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Cable-Cutting WiHD Spec Finalized

The WirelessHD consortium has finalized specifications for its in-room cable-replacement WirelessHD (WiHD) technology, promoted as the only cable-replacement technology that delivers uncompressed copy-protected high-definition video up to 1080p with no signal loss.

One of the consortium’s founders, Panasonic, demonstrated the technology at CES. Other consortium founders are LG, NEC, chipmaker SiBeam, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. Intel is also a member.

Although other HDMI-cable-cutting technologies have been demonstrated, almost all of them use lossy compression techniques, said John Marshall, chairman of the WirelessHD Consortium and cofounder of wireless chipmaker SiBEAM. A competing proprietary technology that uses no compression nonetheless reduces color and luminance because of its narrower bandwidth, he contended. “We are the only wireless solution promoting uncompressed, no-loss high-definition video, including 1080p,”he said.

WiHD is able to transmit uncompressed video with no loss because its datarate hits 4Gbps at 33 feet, more than enough to deliver an uncompressed 1080p signal, which requires 3Gbps of bandwidth, Marshall said. WirlessHD also supports two simultaneous 1080i streams, multiple 480p streams, and one 1080i stream simultaneous with one 480p stream, the consortium said.

In contrast, 3.1-10.6HGz ultrawideband (UWB) datarates run only up to a “couple hundred Mbps,” requiring compression for HDTV transmission, Marshall said.

WiHD, dubbed a wireless video area network (WVAN) technology, is intended to eliminate unsightly A/V cable connections to flat-screen HDTVs and to reduce component clutter.

WiHD would also allow for wireless transfers from videocameras to DVRs and DVD recorders, and in home theater audio components, it would support up to 13.1 channels of 192kHz/24-bit losslessly compressed Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, the group said. WiHD also supports 5.1 channels of uncompressed 96kHz/24-bit PCM audio.

The first approved products will likely be HDMI adapters and component-video adapters that can be plugged into A/V components and TV sets, followed by A/V products with embedded WiHD, Marshall said without offering a timetable.