The networked home is in a TV - maybe

For years consumers – and plenty of TV experts – have assumed that the so-called networked home would be some sort of electronic box sitting in a space under the stairs or in the den and effortlessly doing its magic by sending various signals to the different sets around the home. That might still be true for some upscale homes, but Mitsubishi has another idea, that’s cheaper and it works.
Mitsubishi’s easy solution has been to equip its latest all-singing, all dancing, ultra-slim LCD TV with wireless WHDI technology. The WHDI spec requires devices to be able to communicate with other suitably-equipped sets up to about 100ft away and – obviously – to manage to bridge the gap without wires. Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Sharp and led by the technology’s developers Amimon, are just some of the well-known names backing WHDI. Amimon established the consortium barely a month ago.

However, for absolute clarity’s sake, this quite beautiful TV set (pictured, above) needs not one but TWO set-top boxes to drive it and the system. The end result is an ultra-thin 40mm set that takes its signals wirelessly from the nearby boxes.

WHDI says the intention of the project is to enhance the current WHDI technology to enable wireless streaming of uncompressed HD video and audio between CE devices such as LCD and plasma HDTVs, multimedia projectors, A/V receivers, DVD and BD players, set-top boxes (STBs), game consoles, and PCs. The new interoperable standard aims to ensure that CE devices manufactured by different vendors will simply and directly connect to one another.

“WHDI technology complements other wireless and wired standards with a new class of connectivity within the home,” said Dr. David Lee, the founder of the HDMI standard and a member of Amimon’s board of directors. “WHDI’s connectivity matrix introduces to consumers new possibilities to enjoy their high-definition entertainment network.”

WHDI supports delivery of equivalent video data rates of up to 3Gbps (including uncompressed 1080p) in a 40MHz channel in the 5GHz unlicensed band, conforming to FCC regulations. “Equivalent video data rates of up to 1.5Gbps (including uncompressed 1080i and 720p) can be delivered on a single 20MHz channel in the 5GHz unlicensed band, conforming to worldwide 5GHz spectrum regulations. Range is beyond 100 feet, through walls, and latency is less than one millisecond,” says Amimon.

There’s no price yet, and the set will be initially available in Japan (with full 1080p HDTV). Then all the viewer has to do is to find space for the two WHDI boxes. Perhaps in a space under the stairs or in the den!