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WiHD boys signal imminent arrival of 'wireless HDMI' tech

WirelessHD 1.0 ready for implementation

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The companies behind the Wireless HD (WiHD) standard - Intel, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, LG, Matsushita and NEC among them - have completed the first full version of the specification.

WiHD delivers 4Gb/s data transfers via the globally unlicensed 60GHz band of the spectrum and was developed to provide a way of connecting HD content sources and screens cordlessly. Think HDMI without the wires and with a little of Wi-Fi mixed in.

The specification defines not only a way of transmitting HD content but also of keeping it free from duplication. WiHD devices should be capable of locating each other, negotiating links between them and sussing out what each can do. Universal remote control functionality is part of the package too.

The WiHD 1.0 spec will shortly go out to companies who've already signed up as Adapters and Promoters, the technology's major backers said. On receipt of the spec, they'll be able to begin working on products that will be able to support the technology, with a view to running interoperability testing at some point in the future, though as yet there's no public timetable for it.

The WiHD organisation has, however, begun work on its compliance programme and testing scheme, along with the obligatory product logo.

WiHD was launched back in November 2006 with a view to getting the 1.0 specification out by Spring 2007. They're a little way behind schedule, but these things usually take longer than anticipated.

What's not clear is whether we actually need WiHD. Its PC equivalent, Wireless USB hasn't yet set the world alight, largely because cabling is easy to use and, more to the point, cheap. HDMI isn't inexpensive, but if there's a serious rival out there, it's like likely to become less pricey.

What cables can't do is permit users to roam around the home, screen in hand, watching and listening as they go. However, 802.11n Wi-Fi can do that and is already available and ready to be used.

The WiHD folks' pitch is that their offering will do all of these things with a single technology, but there's still an element of reinventing the wheel here.

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