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New Consortium Looks to Wireless Future

HD continues to spawn consumer electronics special interest groups looking to make HD signal distribution in the home more ubiquitous and user-friendly. But the latest group is doing more than looking to make it easier to wire a home for HD: it’s looking to leave the wires behind.

WirelessHD, an initiative begun by LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic), NEC Corporation, Samsung Electrconics, SiBeam, Sony and Toshiba Corporation, intends to enable high-definition audio/video streaming and high-speed content transmission for consumer electronics devices.

“The value proposition is to bring consumers the best picture quality by using available 60 GHz spectrum to download uncompressed data,” says Lianne Caetano, WirelessHD executive director.

The group is working on establishing a set of guidelines by next spring that will allow for wireless data rates of 2-5 Gbps and, eventually, reaching a speed as high as 20 Gbps, allowing for delivery to larger screens with more color depth and range. It will use unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum and smart antenna technology to overcome line-of-sight constraints.

“We initially envision the technology being embedded as a module within an HDTV set that can both receive and transmit data,” she says. “We’ve been working quietly on this for about a year but now we’re looking to find other companies who want to participate and contribute to the spec or help finalizedetails.”

While the early focus is on in-room, point-to-point video of up to 10 meters other applications, including transmission over multiple rooms or in automobiles, are in the works.

“The morass of cables in the living room will dissipate,” says Caetano. “And instead of having the spaghetti of cables in the living room you’ll be able to have some devices hooked up via HDMI cable while others, like a digital video camera or DVR, can send signals wirelessly.”