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Like Everest, the goal of wirelessly delivering high-definition video without compression may not be necessary, but it’s there, so technologists have to attempt it. And admittedly, sending wireless HD video from a PC to a television is compelling. But wireless signals are easy to mess with. How would you feel if every time your phone rang or microwave was cooking, the screen pixelated?
Anyhow, practicalities have never stopped a market, so here are the three biggest wireless technologies aiming to deliver high-def video to your TV.
Wi-Fi using 802.11n:
Wi-Fi is everywhere, from home networks to corporate ones, doing everything from connecting to digital photo frames to enabling voice calls. Sure everyone knows what Wi-Fi is, but like ice cream it comes in many different flavors. One of those flavors is 802.11n, which would allow up to 100 Mbps data transfers. That’s not really enough to stream high-def video content without compression, but that’s not stopping Broadcom and Monsoon Multimedia from trying to pushing the technology to that very limit.
After a lengthy and brutal standards war in the IEEE, ultra-wideband became an international data transmission standard thanks to ISO. The technology offers high-speed, short-range data transfers. Some UWB companies such as Alereon and Staccato Communications are focusing more on wireless USB, to connect computer peripherals without wires, but TZero and WiQuest are scaling the high-def video heights. TZero Technologies has chips inside a Hitachi television set, while WiQuest has achieved data rates of 960 Mbps and has a video platform. I don’t see any customer announcements for the chips yet, though.
This standard certainly has the bandwidth in the relatively empty 60GHz spectrum to deliver high-def video, but so far it has some real problems going the distance or getting through solid objects. It’s also expensive, and so far the technology is mostly theory. But IBM has shown test chip, and last week Vubiq launched a $12,500 development kit for OEMs interested in playing with 60Ghz technology. Other startups include SiBeam, which plans to have chips out this year. There are also various university research efforts a focused on this. It’ll probably be a few years before this technology makes it into homes, however.