No More Fights Over The PC

A new product lets two or more play multimedia games on the same PC. Peace is at hand in wired households throughout America, thanks to a new product unveiled by a small California company at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. Concurrent Controls of South San Francisco has announced the Applica Multimedia System, which the company claims is the only home networking product available that enables multiple people to run full-motion, 3D multimedia applications on the same PC at the same time.

The Applica Multimedia System is, in essence, a network computer capable of running high-end multimedia applications with your PC as host. Instead of having to buy a computer for each kid in order to restore family harmony, for instance, you can buy a $249 Applica Multimedia System for each additional user, plus the cost of peripherals. Available in late March, the system consists of a PCI multidisplay adapter card with 2MB of RAM; the Applica station, a box to which you connect an external monitor, speakers, and keyboard, mouse, or other input device; a cable for attaching the station to the PC; and the Applica Multimedia software.

Plug, Then Play
Install the PCI card in your PC and attach one end of the cable to a port on the PCI card and the other end to the Applica station. Once the software has been installed and the peripherals attached, you can run any software from the host PC on the Applica station, including full-motion multimedia DVDs and 3D games, without seeing performance suffer, the company claims.

The Applica Multimedia System is the only home networking product that supports the full audio and 3D graphics required by many games and entertainment applications, according to the company. Like the other products in the Applica family, the Multimedia System also delivers simultaneous access to the Internet--even over high-speed connections such as cable modems--to multiple users.The system supports up to five users at a time. Each user would need his or her own Applica Multimedia System kit, however, and the host PC would need an available PCI slot to accommodate each additional user.

Applica Multimedia System is being licensed to OEMs, including RF-Link Technology, which will develop a wireless version, and Panasonic, which will develop a multiuser system designed to network TVs and PCs. Registered owners of Applica 3.0 systems can upgrade to version 4.0 in March for $149.


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