Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Wi-Fi N and WHDI Battle for Wireless HDTV Across Your Home

Today semiconductor Amimon announced its new WHDI 2.0 chipset, that will enable compatible hardware to transmit 1080p video 100 feet around your home. At the same time, research by In-Stat suggests that the technology will be beaten by standard 802.11 N Wi-Fi.

Amimon has been playing the the wireless HD signals field for a while, but the new Wireless Home Digital Interface 2.0 chips it's working on are the pinnacle so far. They're capable of transmitting a full 1080p high-definition video signal with less than 1 millisecond latency. The idea is that dongles to transmit and receive HD data could be on sale for $200 to $300 "within a year," and Amimon plans to launch the chipset at a $10 price point, down from its suggested $45.

In-Stat's research, meanwhile, acknowledges that WHDI has a number of advantages in this technology space—chief among them is the simple chip-set based transmit/receive design that requires no particular video codecs to be used. But the research points out that WHDI is new, relatively expensive, and a "power hungry" technology. That's exactly where the gargantuan user-install base of the 802.11 wireless standard has a massive advantage.

Millions of people are using the Wi-Fi standard in their home networks, and slowly, a migration to Wi-Fi N technology is happening, thanks to its greater speed and increased range over the older B and G standards. It's possible to transmit HDTV over Wi-Fi N, given the right codec-compression hardware at either end of the link, and In-Stat argues that for the next few years people will use that as a solution instead of WHDI, or its competitor Ultra Wide Band or WirelessHD standards.

Why should we care about this? Because the current designs of HDTVs and video sources require you to hook them up with bulky and expensive HDMI cabling. It's a solution that works well, but often creates an inelegant mess of wiring, and limits how home theater set-ups can be arranged. With wireless HD at the right low price, consumers would be able to easily and cheaply set up wire-free connections between set-top boxes, or games consoles, or other devices and HDTVs.

[via DVice