I have just read an article on the BBC News web site about a television system on display at the Cebit Technology Fair that claims to be able to receive its signal through the power socket. At present only one channel can be transmitted at a time, but the idea is that you only need to plug one cable into the wall to receive television. Nice idea. One channel isn’t really much good though, they’d need to increase that before letting it loose on the general public. In addition (and this may come as a surprise to some), this is by no means a new idea – Acorn computers were exploiting this concept back in the 90s.
A friend of mine from school used to be really into Acorn computers. He’s a bit of a computer genius, and knows all about all sorts of computer programming languages and technologies. In my first year at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School we had two computer labs, one running 486 PCs running Windows 3.11, and another room full of Acorn A3000s. During one particularly boring Business Studies lesson, James told me that it was possible to network Acorn computers together by using the power circuits in the room. You’d need to run a program on both computers for it to work (networking wasn’t built-in back then), but the idea was that you could control the mains transformer in the computer and use that to send signals through the mains wiring in the room.
Obviously this technology, demonstrated here by Devolo, has come on in leaps and bounds since then, but the concept at least is far from new. I just thought it was interesting to see the idea being touted again, especially given its humble beginnings.