Wireless HD Video A Step Closer

Dennis Faas's picture

A new industry agreement could eventually mean an end to choosing between lower quality TV pictures and a house full of messy cabling. Major audio-visual manufacturers including Sony, Sharp, Hitachi, Samsung, and Motorola have agreed to back an industry standard for wireless signals to carry high-definition video.

Wireless Home Digital Interface will transmit on the 5GHz band, which means it doesn't need licensing. The system can carry up to 3bBits per second, which means it can cope with the top-end 1080p video format without having to compress the signal. It should also be able to transmit up to 30 metres without losing any power when passing through walls.

In theory, the system would allow up to six streams at a time -- that is, six connections between devices. It's unlikely this would be pulled off in practice because the streams tend to interfere with one another to some degree. However, there should be enough capacity for most home set-ups. (Source: gizmodo.com)

The technology behind wireless HD isn't that new, but this agreement increases the chances of reaching a point where consumers can feel confident that any device they buy (such as a cable box, Blu-ray player or HD-capable game console) will be compatible with their screens.

The big problem is that there are several alternative systems on the market or in development. These include Wireless HD (which is backed by Intel, LG and Toshiba -- plus, confusingly, Samsung and Sony) and Wireless USB (backed by Microsoft, HP and, once again, Samsung). These rival systems operate on different frequencies and have lower effective ranges than the WHDI system.

Amimon, the company behind WHDI predicts the system will add $100-$200 to a TV set sold next year. It will probably be three to five years before this price drops to the point that it becomes a standard feature on all new TVs, at which point one system should gain enough momentum to become a genuine industry standard. (Source: cnet.com)

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