A bunch of big companies are getting together to standardize wireless home HDTV transmission. Again. The AP reports the details here. Most of the commentary I've seen has been fairly positive, though everyone points out that several of the big players backing WHDI are separately supporting WirelessHD as well. Could we have a standards war here?
Jeremy Toeman is taking a contrarian stance, saying it doesn't matter. He makes some good points:
- WHDI products aren't expected to hit the market for at least a year or two
- Testing this stuff will take forever
- Even if it just adds $100 to the cost of products, the rise of brands like Vizio proves that many consumers are primarily driven by price
In the short term, he's right. Nobody is going to put off buying a new TV today because in 2 - 5 years a wireless version will be available. Those who need a wireless solution today -- in the home theater industry, installers will always run into problem rooms -- will be willing to pay for expensive proprietary add-on gadgets that solve the particular problem. Longer term, though, it does make sense for there to be wireless options that work across vendors. At one time, wireless PC standards (ex: WiFi) were supposed to take over in the A/V world, but the bandwidth to pass HDTV unaltered on those doesn't exist outside the lab. I wonder whether any of these consortiums will get something to market that actually works in a reasonable timeframe - I've seen demos of this stuff at trade shows for years now. Because even once TVs and set top boxes have such a standard built in, you'll need to buy a new TV AND a new set top box to see the benefit. So for the forseeable future, nothing changes, which explains why Sony and Samsung are backing multiple standards, and why Jeremy can't bring himself to care.