1394 Trade Association: FireWire’s strong presence in notebooks, storage, more points to growth

Growth in the PC notebook, storage, peripherals, and industrial market sectors continues to propel the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) standard to another strong year of growth, according to The 1394 Trade Association.

New notebook PCs from global leaders such as Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Sony and others incorporate FireWire — and the 800 Megabit/second version (S800) is now a virtual standard in storage systems from leading manufacturers, according to The 1394 Trade Association. The number of 1394-equipped notebook PCs has increased by approximately 20 percent in 2008. Among the PCs recommended to users by Consumer Reports in its December 2008 edition, 75 percent featured FireWire, including brands from Sony, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Hewlett Packard. In addition, Microsoft will support the new 800 Megabit/second version of FireWire in upcoming Windows Version 7 releases next year.

The popularity of FireWire has been registered enthusiastically in the weeks following the decision to remove it from a couple members of the new Apple MacBook introduced in October. A petition requesting its reinstatement has drawn signatures from users worldwide. Comments from users about the decision have been collected and appear in a list of weblogs and postings with links to articles and quotes. The comments are on the 1394 Trade Association website here.

“The overwhelming support for FireWire is proof of the strength of the technology and the value users place on it,” said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association, in the press release. “The feedback also points to the value that applications realize as users and designers continue to adopt the more powerful FireWire800 standard.” Snider added, “There is every indication that Apple executives are paying attention to the FireWire discussion and want to address users’ concerns.”

Virtually all HDV cameras continue to rely on FireWire for transfers, including some models that have become very popular with independent producers. The installed base of FireWire camcorders is still enormous, including many high-definition applications, according to The 1394 Trade Association. Also, most pro and semi-pro cameras continue to use FireWire, because HDV remains preferred over AVCHD. And many professionals also select MacBook Pros and use them for on-the-road capture. FireWire also remains the preferred interface for multichannel audio.

Among other key market sectors, the number of 1394-equipped set top boxes shipped worldwide is up more than 25 percent in 2008. PC peripherals that incorporate FireWire are growing between 17 to 20 percent.

According to The 1394 Trade Association, new markets for 1394 also are now emerging. The 1394-Automotive standard has been developed as a major specification for vehicle entertainment, navigation and other automotive applications, and the first 1394-equipped vehicle networks will begin contributing to applications growth in 2009. Also, the completion of the new UWB over Coax specification has added a powerful and efficient new standard for whole home networking.

“1394 has continued its strong growth across a broad range of applications and market sectors in 2008,” said Snider. “FireWire delivers the best speed and performance of any standard for a wide range of applications, as evidenced by stable and steady increases in 1394’s adoption globally in the hard disk storage, industrial camera and automation markets. And the 1394-Automotive standard, which was developed in conjunction with major automakers worldwide, is gaining significant traction now, bringing the comprehensive in-vehicle network to cars beginning next year.”

For many users, as indicated by the comments from Apple users, the high speed, reliability and guaranteed quality of service provided by IEEE 1394 are vital. 1394a delivers true throughput of 400 Megabits/second, compared with USB 2.0, which in practice delivers far lower throughput due to significant network overhead and the burden it places on the processor, despite claims of 480 Megabit/second speeds. The 1394b specification, now widely implemented in new products, delivers bandwidth close to 800 Megabits/second, in real-time, providing the highest quality of service and reliability.

For more information about the 1394/FireWire standard, visit www.1394ta.org.

Source: 1394 Trade Association


  1. “Microsoft will support the new 800 Megabit/second version of FireWire in upcoming Windows Version 7 releases next year.”

    What a fscking joke Winblows is!!! It’s 2008 and they don’t support Firewire 800 in Shitsa?!?!?

    I guess it will stay that way until 2010, which is the earliest M$ will release Fista SP3 – despite what they say now.

  2. Steve Jobs: “Actually, all of the new HD camcorders of the past few years use USB 2”

    1394 Trade Association: “”Virtually all HDV cameras continue to rely on FireWire for transfers, including some models that have become very popular with independent producers. The installed base of FireWire camcorders is still enormous, including many high-definition applications”

    I know they both have an agenda, but the latter is in the right here…not even mentioning Target Disk Mode! Bad Steve, bad, bad bad…save a few bucks, screw the customer…we can’t all afford MacBook Pros, you know!

  3. I believe Apple made a big mistake dropping FW400 from the new MacBooks. I know they need to differentiate the MacBook from the MacBook Pros, but that was not the way to do it.

    It seems that the 1394 trade association’s claims that FW is on the rise is in direct contradiction to Job’s. Ultimately he may be right, but the loss of FW was premature, in my opinion.

    Good thing I have a pretty new MBP 17″ so I am not faced with this problem personally!

  4. Except from a manufacturing/new implementation POV, FireWire is a dead-end technology. FW1600 was ratified 5+ years ago. FW3200 was ratified over a year ago. NOBODY making a chip that can even handle FW1600, let alone FW3200.

    ESATA and USB are the future of connection standards (in the near future), simply because people are actively working on advancing these standards (and actually implementing them, which is more important than just defining how the next version of the standard should work).

    I wish FW was keeping up with the other standards, but it’s not. And it’s not a positive sign for it when Apple drops it from a computer model that’s had support for it from it’s inception.

  5. What are they talking about??? Their report conveniently ignores the fact that Apple has eliminated firewire from its most popular line of consumer portables. Firewire is so superior to USB that it would be laughable if firewire were not being ignored in favor of USB in the external peripherals market and, of course, by Apple.

  6. The silly decision to use a different port for FW800 instead of finding a way to rejig to FW400 port to support the higher speed and future speed bumps seriously crippled the momentum of Firewire and gave USB a leg-up. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
    They need to aggressively push ahead with the highest speed FW spec which will reach speeds of 6.4 Gbit/s (real, as opposed to USB3 4.8 Gbit/s theoretical), get it ratified and product to market ASAP as USB3 products won’t appear until the end of 2009 at the earliest.
    Come on Apple, it’s time to lead again.

  7. @dave (who is talking out his ass…)

    “FireWire is a dead-end technology… ESATA and USB are the future of connection standards”

    Those two might be fine for simpleton connections, but FW goes well beyond that standard and you know it. Without FW, you would still need some kind of video digitizing capture card.

    Firewire allows simultaneous transfer of digital video and audio, timecode information, AND device control, all through a single cable!

    Let me see either of the two standards you’ve mentioned allow for asynchronous communication, much less take operational control of an electronic device like a cam or audio mixer.

    eSata, USB. Pffttt!

  8. Well said G4Dualie! And for the comments that “pro’s buy pros” get into the real world. FireWire 400 is hardly a “pro” feature – needed yes – useful yes – stupidly left off the MacBooks yes. FireWire has a future. If Apple is too stupid to see that and continue to leave it off their most popular laptop, they will face the consequences of that decision in reduced sales to education and the “middle” market.

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