WHDI: The New Wireless HDMI Frontier?

Wouldn’t the world be a better wireless place if we could enjoy high definition audio and video without cluttering the home media room with yards of cable? It certainly would be nice to be able to relax and not stare at the rat’s nest sitting behind your television. One upcoming wireless solution which hopes to bring this home entertainment dream to reality is called WHDI and is being offered by a company named Amimon.

WHDI, which stands for Wireless High Definition Interface, is seen by Amimon co-founder and vice president of marketing and business development Noam Geri as being a dream come true for those wanting to enjoy the next threshold in home entertainment pleasure.

“A void until today is in the entire space of connecting displays to sources,” explained Geri during a phone interview with Digital Trends. “In the wired world most displays are connected to media sources with connections such as DVI and HDMI. We are doing a wireless version of the most common instances of wired connections.”

The goal of WHDI, continued Geri, is to establish a wireless standard which is capable of delivering uncompressed high definition video and audio across an effective range of 100 to 150 feet from a source, such as a PC or DVD player, to a display, such as a flat panel. The video in particular is delivered uncompressed due to a combination of content security and compatibility issues related to compressed video and video sources.

WHDI features the same bandwidth as DVI, HDMI, VGA and Component video, in a wireless solution

Phase 1 of the WHDI implentation requires the use of dongles, Phase 2 includes WHDI technology
built into the CE product

WHDI doesn’t seem like it is a new idea when you consider the existence of current wireless standards like 802.11. However Geri said WHDI is capable of supporting very high uncompressed video rates which are much higher than your garden variety Wi-Fi connection can handle.

“The only reason why it hasn’t been done until today,” said Geri, “is very high rates of video information. [We support] ten times more than what can be supported by other wireless standards.”

Amimon, in conjunction with Sanyo, plans to demonstrate its wireless HDTV technology at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show. Sanyo will be showing off what is billed as “the world’s first wireless high definition projector” at their booth. The projector is embedded with WHDI and will let viewers see HD content wirelessly being displayed in all of its glory from a HD-DVD player.

Sanyo Demonstration

Sanyo Demonstration
The Sanyo Wireless Projector Prototype using WHDI Technology

As Amimon is a technology provider and not an actual traditional CE company, you shouldn’t expect to see any products with their brand name appearing on store shelves. They will instead be working with CE manufacturers like Sanyo to embed their technology in a multiple phase launch. The first phase, scheduled for later this year, will involve the release of special dongles with appropriate video connectors which attach to a media source and display. These dongles will create the wireless bridge which gaps the two devices.

In the next phase, which Geri said could happen by end of the year, Amimon hopes to get CE manufacturers to actually embed the WHDI technology in displays which would be marketed to consumers. A dongle would still be needed on the media source end, though the long term goal – phase three if you will – is to get WHDI as an industry standard so that it is embedded on both ends and external attachments are no longer necessary.

Are consumers really ready though for another technology to hassle with in an era of Blu-ray, HD-DVD, HDMI and other buzz words? Geri seems to think so provided WHDI is marketed in a way which shoppers will understand.

“It will only be yes if it is a technology that has a look and feel of the other connections they are familiar with,” said Geri. “HDMI is pretty much on all new TVs – if we are providing a similar look and feel of this, then consumers will be ready to accept this.”

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