The focus on ‘lifestyle' design that seems to be driving so much of the innovation in the TV world right now is leading, too, to another long overdue improvement for 2009: wireless HD transmission. This kicks off any day now with the oft-mentioned Sony 40ZX1 TV, which uses a high-speed RF transmission system to distribute 1080i video wirelessly from HD sources into the TV. You just connect all your HD sources to the media receiver, and their signals are then passed on to the TV without the need for a single cable connection between the TV and the receiver.
Clearly this is a hugely appealing feature to anyone, provided it works well and doesn't damage the integrity of the video quality. With this in mind, it's a pity that the Sony system, according to the spec we've been given, only supports 1080i, not the 1080p/24 system we like our Blu-ray decks to send out. But we'll reserve judgment until we've actually had chance to see what the TV can do.
LG is promising wireless connectivity on its first LED set in the latter half of the year, too, and Panasonic says there's a possibility that its own, long-demoed wireless system could become a practical reality before by Christmas.
Perhaps the greatest hurdle to Wireless HD becoming the widespread feature we'd all like it to be is the existence of a minor format war. For while there do appear to be genuine efforts to gather all the manufacturers around a single technology, at the moment various manufacturers are working with RF systems, ‘bouncing beam' systems and even laser transmission systems, diluting the R&D process and making the concept seem still too experimental for Joe Public to fully trust.