Sony and Samsung join new consortium supporting technology that could replace tangle of video cables with wireless transmission of HD video

A group of consumer electronics manufacturers and wireless technology firms has joined forces to develop a new standard that could send HD video signals wirelessly from a set-top box to screens around the home.

The consortium – comprising Sony, Sharp, Samsung, Amimon, Hitachi and Motorola – expects to have specifications for its Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI) technology finalised by the end of the year.

Based on technology from Amimon Ltd of Israel, WHDI is the latest addition in the race to replace video cable.
A key ingredient of WHDI technology is a new video-modem that operates in the 5GHz unlicensed band to enable robust wireless delivery of uncompressed HD video (including 1080p).

WHDI allows secure, encrypted HD video delivery through multiple rooms and other potential signal obstructions, such as people and furniture, while maintaining superb quality and robustness with less than one-millisecond latency.

The consortium plans to enhance the current WHDI technology to enable wireless streaming of uncompressed HD video and audio between CE devices such as LCD and plasma HDTVs, multimedia projectors, A/V receivers, DVD and BD players, set-top boxes, game consoles, and PCs.

The new interoperable standard aims to ensure that CE devices manufactured by different vendors will simply and directly connect to one another.

TVs with Amimon’s chips could reach stores by next year, costing about US$100 more than equivalent, non-wireless sets.

Noam Geri, co-founder of Amimon, said: “If you have a TV in the home, that TV will be able to access any source in the home, whether it’s a set-top box in the living room, or the PlayStation in the bedroom, or a DVD player in another bedroom. That’s the message of WHDI.”

The quest for wireless streaming of high-definition video has seen various contenders emerge.
Among them is WirelessHD, centered on technology from SiBEAM Inc, of which Sony also forms part of the group to enable it to have “wider options”.

Another hopeful is ultra-wideband, or UWB, which requires less compression than Wi-Fi but its range is more limited.
WHDI is less exotic than either WirelessHD or UWB. It uses a radio band at 5 gigahertz that’s used by some Wi-Fi devices.

Motorola has looked at competing technologies, but WHDI is the only group it has joined.
The company plans to build the technology into its set-top boxes, but the first product is likely be a pair of adapters that talk wirelessly to one another. One could be attached to a set-top box, the other to a TV set.

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