WirelessHD Publishes 1.1 Specification For High-Bandwidth Transfers

WirelessHD has been a protocol that's been around for awhile, but it hasn't really been used a lot in consumer devices. The main reason is cost. WirelessHD products, which generally allow high-definition devices to connect to one another without wires, are quite expensive, and most people can't justify the expense. Select WirelessHD adapters have enabled Blu-ray players to send signals to HDTVs without an HDMI cable, but with some solutions costing hundreds of dollars, it's easy to see why most people simply suck it up and use the HDMI cord.

Today, the WirelessHD Consortium, the first 60GHz initiative worldwide and the only wireless standard that provides wireless lossless A/V support, today announced immediate availability of the WirelessHD 1.1 specification. This spec was first introduced at CES, but now it's finally ready for implementation in products. The spec marks a new opportunity for WirelessHD as a whole, to take off.  The new spec claims it will be enabling "HDTVs, Blu-ray disc players, PCs and portable devices to transmit, share and display content in billions of colors with unprecedented vividness and accuracy as well as instantaneously transfer large multi-gigabyte media files among a variety of devices."

WirelessHD has a better chance than ever to really take off now, with more and more large HD-encoded files needing to be transferred. The market really coming into a time where extra bandwidth is badly needed, and while other protocols aren't capable of handling huge files, Wireless HD is.  Intel's WiDi technology is about the only technology we've seen approach this capability but it currently can only handle up to 720p and is purpose-built only for notebooks currently.  Only time will tell if companies and individuals will really grab this by the horns, but the technology is certainly ready to be utilized. Now, to find out if the cost is ready to sink enough to let people really get into using it.

The WirelessHD 1.1 specification includes the following updates:

  • Optimized architecture: Handles multi-gigabit data rates for A/V streaming and file transfer (Wireless Personal Area Networking or WPAN) at the lowest link power.
  • Highest data rates: The next generation specification increases the data rate to 10 – 28 Gbps, an unprecedented level of wireless bandwidth. This will support the demands of future high definition display devices, such as higher resolutions, deep color and high frame rates, as well as high speed data applications.
  • 3D over WirelessHD: The new specification will define common 3D formats and resolutions for WirelessHD-enabled devices.
  • 4K resolution support: Enables devices to support HD resolution four times beyond that of 1080p. This feature allows the WirelessHD interface to transmit content at the same resolution as many digital theaters.
  • WPAN Data support: Connected devices that include this feature supports sync’n go file transfers for portable and fixed devices. This new specification also provides for IP connectivity for Internet access and networking of WirelessHD devices.
  • Portable device support: The scalability of WirelessHD technology has been extended to support lossless video streaming in low-power portable devices such as portable media players, netbooks and smartphones.
  • HDCP 2.0 content protection over WirelessHD: In addition to DTCP, both the current and future versions of WirelessHD will include support for HDCP 2.0 content protection. WirelessHD is the only standard to support both streaming and copying of multimedia content.