November 21, 2007 4:00 AM PST
Chilly forecast for wireless HD video
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The content creators specified exactly what they wanted from the WirelessHD spec before they let their television shows and movies get streamed between devices. The consortium has been working with the Motion Picture Association of America and several studios for more than a year on this, according to John Marshall, chairman of WirelessHD.
Final studio approval and security certification are still forthcoming. The studios demanded the standard use an established content distribution protocol, have strong encryption, use uncompressed transmission of content to preserve the quality of video, and include proximity controls so a movie can't be picked up by a neighbor with similar hardware.
"After it all goes through, there's potential for (member companies) to move very quickly right out of the chute," Marshall said. "But the objective is to bring the industry together."
He said he expects the first consumer products using the WirelessHD standard from member companies in 2008. This of course means to expect a slew of more wireless high-def video product announcements at this year's CES.
Whether Marshall's prediction comes true or not, there's still the question of whether consumers are even demanding this category of product. The idea is arguably very nice, but it's still unclear what kind of price premium there will be for the option for wireless delivery of video, and whether it will be too high to attract the average consumer. As an example, Samsung's 50-inch wireless plasma retails for $3,599, while the same wired model goes for $2,999, or $600 less.
Besides higher prices, many non-tech-savvy retail shoppers are just now wrapping their minds around 720p versus 1080p video. Considering whether a wired or wireless delivery of video is even necessary might not be something else they want to think about. So the drive to bring the wireless delivery of video to market could very well be "a solution in search of a problem," as industry analyst Baker proposed.
"I think most consumers are struggling with trying to figure out what HDTV is and how to hook up their LCD TVs to receivers and make everything do what it's supposed to do," he said, rather than worry about wireless.
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