co-branded BSS Audio|NETGEAR, today’s introductions are available through Harman Professional’s global distribution network and will complete the signal chain between Harman Professional’s new pre-standards AVB-enabled products including Crown Audio CTs amplifiers and dbx processors. Like dbx, and Crown Audio, BSS Audio are members of the Harman Professional Group. BSS Audio is a recognized leader in highly reliable audio networking technologies for fixed installations and professional touring.

Commenting, Robert Urry, Harman Professional Chief Technology Officer, noted, “Today’s introduction is a game-changing moment in AV integration that immediately makes advanced AV networking simpler, more affordable, more effective and more compelling to a broader market than was ever before possible. I am confident that AVB will grow the market for professional-grade AV products and services by enabling a new, wider variety of AV applications from distance learning in education and corporate training and communications, to digital signage in retail, hospitality and municipalities countless other uses in medicine, banking and, of course, entertainment and infotainment. We’re very pleased to work with NETGEAR in leading the industry by being the first to launch an AVB-capable switch.?

Sanjay Kumar, NETGEAR’s Director of Product Management for Switching agrees. “NETGEAR is always striving for innovations and developing products that will bring its customers the maximum benefits from the latest technologies. We foresee the market potential and benefits of AVB switches to our customers. Working with Harman Professional enables NETGEAR to prove this remarkably high-performance and rugged technology in the most demanding professional-grade applications before migrating it to other markets. We’re confident that the new BSS Audio|NETGEAR switches will provide the professional community with plug & play standardization coupled with great sound and video!

The new IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging standards provide three major enhancements for 802-based networks:
• Precise timing to support low-jitter media clocks and accurate synchronization of multiple streams
• A simple reservation protocol that allows an endpoint device to notify the various network elements in a path so that they can reserve the resources necessary to support a particular stream
• Queuing and forwarding rules that ensure that such a stream will pass through the network within the delay specified by the reservation

The enhancements enabled by IEEE 802.1 standards require no changes to the Ethernet lower layers and are compatible with all the other functions of a standard Ethernet switch (a device that follows the IEEE 802.1Q bridge specification).

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