CES 2009: WirelessHD Inches Ever Closer

Not to be confused with Wireless HDMI - though it undoubtedly will be.

Remember when Blu-ray and HD DVD totally confused the average consumer and little progressive happened until one format ultimately won out? Well, it’s about to happen again, just sans wires.

In fact, this time around it will be even more confusing thanks to the near-identical names between the two similar – if not identical in terms of functionality – offerings. They are ‘Wireless HDMI’ and ‘WirelessHD’, yep – oh dear.

In short the former is targeted at cutting down our Home Cinema cable clutter while the latter is a high bandwidth wireless technology ”capable” of streaming raw Full High Definition footage and data. In fact it has enough of a pipeline to potentially handle over 4Gbps, so what’s the what in 2009?

Well dropping in on WirelessHD had a certain sense of déjà vu about it since yet another year rolls by and we’re still without a retail product. That said, the list of partners continues to grow impressively and includes the likes of Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, LG, Panasonic, Intel, NEC, Sharp, Pioneer, Denon and more. Problem is, Wireless HDMI is equally loved and don’t even get me started on 802.11.x…

As for the tech, well we did see an actual working (if roped off) setup which illustrated raw uncompressed 1080p footage working flawlessly from a distance of about 7m (something my Ricoh Caplio R7 and its 28mm equivalent wide angle lens only ”just” caught). Furthermore, it was claimed when ready that WirelessHD will add only a small premium to devices and one it would expect manufacturers to swallow quickly.

So have we seen a glimpse of the future at CES 2009? Yes in terms of functionality, but at this stage it remains impossible to know whether WirelessHD will be the long term technology behind it…

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