Saw a thread on Techmeme this morning about wireless HDTV technology. Looks like some big companies are banding together to provide (yet another) wireless HDTV service. Over at Crave I read that while it’s a year away (read: 2-5 years away), it’ll be fairly low-cost, as in ~$100 (read: ~$500) per set to enable the technology. There’s also multiple competing standards, and as MG points out, two of the companies involved are participating in both platforms (updated: now both PCMag and Ars weigh in as well). This is a lot of big companies spending big budgets to build multiple technologies and standards in the space.
I ask “why?”.
Seriously. What’s the point here? So people can one day wirelessly stream video from a hard drive/PC in one room of their house to the plasma display in another room? Really? Don’t get me wrong, it sure sounds like a fun idea, and there’ll be some percent of the market willing to do it, but most definitely not the majority.
The other argument for it is just to have a short range, enabling me to “cut the cables” from my plasma to my HD set top box. Only one catch here: very few people will be willing to upgrade both their boxes and sets just to hide one cable, especially considering they still need the power cord! While the WAF is certainly a powerful force in every home, I don’t think anyone can argue that a plasma should be replaced to reduce a single cable.
I’m sure I’m missing some points here, but having spent the better part of 8 years working with organizations like UPnP and DLNA, it seems like neither the “connected home” nor “interoperability” are initiatives which win (ask Apple how interoperable the iPod is). There’s a lot of money being spent on R&D labs for this type of technology. Whenever it gets out of the labs it will need to go into *massive* testing before any cable company even considers distributing a box with new technology (ever wonder why it took Comcast 3 years to ship a DVR? it wasn’t a lack of technology, it was testing, and even then they still did a mediocre job with it). As a final point on the market opportunity here, just remember how well this must be testing in focus groups…
Would you like it if your plasma display worked wirelessly (not including power), and only cost $100 more?
Golly, sure I would!
Would you be willing to replace your cable box if you could get one that didn’t need any wires to hook up to your plasma?
Gee whiz, absolutely!
Anyone notice that the #1 seller of plasma TVs is not a participant here? Considering how well Vizio’s taken over the market, it seems pretty clear that customers are trying to save $100 by purchasing a brand they’ve never heard of before. But $100 for wifi HDTV streaming to/from nebulous devices with multiple standards? Yeah, that’ll happen.