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Summary:

An Israeli chip startup pushing a form of whole-home, uncompressed wireless HD has teamed up with Sony, Samsung, Sharp, Hitachi and Motorola to create a WHDI special interest group. The company, Amimon, already has products out on the market that offer wireless HD using the same […]

An Israeli chip startup pushing a form of whole-home, uncompressed wireless HD has teamed up with Sony, Samsung, Sharp, Hitachi and Motorola to create a WHDI special interest group. The company, Amimon, already has products out on the market that offer wireless HD using the same 5 GHz spectrum used by Wi-Fi.

Those products, and others to be released later this year will not necessarily be compatible with those made in the future according to the WHDI standard, but the backing of major manufacturers gives Amimon — and its technology — a boost. That’s important, because WHDI is up against a number of other wireless HD transmission standards, including Wireless HD, ultra-wideband and even Wi-Fi. WHDI SIG members Sony and Samsung are also members of the Wireless HD standard hoping to use 60GHz.

Noam Geri, Amimon’s co-founder and VP of marketing, explains that many of these competing technologies fail because they either can’t offer uncompressed HD or because, rather than being able to blanket the entire home, they only offer point-to-point wireless transmission. I admit that Geri’s propaganda gets seductive when he starts talking about how a DVD player containing a WHDI chip could transmit HD video to a TV in a different room. With Motorola as both an investor and a member of the SIG, Geri points out that this might one day work for set-top boxes as well.

Having a dedicated network for video that works like Wi-Fi would be awesome not only because I could directly transfer data from my camera or camcorder to my TV, but also because I could then use one PC or set-top box to stream video content around the home. But that’s a problem for the cable providers and ISPs — at least here in the U.S.

There are plenty of companies trying to get digital content to the TV, either through separate hardware or direct streaming. Having a WHDI chip in a PC and TV means you could wirelessly stream Hulu content to your TV, but it will look like crap because it’s not designed to appear on a 42-inch screen. We can blame that on a lack of fiber to the home as well as the massive amounts of bandwidth it would take to stream HD content to a TV.

Geri, however, remains undeterred. He envisions a future for web video in which viewers have the option of a low-resolution image or TV-quality image, much like web sites used to have alternate pages for dial-up and broadband. Even if this glorious utopia comes to fruition, there’s still the matter of the ISP. Bandwidth caps will interfere and the cable guys will fight tooth and nail to keep their role as the content gatekeepers.

I’m actually pretty skeptical that we’ll even see these chips in boxes sold to U.S. cable companies anytime soon. Which means that not only will I still need multiple cable boxes around my home, but WHDI looks a lot less compelling. DVD players are cheap enough that I don’t mind having multiple ones around my home, and I don’t have this huge need to see it wirelessly connected to my TV.

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  1. Interesting.

    Full HD means 20-30 Mb/s, if they could reach that bandwidth hats off !

    My only question is: “Why develop specific proprietary technology instead of improving existing international HSDPA standards?”

    In Europe we now have 3G+ based on HSDPA: 7.2 Mb/s (about 3 Mb/s downstream AND upstream) with unlimited plans (quite unlimited, 24/7 downloading is prohibited and some IP ports and protocols are banned) for as low as $ 70 per month.

    It is great for webbing, emailing, facebooking, twittering etc.

  2. Complementary information on existing HSDPA networks already deployed around the world :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Deployed_HSDPA_networks

  3. @ pierrecol: HSDPA (and other cellular standards) face a major technical challenge that limits throughput: mobility. They also need to accommodate battery operation. Having a separate standard for fixed and wall-powered HD appliances makes a lot of sense.

    @ Stacy: Animon, Amimon, whatever! ;-)

  4. FYI – More details on the WHDI tech here: http://tinyurl.com/6petdj

  5. Pierre Col – UbicMedia Thursday, July 24, 2008

    @DEC: I understand, but why not just put a HSDPA board in a TV, and use TV electricity ? Doing so, you don’t use mobility, but you have a TV able to receive DVD-quality videos over the air.

    The answer is : HSDPA is a telco stuff, relying on SIMcards and subscription (or prepaid cards)

    I imagine WHDI is a matter of broadcast. But for broadcast standards exists, like DVB-H actually deployed in many European countries.

    A new war is rising: 3G telcos & ISPs versus TV broadcasters.

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    [...] The office conquered, Wi-Fi is now making a beeline for the living room with attempts to deliver high-definition video to the television from set-top boxes, PCs or DVD players. Samsung and Philips already offer Wi-Fi chips in televisions for standard-definition content. In late July, Cisco (which has a pretty hefty stake in Wi-Fi with its Linksys-brand routers) led a $16 million round for Celeno Communications, a startup trying to make WiFi-based home entertainment networks a reality. It’s worth noting that several other technical standards are trying to win out when it comes to replacing the wires associated with televisions and their accoutrements. Those include Ultra-wideband, Wireless HD and the newly formed WHDI Special Interest Group. [...]

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    [...] The office conquered, Wi-Fi is now making a beeline for the living room with attempts to deliver high-definition video to the television from set-top boxes, PCs, or DVD players. Samsung and Philips already offer Wi-Fi chips in televisions for standard-definition content. In late July, Cisco (CSCO), which has a pretty hefty stake in Wi-Fi with its Linksys-brand routers, led a $16 million round for Celeno Communications, a startup trying to make Wi-Fi-based home entertainment networks a reality. It’s worth noting that several other technical standards are trying to win out when it comes to replacing the wires associated with televisions and their accoutrements. Those include ultra-wideband, wireless HD, and the newly formed WHDI Special Interest Group. [...]

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  10. Amimon’s Notebook Module Enables Wireless PC to TV HD Transmission Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    [...] Notebook Module Enables Wireless PC to TV HD Transmission Chipmaker Amimon today announced the availability of its WHDI modules that can be used in both note-and-netbook PCs. [...]

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