New Wireless HDTV Option

You’ve got your beautiful, big, flat screen television hanging on the wall. Now how do you get the signal to it? You can buy an expensive HDMI cable to cover a long run, or you can spend a lot more to get a professional to run wires through your floor, wall, or ceiling. Now there’s a Door Number 3, thanks to Philips. The company has started shipping its Wireless HDTV Link that provides wireless HDMI links with support for up to 1080p transmissions.

The pair of devices — transmitter and receiver — list for $799, and are available now from Amazon and Dell (though it doesn’t appear to be on the Dell Web site yet), while Sam’s Club and Costco will start carrying it in November. The transmitter has two HDMI connections and two component video connections. While I’d like to see another HDMI connection or two, this is a reasonable configuration.

I like the idea of this class of product for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that it means that you only need an AC outlet for your TV. Even that will disappear if you can put the outlet behind the television. The wireless connection will take care of the messy wires. The main reason I like it, however, is that it lets you get away from the traditional concept of piling all the components around the base of the television set. It makes far more sense to put them on the other side of the room, where you’re seated, so that you have easy access to disc players and switches and settings.

One problem I see with this arrangement is that it does not provide a network connection for NeTVs (which is a term that friend and colleague Peter Putman coined recently for network-capable televisions, and that I like the term a lot), but a fast 802.11n WiFi connection should take care of that. So I exhort all TVs to go wireless; you have nothing to lose but your cables!