Hopefully it won't be another HD DVD/Blu-ray situation: Several consumer electronics companies have partnered to develop a technology that could deliver high-definition video wirelessly to television sets, but the technology will compete against another proposed standards. Sony, Samsung, Motorola, Sharp, and Hitachi have formed a group that will focus on further developing technology known as Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI), the companies announced on Wednesday.
WHDI was created by Israel-based Amimon Ltd., which is also participating in the group, and is also backed heavily by Motorola. Of the companies in the consortium, Sharp will be one of the first to roll out WHDI in its TVs. Theoretically, the technology can support data rates of up to three gigabits per second, which is more than enough to send uncompressed high-definition signals over the air. WHDI operates in the unlicensed portion of the 5GHz spectrum, and has a range of right around 100 feet.
Helping the technology get off the ground will be its low cost. According to Amimon, WHDI-enabled sets will only cost about $100 more than a set without the technology. Both Amimon and its partners will work towards getting a standard finalized during this year. The goal is to ensure interoperability between devices, and enable WHDI to be used in a variety of devices other than TV sets, including A/V receivers, disc players, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, and PCs.
"The development of the new standard will ensure that when consumers purchase CE devices and take them home, they will enjoy a fast, easy and hassle-free wireless connection that delivers the highest quality," Amimon chairman and CEO Dr. Yoav Nissan-Cohen said in a statement.
WHDI will being going up against other technologies designed to stream high-definition signals are in development, including WirelessHD, a project of SiBEAM. WirelessHD is backed by Toshiba, Sony (which says it wants to keep its options open), LG, and Intel.
A major difference between WirelessHD and WHDI, however, is that the later takes a unique approach to keeping bandwidth usage low, a requirement of being in the 5GHz spectrum. This fact has led Motorola to solely back WHDI, saying it was impressed with the "extremely unique" technology. Instead of compressing the data, WHDI gives priority to what it feels are the important parts of the video stream, while potentially dropping other aspects that a viewer may not see anyway.
Monster Cable, meanwhile, recently announced a wireless HD solution for the home utilizing technology from Sigma. Another option for streaming HD video is ultra-wideband, more commonly referred to as UWB. That standard, however, has a limited range that essentially limits it to devices that are close to each other.