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back to article WiHD boys signal imminent arrival of 'wireless HDMI' tech

The companies behind the Wireless HD (WiHD) standard - Intel, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, LG, Matsushita and NEC among them - have completed the first full version of the specification. WiHD delivers 4Gb/s data transfers via the globally unlicensed 60GHz band of the spectrum and was developed to provide a way of connecting HD …

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Boffin

Those other technologies DO offer the same service

But they don't kneecap the user by increasing load on encryption to prevent copying the source.

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Cool

HDMI cables appear to be unreasonably expensive, so there may be some mileage in this on a cost-basis alone.

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Anonymous Coward

i wonder...

...if this one will also be based on flawed crypto tech?

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Bronze badge

High frequency?

Wouldn't 60ghz be a bit juice heavy?

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@Colin Jackson

I think the MSP of WiHD isn't replacing 'expensive' cables, but rather alliowing more freedom/flexibility in positioning your display equipment. By the way, HDMI cables can be easily bought for less than a fiver for a couple of metres or so (5GBP for our overseas readers). hardly unreasonably expensive, unless you can make them cheaper yourself ;-)

Dave.

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Happy

HDMI cables expensive?

HDMI cables expensive?

Not if you shop around, I found some as cheap as about £7 for a 2 metre cable. Okay, not as cheap as a Tesco own brand SCART cable but still a lot cheaper than a £35 HDMI cable from Comet. I'd say the quality is probably just as good two, I mean, it's digital, it either should work or not, I wouldn't imagine the £35 HDMI cable offers any better picture or audio quality, I'd say that would be more down to the equipment used.

Still, wireless HDMI, that does sound cool and less messy than routing cables to your wall mounted LCD/Plasma TV.

Rob

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Alert

Laws of physics still apply

Wireless at 60 GHz is a strictly line-of-sight proposition. If pretty much anything gets in the way (especially a water-laden human body, but walls, especially with metal studs, are problematic, too), poof, there goes your signal. Sure, there's some diffuse reflection if you stay in the same room, but once you start relying on that, the power requirement (for given bandwidth) goes WAY up. Looks like bright boys at WiHD are poised to deliver an inherently unreliable technology that will cause consumers anguish as they try to cope with its idiosyncrasies. Way to go!

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...sounds good in theory.

Looking good though 60Ghz sounds heavy on the 'juice and line of sight is pants, unless this is an exercise at reducing the number of cables.

But it has to be a good thing for the standard. Created by major players in all the related fields getting together and discussing, working on a test and then rolling it forward to prototypes that over time reach the market place.

M$ take note, backhanders to senators and forcing through isn't the way forward.

:)

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Streaming to other devices

With a wavelength of 5mm, 60GHz just isn't going to make it through a wall, especially at the flea power this will no doubt be using, so the idea of streaming to other devices in different rooms is probably just wishful thinking. I suspect these devices are going to have to be almost on top of each other for this to be practical, both due to frequency and also neighbours' systems having to work in the same band. It looks more like eliminating cables, be that because of idiots who can't get two connectors plugged into the right place or content providers worried that with a physical connection of any sort, nasty crackers may just rip the content anyway (slightly tweaked HDMI repeaters with HDCP on the receiving end pretending to be a telly, for example). One welcome point I did note was the universal remote idea, reducing the number of little boxes that go "BZZT" to lose down the sofa. Just think twice before you throw that one remote to rule them all at the dog.

This isn't WiFi. Think "innovative interconnection for your entertainment centre devices enabling a new user-friendly, hassle-free connection paradigm, leveraging experience with RF technologies from the networking industry." With a side of DRM and you paying for it, of course.

"The display device has detected another WiHD device in range. Would you like to tie these devices irrevocably together so that when one breaks they're both useless? [Yes] [OK] [Go] [Don't Cancel]"

OK, that last bit was hyperbole. I hope.

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Silver badge

You'll still need cables though

I image that the display will still need to have a power cable

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Black Helicopters

Precursor to "802.11y"

For anyone who has seen TPB's (thepiratebay.org) movie "Steal This Film I/II", an attractive crippled internet - biased towards censorship - is exactly how Hollywood/Big-Media can delay their eventual demise.

In other words, regardless of WiHD's success in the marketplace, my money is on this technology snaking it's way into our next (or next-next) wireless spec. Think "802.11y".

We all expect wireless performance improvements, and much is on the horizon (e.g., WiMax, ubiquitous WiFi, etc.). But for now, the killer app in broadband is video, and the public doesn't care who gives them their fix; just so long as it's faster than their last. The old copyright guard need only provide the faster fix, insert special-interest controls in the protocol and voila: the DRM'd internet.

At worst, we'll have to pay for these improvements via higher subscription costs, or a "content-tax". At worst, the global internet community will shatter because of incompatible protocols and the majority will never know what they're missing.

Am I too paranoid here? Not based on the history of corporate greed and the lengths it has taken in self-preservation.

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Silver badge

60GHz is oxygen-absorbed

and has an effective range of around 5m - maybe 10 at a push.

The transceivers are really tiny though - IBM have a system-on-chip that even includes the antennae.

So it's a great Bluetooth replacement, but not much else.

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WiHD has great value in Multi-media enabled homes

As a side business I run an Electrical Contracting Company (www.AElectrics.com) which wires up home automation solutions for high end custom homes. WiHD would save many thousands of feet of cabling (5xRG6) + 2 Cat5 to each HDTV (Typically 6-8 per home), and yet provide flexibility when the owner decides they want to swap their new painting for their TV location, etc.

The cabling cost is not that expensive, but the labor of pulling and terminating is costly and would be a significant savings, expecially when the sheet rock guy drove some nails through the cable during the lengthy construction phase.

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Personally I'd prefer

HDMI over mains if it is doable

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@ Wade Thompson

"the sheet rock guy drove some nails through the cable"

What sort of incompetent boob uses nails to put up sheetrock?

Oh. The sort that gets hired because he's a union member, rather than a competent worker, of course.

And that's why I do my own sheetrock work (my house was built in 1921, and by the time I am done renovating, I will have "re-plastered" all 3000 square feet with new sheetrock, replacing the original lath-and-plaster work).

As for HDMI: Well, gosh, you know my eyes aren't good enough to get full advantage from upscaled DVD, so there's no need for me to spend even $10 on HDMI cabling. Plus the content is all crap anyway. I like that my neighbor's HDMI signal won't reach my house, though.

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Pointless

Seriously, why? An HDMI cable is:

a) Cheap.

b) Easy to install with no complicated setup.

c) Unlikely to wrong.

d) Something you only really do once anyway, then it's basically hidden from view.

So... why? I don't want to walk around the house carrying a 42" screen with me. Carrying a small screen is pointless, because at, say, 7" you simply will not tell the difference between HDMI and SD material.

And who'd want to walk around watching TV anyway? Just sit down and watch it. If you walk around you'll just end up tripping over one of the power cables for the HDMI transmitters anyway.

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Useful for projecters

Would be useful for projecters. No more drilling holes through ceilings and walls.

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