Ok, I'm pretty sure I just saw the coolest thing at CES. The eReaders, Smartbooks, eReader Netbooks, etc... are neat but I haven't seen anything I'd actually like to buy yet. Even Microsoft's Slate PC announcement was a disappointment. But this next thing is pretty sweet.

It's called Intel Wireless HD technology and it works like this. Press a button on your notebook and within a matter of seconds the notebook will wirelessly send its display over to your TV.

The communication happens via 802.11n and requires a receiving box hooked up to your TV. Your screen is sent compressed and up/downscaled to 720p, regardless of source resolution. The box is super tiny as it's basically a decoder chip and HDMI output.

CPU utilization on a Core i5 540M is basically around 15 - 20% while you're streaming your desktop to a TV (all of the compression is done on the CPU). Streaming YouTube HD only took about 5Mbps of network bandwidth. It looked quite good and I didn't see any noticeable compression artifacts. The latter may appear for higher bitrate content or on very large TVs, but for browsing the web, using applications, watching Hulu and most other video it more than works. Intel just killed the reason for most of the Boxee-like devices I've seen at CES. And it's only the beginning.

Intel calls it a game changer. I call it the best thing I've seen at CES.

It basically means that you can walk around with your notebook and put Hulu, YouTube, your desktop apps or games on your TV at the push of a button. Currently the wireless link doesn't support HDCP so it won't send Blu-ray video wirelessly, but everything else works. The first generation only supports a 720p output (your desktop res can be whatever, the software automatically compresses and scales the output on the fly). The next generation of the technology will support 1080p and eventually we'll have HDCP support as well.

The receiver box is currently only made by Netgear and will ship bundled with three notebooks starting January 17th at Bestbuy. Additional Intel Wireless HD receivers will retail for $99. Intel showed us a demo on a Sony notebook but I believe Dell and Lenovo will also support the technology.

The demo worked flawlessly when I saw it. I hate to keep saying this but it just worked. It's amazingly Apple-like to be honest. It's something I definitely want on my next notebook.

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  • wildcat293 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    I think a lot of you are missing that you need a supported laptop to use this. The current list is 3 according to Netgear

    Dell: Studio 15z
    Sony: VAIO VPCS111FM/S
    Toshiba: Satellite® E205

    So as far as I can tell you can't just get this $99 adapter and install some software on any old laptop.

    It's still a neat little device!
  • GTaudiophile - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    ...that if one spends too much time sitting between laptop and TV the chances of getting brain cancer increase by 200%. Oh wait, our cell phones already do that :)
  • hyc - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    I have trouble with dropouts just trying to stream DVD-resolution video from my server downstairs to my TV upstairs over 802.11g. Under good conditions I'd get a steady 2.9MB/sec throughput, which was enough for an MPEG2 transport stream, but there are so many other 802.11b networks around my neighbors that there's always interference trashing the signal.

    Now you want to stream an HD video from a notebook to a TV over 802.11n? I guess that's doable if the video is already on the local drive, but if you're simultaneously streaming it onto the notebook from Hulu or some other content site, nah, forget it. In the real world this is just going to be an exercise in frustration.
  • JohanDevos - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Full Wireless HD (1080p) + HDCP + integrated in TV already exists in the Panasonic TX-P46Z1E

    See (german) test at

  • beginner99 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    This can not replace a "Boxee-like" media player like the WD TV. First this netgear thing seems huge probably bigger than the wd tv istself (it's tiny) and no 1080p. Basically what you to is replace the remote with a like 100x times bigger and heavier thing called notebook.

    And any person that actually buys a "Boxee like" thingy probably knows where to get content. No need for Hulu. Not to mention that some devices support it and/or youtube if you connect them to a network.

    Might be usefull for beamers/projectors that are mounted on the celling but else?
  • Dobs - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    Engadget story on Infinitec Ad-hoc streaming device:

    Interested to hear what other AnandTech readers think is the best thing from CES 2010?
  • semo - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    like i've said in my previous post, I don't see this as the greatest thing at CES.

    "For me it must be USB 3. One interface to rule them all essentially. No more choosing between eSATA, USB 2 or firewire and fiddling with separate power cables since the spec allows for more power than USB2. Also we have a fresh new line SSDs."

    Great for consumers and pros alike.
  • KeithP - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    I will step out on a limb and make a prediction, Apple's tablet will have this technology built-in. Of course, Apple being Apple will force you to buy the receiver separately if you want to use it.

  • GeorgeH - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    Wireless VGA adapters and the like have been around for a while; here’s a video of one such device taken over a year ago:

    Beyond the integration into the laptop aspect (yay, fewer dongles!) I'm not seeing the super-duper wow factor here. If they had launched with HDCP, 1080p, and decent audio I would have been impressed - as it is, not so much.
  • Lemonjellow - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Best Buy sells a wireless 720p video adapter under either the Rocket Fish or Monster brands... What I think makes this one Anand is talking about so different is the fact that everything except the receiver is currently integrated into the laptop... It requires very little effort to make it function... And it operates over an existing 802.11N with a small, for transmitting video, bandwidth requirement...

    To truly make this technology even more interesting I'd prefer to have the receiver integrated into the TV as well, but then that is wishful thinking...

    I could easily see this being very useful in a classroom and business environment where Jimmy from accounting can throw up his nifty video presentation of why the company needs to stop buying so many pencils and switch to ball points... Then instantly turn around and walk into his night class where he can use the same presentation to wow his masters level accounting class all by just hitting a button on his laptop... (Assuming the receivers are already there)

    Which he then accidentally hits and displays his rousing game of Torchlight on the big screen behind his prof. as he tries to entertain himself during a boring lecture about the apparent effect of using a pencil on the 1040 EZ forms instead of ball point pens...

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