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Wireless HD Interface Protocol - Is a Format War in the Works?

by July 23, 2008
or WHDI... or Flywire... Here we go again.

or WHDI... or Flywire... Here we go again.

A bevy of names in consumer electronics have announced the formation of a consortium called Wireless HD Interface (WHDI) dedicated to the creation of a protocol that’ll send HD audio and video through the air. Meanwhile WHDI absent companies have already joined another bandwagon called WiHD. Can we take another format war?

Among the names putting muscle behind the new standards are Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony. Belkin, the company that has already created its own HD wireless solution called Flywire, may yet make an important addition to the group at a later date. Flywire is a very similar technology that will be available in October 2008.

The group’s stated mission is the improvement of WHDI technology along with lofty deadlines for completion and launch of products using this global protocol by 2009. This probably a lot of overtime for tech-developers among participating firms.

Once the protocol is complete it’ll be an extra feature when you shop for HDTVs, Projectors or audio/video sources. You’ll have the option of buying products from the consortium members with the technology built right into the unit.

The new technology will be based on a chip by Amimon, the company that has been working on this master-plan for some time and its industry support is starting to gain steam. Amimon says its wireless video-modem technology is revolutionary. Its documentation explains how the video coding and modulation are jointly optimized for HD video to enable capabilities far beyond those of traditional wireless data modems. Amimon’s wireless modems will send uncompressed HD 1080P/24 video at 120 Hz refresh rates.

The new technology will use frequencies in the 5.1GHz through 5.8GHz range and provides secure, encrypted signals up to 100-feet and is capable of passing through walls and other obstacles. Unfortunately since this is an unlicensed slice of wireless bandwidth it might be susceptible to some local interference, much like any Wi-Fi router. Try setting this up in an apartment or condo with lots of Wi-Fi and cordless phone enabled neighbors and you’ll have to play with your WHDI settings to find a nice quiet band.

Belkin’s Flywire and Sony BRAVIA Wireless HD Link are examples of pre-standard products. Flywire will operate in much the same way as the upcoming protocol with the use of a video-modem to deliver uncompressed HD video. An important goal of manufacturers is that the new protocol work with all brands and any conceivable technology that has of wireless streaming multi-channel audio and HD video.

The strongest argument for WHDI is its interoperability between very large consumer electronics manufacturers and their devices. For us format war-weary fans of the latest in consumer electronics it would be appreciated if we could get some widespread consistency in such an important development. Sadly, there are a few notable holdouts to the new WHDI consortium, like non-member Panasonic which backs another plan.

Possible competition for WHDI could come from WirelessHD (WiHD) which is already a little ahead of wireless HD video game with a version 1.0. Matsushita is already a WiHD backer along with LG, Intel and NEC. Are the consumer electronics giants preparing for another costly format war?

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

niget2002 posts on July 24, 2008 10:31
Does this mean in the future we'll be able to buy speakers with buil-in amps and recievers that can automagically recieve their data straight from the DVD player? All I'll need is 5 (7 or 11) speakers and my WHDI capable Blue-Ray DVD player. Will my projector be able to parse out the video too?

I think that'd finally nail the WAF issue to the wall and allow me to setup a nice cable-less setup.

Buy a new device… stick it in the rack… setup the frequency and away you go!
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