By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The idea of sending video and audio without wires is easy to understand. From the first land-based analog broadcast towers to modern digital satellite dishes, wireless has been one of the best and most popular ways of distributing media content from the service provider to the home.
Once the content enters the home, however, the idea of wireless media goes from being a natural and ubiquitous interface to a faraway dream of future possibilities. All too often, the elegant and HD pictures flying within one’s home are constricted to a tangled mix of digital and analog cables.
Most consumers want to be able to view their video and hear their music on all of the equipment they own. They don’t like the restrictions and actual cost of traditional wired connections, and the advent of HD video and multichannel speaker systems is only making the wired mess worse. Meanwhile, the complexity and quality tradeoffs necessary for most wireless home media systems limit their desirability.
Many options are on the horizon for consumers anxious to update their home entertainment systems and upgrade their lifestyles based on new wireless audio and video innovations and technologies. However, not all have successfully addressed the unique challenges inherent in HD consumer electronics products.
This is where the WirelessHD standard comes in. Unlike other wireless technologies, WirelessHD uses the largely unused 60GHz radio band and is therefore interference-free from existing Wi-Fi and cellphone wireless signals. Additionally, WirelessHD uses lossless HDTV video and audio signals to take advantage of the quality, ease of use and configuration of wired connections. WirelessHD maximizes the ease of deployment and usability advantages of radio technologies to deliver a new type of universal wireless link that interfaces consumer electronics products at FullHD quality with less complexity than traditional cabled connections. For example, consumers can create an A/V network for the connection of flat-panel plasma or LCD displays and multimedia projectors, video sources such as digital set-top-boxes, HD digital video cameras, DVD players and future successors, and both PC-based and standalone media centers.
WirelessHD connectivity is different from having Wi-Fi Internet access to your HDTV, which is a recently added feature. Both WirelessHD and Wi-Fi can work in the same device without interference. They each have a different set of content to manage and display.
Through an integrated delivery of HD multichannel video, audio and system control functions, WirelessHD supports a broad range of everyday usage scenarios from watching a movie from a Blu-ray player to displaying content from one’s laptop to the HDTV. WirelessHD technology features the capabilities that make it easier and less costly for consumers to setup, control and store their multimedia components.WirelessHD Branded Products Currently Available Worldwide
Consumers around the world are beginning to see products touting the WirelessHD logo on the shelves in the US, Japan, Korea and Europe. Panasonic’s Viera and LG Electronics’ LHX lines include the WirelessHD capability in their latest large screen consumer flat panels with more product announcements planned in the near future.
Consumers can trust the WirelessHD logo to ensure interoperability between different devices such as HDTV’s, Blu-ray DVD players and adapters, and should begin looking for the WiHD logo when considering new purchases.
All products created based on the WirelessHD program undergo rigorous testing to ensure that each product truly provides the ability to network with other WirelessHD enabled products. Once a product has past the testing phase, it will be marked by the WirelessHD or WiHD logo allowing consumers to identify and purchase home A/V items that work seamlessly with one another with confidence and ease.
WirelessHD-branded products bring a unique value add to consumers as the supporting technology enables HD video and data to transmit wirelessly between devices within one room at the highest possible quality. WirelessHD products are equipped with SiBEAM chipsets that transfer uncompressed and lossless content at multi-gigabit rates within the globally available 60GHz radio band. This means, that in one room, consumers can enjoy pure uncompressed home entertainment without messing with webs of wires between devices, without cables hanging down the wall and without the need to hire expensive installers to run connections within walls.
WirelessHD Video - Just the beginning
HDTVs represent the most immediate marketing opportunity with HDTV sales forecasted to be millions of units by 2013, driven by the high quality of these displays and their distinct space-saving designs. The aesthetics of these wall-hanging displays are diminished by the need to run audio and video cables across the room to the often numerous A/V sources. Practical and reliable wireless solutions address the installation and usage problems of the new, HD, multichannel, multi-device home.
The availability of HD wireless connections eliminates the morass of switches, HD-capable stereo receivers and other complexities traditionally needed to support the wide variety of devices consumers have and will continue to buy. With HD wireless links, connecting any source to any display is dramatically simplified by removing the need for a hard-wired connection.
Consumers no longer have to guess about which cables to buy or plan for a particular physical relationship between their consumer electronics devices. Just place one’s source and display device wherever it’s convenient and aesthetic. Then, use one’s existing remote controls to select which source is shown on the display or heard on the speakers. That’s all.
Future applications of WirelessHD technology include traditional networking such as virtual docking for notebook PCs as well as sync’ n go applications for mobile devices.
Such a basic idea of simple and reliable HD connectivity is facilitated by the many technologies that are part of WirelessHD. By bringing together the latest advances in millimeter wave technology, audio/video control protocols and smart antenna technology, this consumer electronics and personal computing industry standard is focused on doing all of the hard work necessary to make high-quality, HD multimedia wireless in the home very simple, very affordable and easily recognizable.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.