It’s been a while since we last heard about WirelessHD (commonly known as WiHD). First conceived back in 2006 and finally introduced in 2008 with implementation of the technology limited in high-end boutique TVs from Panasonic (TH-P54Z1), Sony (KDL-XBR10), and LG (55LH95); to expensive standalone receivers. Since then, WiHD has gone MIA in most circles, but at CES 2013 the tech has rededicated itself to the consumer market through the most logical and profitable portal – high definition gaming.
During our extended stay at the booth WiHD President Tim Wong described the challenges his consortium is undergoing and are optimistic about near future endeavors. Dell had the Alienware M17x on demonstration for PC gamers and for consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 the DVDO Air serves as a discrete bridge that eliminates the cables and cleans up home theater setups. Latency performance during actual gameplay was practically nonexistent when we played Halo 4 on an Epson PowerLite 3020e projector, or sat behind a Thrustmaster steering wheel for Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Quite frankly, to the naked eye there were no drops in video and audio quality whatsoever, which is really the most critical thing when it comes to responsive and twitch-induced gaming
Since its conception, the WirelessHD interface has been fully compatible and marketed as an enhanced compliment to HDMI, which is promising for advanced home AV integration. A quick rundown of current specifications include TMDS throughput range of 10-28Gbps data, lossless Full HD resolution (1080/60p), RGB and YCbCr chroma subsampling (4:4:4/4:2:2 with 24-bit/30-bit/36-bit/48-bit depth), up to 7.1 surround sound (PCM/DSD/Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio), and HDMI-CEC remote command. Anti-piracy encryption is also accounted for with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP 2.0) and Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) as standard.
All of this is fed over a 60GHz frequency band in a proprietary wireless video area network (WVAN), a protocol operating at an average in-room distance of 30 feet. Futureproofing abilities include stereoscopic “Full HD 3D”, fluid 4K resolution for both Ultra HD and Digital Cinema Initiative formats (3840×2160/4096×2160), and IP connectivity between specific WiHD devices is theoretically viable as well.
WirelessHD (WiHD) is an impressive component when utilized correctly. With next-generation consoles and platforms all on the horizon the need for wireless home entertainment could be now, but will gamers and enthusiasts be willing to cut the cords and invest in full-on HD streaming? Only time and proper execution will tell.