October 31, 2006 12:01 AM PST

Wireless HD specification due in 2007

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Several leading consumer electronics companies are expected to announce Tuesday that they are working together to develop a new standard for transmitting high-definition audio and video signals wirelessly.

Supported by LG, Matsushita (Panasonic), NEC, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and semiconductor maker SiBeam, the digital interface WirelessHD would enable high-speed streaming of audio and video content between consumer electronics devices like televisions, DVD players, game consoles and other portable devices without using cords. The group plans to release the specification in spring 2007.

Televisions are the "natural" application for this, said John Marshall, president of WirelessHD. Eventually the technology will make its way into adapters for source devices like notebook PCs, digital video recorders, HD disc players, digital audio players and digital cameras. Because it does not compress the digital video, the experience will be the same as using a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) or digital video interface (DVI) cable, he said.

The specification will maintain high-quality video, ensure the interoperability of CE devices, protect from signal interference and use existing content protection techniques, Marshall said.

WirelessHD will use the unlicensed 60GHz radio frequency band to send uncompressed HD video and audio at 5 gigabits per second at distances of up to 30 feet, or within one room of a house. While most other wireless audio and video transmissions occur in the 2.4GHz-to-5GHz range, WirelessHD says neither will allow the fast transmition speeds required for high-definition content.

Traditionally used by the military for ship-to-ship communications, the 60GHz band hasn't been popular for consumer wireless use historically because it's costly and often hard to work with, but breakthroughs in low-cost manufacturing have changed that, according to WirelessHD.

Tzero announced in September it is working on ultra wideband (UWB) technology using Analog Devices' JPEG2000 video-compression technology to send HD content between televisions and other computer electronics devices.

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