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7/23/2010
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Wireless HD Technology Developing Slowly

Wireless home digital interface and wireless gigabit are "the next frontier in consumer electronic connectivity" but chip vendors remain focused on creating and updating specs according to In-Stat.

Don't expect to get rid of that maze of wires behind your television any time soon. Slow progress is being made in the wireless high-definition chip market so far this year, according to research firm In-Stat, but it will eventually allow for high-bandwidth wireless technologies that can transmit HD video streams.

Technologies like wireless home digital interface (WHDI), WirelessHD and wireless gigabit (WiGig) are "the next frontier in consumer electronic connectivity," according to In-Stat. However, they are still in the early stages, and In-Stat says that presently, chip vendors are focused on creating and updating specs while also working with customers and potential customers on designs.

There are many similarities between the WHDI and WirelessHD specifications as both were created by startup fabless chip vendors as proprietary HD-capable wireless chips with the consumer electronics market in mind. The chip vendors' focus right now is on working to build standards organizations that will lure CE vendors and PC OEMS to using their technology, In-Stat said.

There are also striking differences between the two technologies, the firm noted, and WHDI is very similar to Wi-Fi. Offered by Israeli fabless semiconductor company AMIMON, WHDI also uses 5GHz unlicensed spectrum band of uncompressed HD video streams. The WHDI, LLC trade group has announced its 1.0 specification in the past year, and its 2.0 specification is due out in 2011, In-Stat said. WHDI has potential to be used in flat-panel plasma, LCD and LED HDTVs due to ship this year.

California-based SiBeam, which is leading the way in 60GHz technology, according to In-Stat, is focused on WirelessHD. "SiBeam has developed a viable technology quickly, an impressive feat considering the lack of commercial wireless technology in that frequency,'' In-Stat said. It too is targeting HDTVs first and then other consumer electronics. Earlier this year the company was chosen by Vizio, to integrate WirelessHD into three of its HDTV sets, the firm noted. Another 60GHz technology, WiGig, was introduced in 2009, and is the "laggard in the wireless HD video technology market," In-Stat said. It has taken a broader-based approach by forming a group of several large, diverse technology companies all dedicated to developing a 60GHz technology that can be used in the PC, CE and mobile markets, In-Stat said, rather than developing a proprietary chip technology. However, the WiGig Alliance, whose members include Broadcom, Dell, Intel, LG, Microsoft, NEC, Nokia, NXP, Panasonic and Samsumg, is focusing more on PCs than its competitors, In-Stat said. WiGig's 60GHz standard will be used as the basis of a future WiFi standard, the WiGig and WiFi alliances said in May. The WiGig 1.0 specification was finalized in December 2009 and by 2011, chips should be available, In-Stat said, followed by WiGig-enabled products.

"For the most part, the market for wireless HD video technologies will be slow to develop,'' In-Stat said in a statement, "WHDI and WirelessHD are relatively new, expensive, power-hungry technologies that are being promoted by start-ups, which is not generally a recipe for quick market success." In the next three to five years, In-Stat predicts they will be slowly adopted, the firm said.

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