What could be more mainstream to the American dream - large flat-panel HDTVs throughout the home, connected wirelessly to program sources? While flat panel sizes and prices continue to amaze and inspire, that pesky wireless connection has lagged with throughput, distance, reliability and configuration issues. With an intention to change all that, on Tuesday, Tzero (www.tzero.com) announced the availability of a chipset that the company says will be the first WiMedia standards-based, ultra wideband (UWB) semiconductor for delivery of HD video through either a wired or wireless connection.
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Despite multiple product announcements and countless demonstrations, UWB-enabled devices still haven’t made their way into consumer’s living rooms. Even newly standardized 802.11n devices are experiencing slow penetration. But Tzero’s short-range wireless technology seems poised for mass consumption.
The new chipset will also allow CE manufacturers to start making wireless video devices, such as HDTVs and DVRs with built-in UWB functionality, Tzero said.
Additionally, the ZeroWire TZC7200 chipset will let service providers create home networks for implementing next generation broadband and IPTV services using existing coax cable.
The chipset will support multiple HD video streams with data rates of up to 480Mbps over coax for coverage throughout the home and wirelessly within rooms, according to the company. But is that fast enough?
As reported in April’s Projection Monthy with Flat Panel Coverage, Motorola-backed Amimon’s proprietary wireless solution, partly based on the 802.11n standard, can deliver 1.5 Gbps for uncompressed 1080i, and with channel bonding, up to 3Gbps to send uncompressed 1080p over a distance of 100ft. (Amimon is also speaking at Projection Summit, which runs on Sunday and Monday, June 17-18)
The Tzero UWB approach is aimed at interoperability of wireless and coax connectivity embedded into HDTVs, set-tops and media players. WiMedia Alliance certification is intended to promote UWB’s adoption and standardization on a worldwide basis to assure interoperability.
Tzero said that it has recently teamed with Samsung and the High-Definition Audio Video Network Alliance (HANA), both of whom are helping to develop set-top boxes, to allow carriers to create the first complete in-home HD video networks.
Also slated to use the ZeroWire chipset are wireless HDTVs, projectors, Blu-Ray and HD DVD players, game consoles, media adapters, and media center PCs, Tzero said.
It will be interesting to see which approach will win. Ultimately, it may come down to cost, as Amimon’s chipset costs 50-100% more than standard 802.11n chips. No word yet on the Tzero pricing. Stay tuned - your wireless living room with off-the-shelf wireless components may be just around the corner.