Coming Soon to Your HD Home Theater…7Gbps

The Wireless Gigabit Ethernet Alliance has come out with its first version of a standard designed to send video wirelessly around the home at transmission rates of 7 gigabits per second — or 10 times faster than what you can do using the fastest Wi-Fi out today. The WiGig Alliance, which includes Intel (s intc) and Atheros (s athr) as members, is one of several groups attempting to use unlicensed spectrum to transmit HD video without wires — in this case, the relatively empty 60 GHz spectrum.

So what does WiGig have going for it that Wi-Fi and the other wireless HD standards efforts don’t? First, the WiGig Alliance has large chipmakers as its members, but it’s also pushing a specification that is backwards compatible with Wi-Fi that will work beyond 10 meters — which can’t be said for the competitors. However, the competing standard WHDI, which is supported by a startup chip company called Amimon, and Wireless HD, which was spearheaded by a startup called SiBeam, both have products out on the market today. WiGig does not.

But my money is on the WiGig Alliance simply because it’s hard to bet against the larger players. I know that both Amimon and SiBeam were hoping that WiGig would be backwards compatible with their own standards, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case. Which means any consumer buying WHDI or Wireless HD products are betting that Amimon and SiBeam can continue to win against the marketing muscle and pricing power of some very big players, and keep putting out new devices compatible with their standards.