ABI: Still a long wait for wireless HDTV

Wireless high definition TV or HDTV sets will become a much more common home appliance in four years time, according to ABI Research. 


ABI said the market for wireless HDTVs is still in its incubation stage with fewer than 100,000 devices expected to ship this year.


At present, ABI noted three contending systems loosely characterized as: 5 GHz, 60 GHz, and ultra wideband (UWB). 


"5 GHz technology is better understood and more proven," says ABI principal analyst Steve Wilson. "But achieving the required data rates requires new approaches and more complex solutions."


UWB technology, meanwhile, has bandwidth advantages at in-room distances but drops rapidly at greater ranges. 60 GHz allows high data rates, but Wilson noted "so far only one company is even close to a viable solution."


Small numbers of 5 GHz and UWB devices are currently shipping while demo products of 60 GHz systems are expected early next year.


"Over the next two to three years, we're going to see one or two of these wireless HDTV approaches emerge as the primary ones," Wilson said.


HDTV's going wireless carries practical applications, the most obvious being greater flexibility in positioning home theater systems. Commercial applications such as digital signage are also being floated about.


"The initial sweet spot in the market is where wired installation would be difficult or complicated," Wilson said.