Tuesday, August 26, 2008
When most people think about transmitting data, they think of cables and wires. After all, all of the different components of a computer are held together with wires and cables. Even most peripherals are attached to computers using cords and cables. The same thing is true with home entertainment systems. In fact, it's not unusual for a home entertainment system to be made up of a TV, a VCR, a DVD player, a satellite receiver or cable box, and maybe a video game system. You add on the very realistic possibility of having the sound of all of those devices fed though a stereo system that consists of a CD player, a radio tuner, a tape deck, and speakers; and you're living room can contain a real mess of wires!
A mess of wires used to be an annoyance to sort through when it came time to make an addition or upgrade to your home entertainment system, but something that could be hidden inside of cabinets and ignored most of the time. Now though, thanks to flat panel HDTV display technology, home electronics don't get that kind of privacy. Flat Panel TV sets are best left out in the open where you can show of their slim design and stylish profile. Of course if you choose to hang your TV set on the wall like a picture, then you have the option of running cables to it through the wall, but most of us are even less adept at dealing with drywall and painting than we are at dealing with consumer electronics spaghetti. Therefore, hiding the cable in the wall isn't an option for a lot of us- especially if there's the possibility that we might want to move the TV at some point in the future.
The good news about all of this is that there's another way to get the TV programming from the receiver (or DVD player or video gaming system or. . .) besides cables. This is wireless technology.
Most people think of wireless technology as a way to get all of our computers and portable WiFi devices onto the Internet through a wireless router in our homes, or a way that we can surf the Internet at the coffee shop. But in reality, wireless technology is a pretty good way to transmit TV programming. Even TV programming that's as data intensive as HDTV can be transmitted wirelessly!
This shouldn't be too surprising when you think about the fact that TV programing, including HDTV programming, is transmitted without wires all the time. After all, for decades before cable TV technology hit the scene all TV was broadcast over the air. And satellite TV is technically a wireless technology as well. The trick in the case of transmitting TV programming across a room is doing it without a transmitter that would fry everyone in the room and without a satellite dish sitting on top of the TV set. Fortunately, existing wireless technology like what we use for computer networks can be adapted for this and many companies are already doing it.
This wireless video transmission technology is great news for anyone who doesn't want all of those cables marring the stylish look of their new HDTV set.