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Wireless, Powerline Technologies Debut For Cable Replacement, A/V Distribution

1/21/2008 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Powerline communication (PLC) and wireless technologies of many stripes appeared at International CES in consumer products and in chipsets, either to replace wired cables within a room or to distribute audio and video throughout the house.

Multiple technologies here were promoted as delivering HDTV with resolutions up to lossless 1080p.

Here's what dealers and engineers found at the show:

Belkin: FlyWire is a wireless HDMI cable-replacement system that streams standard- and high-definition video from multiple video sources up to 50 feet to a flat-screen TV. FlyWire is the company's first device to stream high-definition video via wireless RF and its first to incorporate switching among multiple video sources.

The devices feature technology developed by semiconductor company Amimon, which uses 5GHz band to deliver uncompressed HD video to HD displays from CE devices throughout the home. The technology is dubbed Wireless High-Definition Interface (WHDI).

The Belkin system, expected to retail for about $500 and ship in the summer, includes a transmitter that connects to the composite, S-Video, component- and HDMI outputs of connected sources. The transmitter sends video wirelessly to a receiver connected to a TV's HDMI input.

The system works with HDMI versions 1 to 1.3 to deliver video up to 1080p to the TV display. The receiver comes with an included HDMI cable and bracket for mounting to the back of the TV chassis or to the wall. Only a power wire needs to run to the receiver.

Corinex: The company launched its GameNet powerline-network adapters for game consoles to facilitate online gaming. A pair of 200Mbps plug-in adapters, available using either the HomePlug A/V or Universal Powerline Association (UPA) powerline technologies, is available at a suggested $169/pair. They're said to outperform wireless solutions because of their low latency and higher speeds.

Out of the box, GameNet's configuration settings are set to prioritize gaming traffic over a HomePlug or UPA network, making it unnecessary for consumers to use a Wizard to do so.

DS2: The Spain-based maker of powerline-network chipsets and reference designs demonstrated a 400Mbps version of its technology, which currently operates at 200Mbps and is embodied in the UPA standard.

PulseLink: The company demonstrated ready-to-manufacturer reference designs of its wireless HDMI and HDMI-over-coax technologies, both based on ultrawideband technology. The former eliminates HDMI cable runs from a high-def cable box, DVR, or disc player to an HDTV in the same room. The latter is intended for whole-house distribution of HDCP-protected content from sources such as DVRs and disc players in one room to an HDTV set in another room. "This [multiroom HDMI] capability has never existed before," the company claimed.

Both implementations are said to deliver visually lossless HD video with low latency for "real-time HD video streaming, a spokeswoman said.

Silicon Storage Technologies: At its Venetian suite, the company hosted invite-only demos of MelodyWing SP wireless technology, said to deliver uncompressed wire-equivalent sound for home theaters and for multiroom-audio applications. The technology automatically selects uncongested channels within both the 2.5GHz and 5GHz bands.

Sony: The company demonstrated wireless 1080p streaming via Amimon's technology (see Belkin information above). The technology was embedded in one TV and in one add-on module. Ship dates weren't announced.

STS Wireless: STS's fourth-generation wireless chips deliver audio up to 150 feet throughout a house or up to 300 feet outdoors. Longer range is available with a repeater. It supports up to eight simultaneous channels of uncompressed 96kHz/24-bit CD-quality audio, and its bidirectional feature allows for use in VoIP devices.