Intel is flogging their WiDi technology (pronounced like “Wi-Fi”) at CES again this year. This week Intel announce collaborations with settop chip makers Cavium, Mstar, Sigma Designs, Realtek, Wondermedia and others.
Intel’s WiDi uses WiFi to transmit HDTV using a special feature of Intel Core CPU-based computers and the company’s WiFi chips. It allows a laptop to instantly connect to a big screen television, showing YouTube clips, DVD and Blu-ray movies, presentations or Word documents.
With integration into a settop box, the $50-$100 WiDi receiver could be eliminated. A standalone box could be eliminated if it were built into televisions. Intel could then offer direct streaming from a desktop, laptop or tablet using 802.11n WiFi.
But the window on WiDi could be closing.
Next generation WiFi, using the 802.11ac standard, can stream nearly 1 Gbps on the 5 GHz band – no proprietary compression required. With WiFi-enabled Roku boxes, now shrunk to the size of a dongle, settop boxes are becoming invisible – and they can be controlled with a handy remote control. Roku’s platform currently supports over 400 channels, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Pandora, MLB.TV, HBO Go, MOG, and Rdio.
The WirelessHD specification is based on a 7 GHz channel in the 60 GHz band. It is incorporated into the 802.11ad standard and allows for either compressed (H.264) or uncompressed digital transmission of high-definition video and audio and data signals, essentially making it equivalent of a wireless HDMI.