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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  • sxr7171 - Friday, January 15, 2010 - link

    Sure it's good for showing pictures and some lower resolution videos, but I wouldn't have it replace a boxee or anything. I mean the two solutions are for different audiences. The Boxee can handle Blu-Ray quality material and this tech downrezes and transcodes. Neither are acceptable to the target market of a Boxee.

    It will hit 1080p one day but again there will be transcoding. It will be great when quality doesn't matter so much though. It's nice to have, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.
  • SFNR1 - Thursday, January 14, 2010 - link

    is audio supported? hope so.
  • jmurbank - Thursday, January 14, 2010 - link

    Like others have mention this device is not cool because it is already been done. You think it cool because it came from Intel. One technology that makes this happen is VNC or X Window System (X11). Intel just created a similar technology and re-branded as theirs. VNC such as TightVNC can already do this and the network does not matter. It will be better to create an HDMI+DVI to ATSC converter. Then all the user needs to do is tune to the desire channel. Since everything is in digital, nothing is reduced. Also no processing power is used because it takes the signals from either HDMI or DVI and converts them to ATSC which today's TV have. At this time all stations should have been converted to ATSC anyways. When will Intel stop being a copy-cat and start being innovative.
  • rs1 - Sunday, January 10, 2010 - link

    Not everything that "just works" is "Apple-like".
  • sxr7171 - Sunday, January 17, 2010 - link

    It's just not MS-like. I was a big fan of Win 7 until I discovered it is POS as is typical of MS. Server execution failed, jumbo frames doesn't work, network drivers cause disconnection, WMC crashes -> it's the same crapware just jazzed up again. I can't stand Apple's "walled garden" but sometimes it seems preferable to MS's pure garbageware.
  • Donkey2008 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Umm, this is all great but I already have an IOGear wireless video adaptor that does the EXACT SAME THING. It cost me $129 at F*y's and I easily stream 720p to my 42" LCD and I can use up to 1680x1050 native rez. Yes, it isn't "built-in" to my laptop, but seeing as the USB adaptor is about the size of a memory stick (plus a small antenna), that matters little.

    So, how exactly is this "new" technology? I'm just saying.
  • drpete - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    i was all, 'yeah this is cool cuz i hook my netbook up via hdmi presently and cable are for nancys'

    then i was all, wtf does lauras bf know about shit. hes just couchboulder v.2
  • Booty - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    ...because, to me, it just seems "cool".

    It would be okay, as some have mentioned, for the office. Set these up in boardrooms, etc. Except... we had wireless KVMs installed when we built our new HQ and they suck. Bad. We ended up tearing up the floor and running cables from the AV equipment up into the center of the tables. It "just works". :)

    For home... I don't see the point at all. Now you have to use your laptop as your "remote"...? I mean, I wouldn't run that way wired OR wireless. I'll take my HTPC (or any set-top device) with a remote any day... whip out the wireless keyboard when/if necessary. If this feature made its way to netbooks, that might help, but... I just don't see it.

    Plus... your laptop batteries won't last forever. So at some point, you end up plugging into the wall anyway. I really don't see this as a set-top box "killer" at all.

    Wired, in my opinion, will always be the way to go. Wireless is great when you don't have another option, but there's a reason I just ran CAT6 through our new house.
  • Randog77 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    I just wanted to say this has been basically out for a while. Its called the Sling Catcher! Only it works even better! Just draw a box around what you want to send to your TV and it sends it there. Works wonderfully!
    (I just set up 2 of these for my parents and they work great) I just wish they had WiFi built in I had to use a WiFi bridge for them.
  • aapocketz - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    [quote]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.[/quote]

    Its been more my experience from trade shows that often the demos work flawlessly, because everything has been carefully setup and tested and the variables are controlled. It gets you excited about the possibilities. When you actually get the technology you find out how limited it is in a more dynamic environment.

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