The Best Thing at CES - Intel's Wireless HD Technologyby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 7, 2010 4:30 PM EST
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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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RugbyChix - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkAs someone who is in charge of dozen smart rooms and the associated technology at a large public university, I can tell you this technology is a toy.
Even after having our building outfitted with enterprise class draft N 2.0 routers I do not connect our meeting room technology through those systems. Students and academics love their smartphones and if you have a room of 50 people and 20 connect to that router while you're running latency sensitive application...bad things happen in my experience.
Video over IP has existed for a long time...this is simply an integrate digital video over wireless IP solution. Unless you plan on creating a dedicated wireless network just for this purpose, configuring all the other routers in the area to work in a different wireless channel, I would let this one go. Unless you would like dropped videos packet during a major presentation.
Besides, the installed base of analog only projectors is pretty high. And in many conference/classroom/presentation environments they use extron or extron like wall plates to make connecting technology fairly easy.
psychobriggsy - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkA HDMI cable (or VGA and audio cables) is cheaper than a $99 adaptor, or the new 802.11n router that you'll need (or does it do this ad-hoc, and if so, do you need to wifi chips in your laptop to remain connected to your home network?).
The VGA cable will give better quality than this compression technology. If it can stream video, then I presume it is compressing the display using H.264 or similar, and the receiver is decompressing. No excuse to not support 1080p now either.
It's nothing amazing really.
KeypoX - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkeven more not amazing about this is that many new tvs already have this built in for free, ethernet plugs.
Wireless is nice but not worth the tradeoffs just yet. Early adapters have fun :).
Chlorus - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - linkI think you've completely missed the point of it being wireless. This sounds great if it can be easily used with projectors.
MadMan007 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkSometimes I think people get a little too much e-wood over wireless just like they do over touchscreens.m
akse - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkYeah, not like you have to make backflips with your laptop while watching a movie or something.
taltamir - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkI agree...
wired is cheaper, faster, better quality, more secure...
Frankly wireless is a huge downgrade from wired, the only reason to run wireless is if, for some reason, you can not run wired. In places where there is no ready access this can be justified, but usually it is a waste of money, time, effort, and quality.
flashbacck - Monday, January 11, 2010 - linkThis is just the first generation implementation. You expecting it to destroy wired standards immediately?
mmendoza27 - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - linkSeems like a great idea and it's well thought out, but one of the things I appreciate is the fact that I can push 1080p and 5.1 audio from an MKV I'm watching to my TV. Even if it is through cables.
wicko - Friday, January 8, 2010 - linkFor me, I would use this to hook up my desktop to the living room TV, a few rooms away. No HTPC needed, just a good wireless keyboard and mouse.