While PC/Consumer Electronics convergence has undeniably happened, CES is still a consumer electronics show. Our first press conference of the show was with ASUS talking about netbooks, but the next day was full of mostly TV makers discussing their 2009 lineups.

Generally the focus of most TV manufacturers at CES is to talk about how cool their TVs look and go rather light on the technology. This year, as we mentioned in our earlier coverage, we got more meat for our minute - we rarely heard about 100”+ TVs and instead got a real dose of technology.


Large TVs were in Vegas this year, they just weren't the focus of the show. Photography by Laura Johnston.

So forgive me while I talk about a less PC, but very technology oriented element of this year’s CES: LCD TVs.

Wireless Inputs are In

I already mentioned that last year’s CES was very much a displays show. Nearly every manufacturer either had a focus on having the thinnest TVs or the largest screen size. As with most pissing contests, at the end of it you tend to feel a bit silly; so this year we saw less glam and more functional features.

Here’s the problem. LCD and Plasma TVs are dropping in prices. While that alone isn’t a problem, with more consumers purchasing them you have more people trying to wall mount their new flat screen TV. The issue with wall mounting is that most TVs are useless by themselves; you need an input source of some sort. Whether it’s a cable box, HTPC or Blu-ray player, getting your content to the TV usually means running cables from one or more boxes to your TV.

This tends to make wall mounting your brand new TV far messier. While the TV looks like a part of the room, the sources dangling from it don’t. Last year a couple of companies showed TVs with wireless inputs. There’s a separate box that communicates wirelessly to the TV, and you plug all of your sources into that box.

This year, wireless inputs are in and far more companies had demonstrations of TVs with wireless inputs.

The standard is WirelessHD. Your inputs are connected wirelessly to the TV via a 60GHz signal, capable of transmitting full bandwidth 1080p60 at a distance of up to 30 feet. The transmission is lossless and is sent uncompressed. The same goes for audio, you can send up to 7.1 audio wirelessly between the box and the TV.

Samsung, Panasonic and LG all had TVs at the show with wireless inputs, all using the same WirelessHD standard.

Eventually I’d expect to see wireless outputs directly on CE devices and wireless inputs on TVs, cutting out the set top box middleman. I suspect that’ll be a while given how many legacy devices users will want to connect to their TVs.

More TV Trends: Thin, Local Dimming and 240Hz
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  • superandroid - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - link

    i think that the 60 ghz microwave frequency will be hazardous to the human brain because it can easily penetrate the human body. Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - link

    That is incorrect. 60 GHz cannot easily penetrate the human body, which would actually be more reason to fear it than if it could simply just pass through. However, 60 GHz photons have such little energy that they can't possibly negatively influence the human body, just like all other radio communication and microwaves. Now if the transmitter is powerful enough that the absorbed energy turns into a significant amount of heat (eg a microwave oven), then you should worry about cooking yourself. Considering a microwave oven is ~1000 Watts and this transmitter will likely be on the order of a few hundred or thousand milliwatts, you have nothing to fear. Reply
  • michael145 - Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - link

    Man, imagine running Crysis at 4K's resolution with 4AA/4AF on...
    What machine do you need?
    Reply
  • fly123 - Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - link

    anybody know if this will be usable with a media server, or is the wirelesshd consortium locking it down to oem because of drm fear?
    I mean, do any of you know if there are any plans for making a plugin device that one can plug into a pc and screen of own chosing?
    Ive looked at the consotiums website, but havnt been able to find anything usefull.
    Reply
  • Milleman - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    "Your inputs are connected wirelessly to the TV via a 60GHz signal..."

    That's a lot of Hertz. I didn't think 60 GHz was possible to produce with todays semiconductor technology.
    Reply
  • Stampede103 - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    Does any one know of a netbook that is using Nvidia's Tegra 600 line of processors? Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    When a netbook can play YouTube on the HQ setting without stuttering, I'll get one.

    I still like the HP one with the nice sized keyboard. If they used a Nano or Dual core Atom with Ion, this problem would be solved.
    Reply
  • Denithor - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    quote:

    The standard is WirelessHD. Your inputs are connected wirelessly to the TV via a 60GHz signal, capable of transmitting full bandwidth 1080p60 at a distance of up to 30 feet.


    Really?
    Reply
  • Jynx980 - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    I thought that was really high as well. The closest thing I know of would be wireless phones with 5.8 GHz. This is more than 10x that amount so it seemed out of whack.

    I assume that WirelessHD will support HDCP, but it only states that it supports Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) in the wiki link. Another protection to worry about.

    I like reading about TV stuff. Was there a Vizio booth at all? I would like to see their lineup for '09. Although the line is blurred more each year between TV and PC monitors, I wish there were more focus on PC monitors. It doesn't seem like there has been much innovation in this area.
    Reply

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