Look ma, no wires!

January 21st, 2010 in .Home Entertainment & HTPC .Products
Clip to Evernote

Wires are ugly. They deface an otherwise pristine home entertainment setup and make installations complicated. Does unplugging all your wires and adopting a wireless HD solution sound enticing? Well, right now you can do just that. The technology is available for you to send uncompressed HD data at 3Gbps to a distance of up to 10 meters.

Most wireless HD solutions can support up to 1080p resolution but they are usually in-room installations that require line-of-site operation. This is not unlike a tractor beam in sci-fi movies with a straight path for the flow of data.

When just launched, first generation wireless HD launched solutions cost about U.S.$1,000 but the price has fallen to a more affordable U.S.$400 to U.S.$600 level. Many employ MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology, which uses multiple antennas to transmit and receive signals for more throughput and longer range.

There are two champions of wireless transmissions: WirelessHD and WHDI (Wireless Home Digital Interface). Both require a transmitter and receiver pair to work. But there are some distinct differences:

WirelessHD operates in the 60GHz frequency range to provide mostly in-room transmissions. Its beam forming technology dynamically steers the data beam towards the receiver and the use of reflections and other indirect paths help the technology overcome some line-of-sight constraints. Additionally, its core technology can theoretically support a data rate as high as 25Gbps, allowing much better resolution, color depth, and range in the future.

WHDI, on the other hand, operates in the 5GHz unlicensed band which allows signals to pass through walls – thus supporting multi-room transmissions. Additionally, it can reach a distance of up to 30 meters. Such features make it possible to set up a central beaming station based on the technology and enable multiple theatrettes in a small building. 

Like many competing standards – that constantly affect technology adoption – the jury is still out on which standard will gain widespread acceptance. Only time will tell.

Related Articles

Share |