6 Comments

Summary:

Silicon Image has developed a new, smaller WirelessHD chip to let mobile gamers project their games from their smartphones or gaming devices onto their TVs. Will the same company that pushed HDMI be able to popularize a new wireless standard?

siliconimageboard
photo: Silicon Image

Does the world need another wireless radio crammed inside a smartphone? Silicon Image, which is pushing a wireless standard known as WirelessHD hopes so. The company, which is behind the HDMI standard, thinks that the ability to send a vast amount of data at high speeds over short distances is perfect for taking mobile gaming onto the big screen.

The chips which currently cost about $10, takes advantage of the 60GHz spectrum which has high data rates, but can’t go very far. That spectrum also doesn’t pass through walls, people or objects, which means that Silicon Image has had to develop new adaptive beam-forming technologies to make sure players who are using their phones to project a mobile game on their TV screens can play without inadvertently interrupting the signal.

For the last five years, the effort to commercialize this band of unlicensed spectrum has been hotly contested by different chip companies and standard. Silicon Image bought a company called SiBeam in 2011 to score WirelessHD, long after I thought the other standards were doomed when Intel and Broadcom created the WiGig alliance in 2009 to push a different standard. But the executives at Silicon Image insist the two technologies can co-exist in the spectrum band, and that WiGig is more of an effort to push Wi-Fi into higher data rates — you can achieve multigigabit speeds with WiGig and WirelessHD radios.

So Silicon Image is hoping the gamers, concerned about latency, will demand WirelessHD radios inside their mobile handset and help bring the technology to the mass market. Already, one can buy the radios to plug into televisions or other screens for $30 or $40 and computer makers already put WirelessHD into their high-end gaming machines. The latest Silicon Image chip is finally small enough and efficient enough to fit inside the crowded handset form factor. Mobile games should be able to buy devices with WirelessHD by the second half of 2013.

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  1. Editor: third paragraph, second sentence – do you mean Silicon Graphics or Silicon Image?

    Feel free to delete this comment once verified/corrected.

    Tim.

    1. It is Silicon Image, thanks for checking.

  2. Richard Spalding Monday, December 10, 2012

    Device to Screen wireless connection is surely a no brainer and has been for some time. Gamers are one market, but I sit in meetings all day where people pass round the VGA cable and spend an 5 mins each setting up the presentation. Furthermore, I love finding content on my phone whilst out and about, wouldn’t it be great to get it on a TV (any TV, not just your own) as soon as I am in range. “Swipe right to play to screen in range…”

    So I welcome this tech, along with WiDi or anything else. But obviously we need a standard that every phone/tablet/laptop and TV/Projector/Monitor has in it.

  3. Or you can just do this today with your iOS device and Apple TV ($100).

    1. laggy and only for idevices

  4. The WiiU already does this, and provides less latency than the filter in your HDTV.

    Most screen-sharing or wireless video broadcasting has a significant delay. Not enough of a delay that you’d notice it when watching a film (since the audio is delayed as well) but enough that is poses problems for gaming and input. Each movement you make of the cursor takes a fraction of a second to register on the display.

    I welcome more methods of solving this issue of near-instant wireless video display across devices, but it seems as if Nintendo already has it cracked.

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