Wireless HD streaming coming to TVs soon
TV fans looking to de-clutter their home cinema setup could soon be able to get rid of virtually all the set-top boxes under their televisions by the end of the year, thanks to a new device being unveiled at CES 2010.
The new technology called AXAR, which isn't currently commercially available, has been created by British company ProVision and should be in a range of TVs, set-top boxes and network devices in time for Christmas 2010.
"We can't tell you names yet, but we are talking with lots of big players in the TV and network router markets", Ian Walsh, VP business development told Pocket-lint over a demo of the system.
Those big players could be just some of the companys that ProVision has already worked with - including Thomson, Pace, ITV, Toshiba and Sky.
The AXAR1500, as it will be know for the time being, streams HD video content without lag from any HD source - be it a Blu-ray player, PVR or HD set top box to other AXAR enabled TVs or Wi-Fi connected PCs or mobile devices like phones or even tablets throughout the home, all without the need to run cables or use HomePlug alternatives.
Very much like SlingMedia's SlingBox, the user will have full control over the source content, however rather than using a wireless network or the Internet to send and receive the signal, the ProVision offering works by sending a signal from either Component or HDMI over the air to a dedicated receiver.
"The big difference in the tech comes from our expertise in antenna design. The highly robust wireless system means the device will transmit video to any area within virtually any home." Walsh explains. "With distribution radius of over 900ft, AXAR1500 is capable of streaming live HD content across an area of more than 2.5 million feet square - three times the floor space of Buckingham Palace".
Attempting to appeal to all, the AXAR1500 uses open technology standards for video-encoding, video packet transfer and wireless broadcast - H.264, RTSP/RTP and 802.11n.
"The technology currently supports two separate HD streams, at the same time", Walsh tells us before adding that the company hopes to add the capability to offer more streams (possibly up to six streams) in the near future.
The end result could mean one set top box delivering HD content to all the TVs in your house.
Pocket-lint was shown a demo in a standard four bedroom detached house in Reading, UK. In use the system appears to achieve what it promises - the ability to stream HD content around the house.
We watched pre-recorded HD content of the Wimbledon final from the BBC HD channel as well as excerpts from Galapagos (the documentary on the Galapagos islands) on Blu-ray on two sub 30-inch Samsung televisions only connected to the source players (a Sony Blu-ray player and Humax FreeSat box) via the AXAR1500 system.
Picture quality was very good with the green hues of the grass of Centre Court at Wimbledon recaptured perfectly, even though the signal was being fired over the air from a ground floor living room to first floor bedroom.
The boxes pictured aren't the final product casing, thankfully, with Walsh admitting that they have been designed to show the capabilities of the product rather than the company's prowess at designing set-top boxes.
In fact ProVision has no aims to sell direct to the consumer at all for the time being. It is instead hoping satellite and cable companies, like Sky in the UK and ComCast in the US, will incorporate the technology into their own equipment to allow users to stream content around the house allowing for one box to service a household of TVs.
"The technology is small enough to be fitted into virtually any electronics equipment", Walsh comments. "It doesn't even have to be a set-top box".
If successful, it means the days of shelves full of devices under your television could be gone forever.