Intel Wireless Display Screens-On: Connecting PC To TV Could Hardly Be Easier

wireless-displayOne of our favorite new technologies of CES 2010 is Intel’s Wireless Display (aka WiDi). Available on select notebooks with Intel’s Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs, the technology allows you to output the contents of your screen directly to your TV using the notebook’s built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi card to transmit the signal. On the TV end, a set top box from NetGear called the NetGear Push2TV receives the signal and connects via HDMI to your home theater.

The concept of outputting PC to TV wirelessly exists in a few other forms, including wireless USB, wireless HDMI and WHDI (which we just saw demoed via the ASUS Eee WiCast Kit at CES). Intel’s Wireless Display has the advantage of making the process of connecting PC to TV incredibly simple as notebooks equipped with it are able to output 720p video to TV with the touch of a simple button.

We had the opportunity to see WiDi in action at Intel’s CES booth. The chipmaker had a special demo room set up, complete with a couch and a home theater with the Netgear Push2TV box attached to it. Sitting on the couch, we were able to output the screen from a Sony VAIO S Series, specifically a VPC-S111FM, directly to a flat panel TV that was about 10 to 20 feet away from us on the wall. All we had to do to was push the Wireless Display button that sits above the left side of the keyboard and wait less than 10 seconds for the connection to form.

The WiDi technology effectively treats the TV as a second monitor that can mirror, but cannot extend, the desktop. So, upon first connection, we saw our desktop, complete with all of our icons and Windows. We were then able to launch a browser and stream a 720p video trailer of Star Trek at full screen and the connection seemed, for the most part, smooth and audio was perfectly synced with the video.

However, as impressed as we were with WiDi, this new technology is not without its limitations, all of which leave room for improvement in the next generation. These include:

  • 720p Limit: Video at 720p is smooth, but higher resolutions are not yet support so no 1080p.
  • Limited Notebook Selection: Only a handful of notebooks, including the Sony we saw and the Toshiba E205, currently support the technology.
  • Not Responsive Enough for High-Speed Gaming: We asked about gaming and Intel told us that there is too much of a delay between pressing the keyboard and action occurring on screen for gamers. They said the delay was less than a second, which is hardly noticeable for Web surfers and video watchers, but not fast enough to avoid being fragged. If you want to play something that doesn’t require quick reflexes, like online scrabble, WiDi should be fine.
  • No Support for Copy Protected Content: You can’t play Blu-ray or other copyright protected content through WiDi.

Intel is actively working to resolve all of these issues for the next generation of WiDi. We’re pleased with what we’ve seen so far and like the way this technology integrates seamlessly into the notebooks that have it. However, Intel faces stiff competiton from the likes of ASUS, whose Eee WiCast supports full 1080p streaming.

To see WiDi in action, check out our hands-on video below.

[flq:5f17ef485ba74b78a7858e47d6372102]

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch on
Twitter Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

  1. Fanfoot Says:

    Sure I’d love to see this built in, but if Intel isn’t willing to allow 3rd parties to build this technology into USB dongles, then I suspect it’ll die a quick death. Yes in the long run we want to see this built into our laptops and our TVs. But in the interim to boot strap the technology it needs to be possible to buy components for BOTH ends.

    And yes, this is the perfect way to watch Hulu on my TV. Much better than a mini desktop PC I’ve got to buy and keep updated and leave running next to the TV. But I wouldn’t place my bets on it yet. External components, why yes, yes I would.

  2. עיצוב לוגו Says:

    כל מראה שתרצו אנחנו מסוגלים לעשות או לחילופין לעשות בהתאם לטעמכם האישי ולבקשותיכם.

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE