Skip to main content

Keep cable but lose the box with VidiPath, a new wireless way to watch

dlna vidipath one box transmits cable mobile devices tvs gaming consoles wireless
Image used with permission by copyright holder
So-called “TV Everywhere” apps from cable providers make it easier to check out your favorite shows on mobile devices, but services are usually very limited, and you still need a separate box for each TV. But what if everything available on your cable box could be transmitted throughout the home to every connected device on your network? That’s the idea behind VidiPath, a new wireless protocol from the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).

As reported by Twice, the DLNA’s new system is currently in the works, and it’s getting some major attention from big players in the industry, including cable giants Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox, as well as Sony, Samsung, and Broadcom, which assisted with development. The three cable providers have reportedly said they will offer Vidipath-equipped set-top boxes in the near future that will serve as the hub of your wireless cable setup.

The VidiPath protocol is designed to allow for the broadcast of a cable stream over Wi-Fi to make everything from your cable provider, including programming and even channel guide data, available to watch on VidiPath-equipped devices such as “TVs, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and more.” The system aims to eliminate the need for all those coax cables running through your walls, and make paying monthly rent for extra cable boxes a thing of the past.

It’s a pretty enticing concept: Everyone in the house watching a personal HD stream on any device, all delivered from a single transmission box.

Which products will incorporate VidiPath remains to be seen. Apple, for instance, snubs DLNA’s existing network streaming protocol in favor of its own (extremely stable) version, AirPlay. And you can bet Apple likely won’t be lining up to get certified for VidiPath, either.

We spoke with DLNA’s Donna Moore to find out more about the system, including what kind of devices will get VidiPath certification from DLNA, and when we can expect to see them. After beginning a certification program in September that includes “rigorous interoperability testing,” Moore told us the first approved VidiPath devices will begin hitting the market as early as the second quarter of this year.

As you might imagine, the transition will be a gradual one, as current DLNA devices won’t have all the features necessary to receive or transmit VidiPath. That means you’ll have to replace your current devices if you want to use a VidiPath system. But the changeover may not be as painful as you’d think. As Moore explains, that transition happens “surprisingly” faster than expected. Most users naturally replace their smartphones every two years, on average, and in the 7-8 years or so since the original DLNA protocol was introduced, there have been over 4 billion DLNA equipped devices put into the marketplace.

And although TVs have a much longer shelf life than smartphones, that’s where streaming boxes, consoles, and “other” devices come in. While Moore wouldn’t disclose which manufacturers are working on what, she did mention that making a TV VidiPath compatible could be as easy (and presumably as affordable) as purchasing a streaming stick similar to a Chromecast, Roku Stick, or Amazon Fire TV streaming stick, which DLNA has seen in development.

In addition, Moore told us “there are (game) consoles that I know of that will be VidiPath certified as well.” With Sony in the mix, it’s not a stretch to assume the PS4 could incorporate the technology. And DLNA Marketing Manager Katie Gengler also hinted that TV manufacturers are looking into firmware updates that could potentially make some existing smart TVs compatible with VidiPath. While we’re still waiting for the VidiPath veil to be lifted, it appears the protocol will hit the ground running once it premieres in the next few months.

In the midst of the streaming revolution, in which online video consumption is set to eclipse traditional pay-TV this year, and cable companies make headlines on the regular for their awful customer service, VidiPath could help to breathe some essential vitality into the aging status quo. No apps, no wires, no extra cable boxes, just a steady stream of HD programming beamed throughout the home. Whether you’re a cable stalwart, or a cord-cutter, that proposition is pretty intriguing.

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Waniata
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Waniata is a multi-year veteran of the digital media industry, a lover of all things tech, audio, and TV, and a…
Meze’s new in-ear monitors are just $159 and come with their own DAC
Meze Alba in-ear monitors.

Meze Audio, the Romanian company known for its high-end, audiophile headphones and wired in-ear monitors (IEMs) that often cost thousands of dollars, has just announced its most affordable product yet, the $159 Meze Alba. The Alba possess the same distinct, curvy design as some of Meze's more expensive models, and use similar materials like zinc alloy and anodized aluminum.

Editor's note: an earlier version of this article claimed the price of the Meze Audio Alba was $149. This has been corrected.

Read more
Best Walmart TV deals: 43-inch 4K TV for $195 and more
lg 55 inch oled 4k tvs deal walmart class b8 tv

Many of the best TV deals can be found among the current Amazon TV deals and Best Buy TV deals, but Walmart has a lot of savings going on right now as well. Among the TV deals you’ll find at Walmart right now are 65-inch TV deals, 70-inch TV deals, 75-inch TV deals, 85-inch TV deals, and more. We’ve handpicked some of the best Walmart TV deals, and you’ll find all of those details below. Among them are both QLED TV deals and OLED TV deals, and while Walmart doesn’t carry any Sony TV deals or TCL TV deals there are still plenty to choose from and they’re highlighted by some Samsung TV deals, LG TV deals, and Vizio TV deals.
Hisense 43-inch 4K Roku TV -- $195, was $289

One of the best TV brands for value, Hisense is worth checking out, particularly with its Hisense 43-inch Roku 4K TV. A great size for the price, you get all the benefits of a 4K resolution along with HDR and Motion Rate support. The latter means you won't have to worry about motion blur while you play a game or watch fast-moving action or sports. Plus, get access to the best of Roku, including the free Roku channel while using this TV. Also, the TV works with Google Assistant and Alexa so it's easy to use and control your TV and other smart home devices.

Read more
Best headphone deals: AirPods, Sony, Sennheiser and more
Beats Studio Pro sitting on travel case.

There are a lot of headphone deals going on, and among them are some impressive Beats headphone deals, AirPods deals, Bose headphone deals, and Sony headphone deals. This is great news if you’d like some audio privacy throughout the day or if you’d like to experience your home theater in a more immersive way. With so many headphone deals to choose from right now, we thought we’d track down all of the best headphone deals for your shopping convenience. Reading onward you’ll find some serious discounts on popular headphone models, and if you’re looking for some cool devices to pair them with you can also shop TV deals, gaming console deals, phone deals, and tablet deals.
Apple AirPods 2 -- $80, was $129

Apple has long been known for making premium tech products that please the eye aesthetically and produce a simple yet impactful user experience. This is true of the Apple AirPods 2, which, despite being a few years removed from their original release, still hold up as a great set of wireless earbuds. Just like their newer iteration, the Apple AirPods 3, the AirPods 2 produce high quality audio that pack a punch whether you’re playing games, listening to music, watching movies, or relaxing with a podcast. It has an H1 chip that delivers a stable wireless connection, and manages to produce high-quality sound far better than many other wireless headphones. Battery life is about as good as it gets, with the AirPods 2 offering up to five hours of listening time on one charge, and more than 24 hours with the included charging case.

Read more