Coming Soon to Your HD Home Theater…7Gbps

The Wireless Gigabit Ethernet Alliance today came 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.

Swisscom Funds Quantenna’s Wireless Chips

quantennaWireless chipmaker Quantenna announced today that it has added to its Series C round with new investor Swisscom, a Swiss telecom provider. The amount wasn’t officially disclosed, but it appears to be roughly $2 million, given that today’s press announcement says the company has raised $44 million to date and in April it was reported that the company had raised $42 million total at that time.
Fremont, Calif.-based Quantenna makes chips that allow for wireless transmission of HD video within the home. Quantenna’s pitch is that it uses Wi-Fi to beam that sweet HD video around your house. Quantenna competitor Amimon, which uses the WHDI protocol for wireless HD, recently announced that it had raised $10 million in a Series D round, bringing its total to $50 million. SiBEAM, another competitor that uses the WirelessHD protocol, has raised roughly $78 million.

Home Wireless Networks Aren’t Yet Ready for Video

broadcom_logoWireless networks in their current form can’t support efforts by service providers trying to deliver video inside the home. That’s according to Joe Del Rio, a senior marketing manager at Broadcom (s bcom) with whom I chatted yesterday; he said service providers are still inclined to trust wired networking standards such as Home PNA or MoCA to deliver video and entertainment content around the home. Carriers are asking for between 30 Mbps and 36 Mbps, he said — enough to deliver three uncompressed HD video streams to televisions. Read More about Home Wireless Networks Aren’t Yet Ready for Video

Amimon Raises $10 Million

amimon-2nd-gen-chips-2Wireless HD chip maker Amimon announced today it has raised a $10 million Series D round of funding. The round was led by Stata Venture Partners, and included “all significant investors” from earlier rounds, including Argonaut Private Equity, Cedar Fund, Evergreen Venture Partners, Walden Israel and Motorola Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of Motorola (s mot).

Amimon’s technology allows you to transmit wireless HD content like movies and games from devices to your TV, no wires needed. The company, which backs the WHDI wireless HD standard, has now raised $50 million in funding. Competitor SiBEAM, which uses the WirelessHD standard, has raised roughly $78 million. Quantenna, which uses WiFi for transmission, has raised $42 million. And if that wasn’t enough, Amimon faces big rivals in the WiGig Alliance, backed by heavyweights such as Intel (s intc), Dell (s dell) and Broadcom (s brcm).

Devices using the Amimon chipset are predominately in Europe and Japan. In April, the company released its second-generation chips, which Amimon says can wirelessly deliver full uncompressed 1080p/60Hz HD content around the home, with a range of 100 feet — even through walls — with a latency of less than 1 millisecond.

The Battle for the Home Network Pits PCs Against Set-top Boxes

[qi:032] The other night I watched “Corpse Bride.” The Tim Burton flick was streamed from Netflix via my Time Warner broadband subscription, though my Linksys router to my Roku box, and from there through an HDMI cable to my television. But I could have watched a different movie on my TV using Time Warner’s video-on-demand service, sent through the set-top box provided by my cable company.

A few years back I couldn’t get movies delivered on demand, unless it was through my cable provider. But now services like Netflix — or better yet, Amazon — provide me with high-definition versions of new releases streamed via my Roku box for about as much as it costs through Time Warner or as part of a trip to the closest Blockbuster. In other words, my PC has become — as it has for so many others — the gateway to much of my entertainment. And that trend is worrying service providers, which don’t want to see their customers switch from paying for a triple-play package of voice, video and data to just data. Read More about The Battle for the Home Network Pits PCs Against Set-top Boxes

The Myth of Uncompressed Wireless HD

Earlier this week Gefen announced a $700 replacement for an HDMI cord based on ultra-wideband chips from startup TZero. Yes, a $700 replacement for a $43 cable. Did I tell you it was wireless? That it will deliver uncompressed HD content to the TV over 20 meters? Maybe that will make you rush on over to Best Buy, but my guess is that the majority of consumers will hold back, hoping that the price will go down. And that means most of the multiple flavors of wireless HD video transfer are in trouble, as are the companies behind them.

The startups hoping to make their chips the star of the wireless HD revolution have two huge problems to overcome. The first is that there are too many different standards all trying to do the same thing, which could confuse consumers. The second is that the costs associated with buying wireless HD equipment are astronomical, which could alienate consumers. In addition to the pricing example with UWB chips above, televisions containing Amimon chips using the WHDI wireless HD standard so far cost about $875 more than their counterpart TVs without the chips.

There’s not much anyone can do about the multiple standards and hordes of chip firms attacking the market, but the pricing issue could be tackled by giving up on the marketing trope of pushing uncompressed wireless HD. The content arriving in your home via Blu-Ray, the web or your cable box is already compressed making it kind of silly to uncompress it before it reaches the display, where it is normally uncompressed. Transcoding and encoding the HD content just to send it in an uncompressed format adds a higher cost to the chips, as does the processing power needed to handle all those uncompressed bits quickly.

Push the prices down to a more reasonable level and then consumers will undoubtedly fork over a premium for wireless technology. As more do so, the chips become cheaper to produce, lowering costs further. Then all we have to do is figure out if we want UWB, Wi-Fi, WirelessHD or WHDI equipment to enable wireless video.

image of Amimon router and a new Mitsubishi WHDI TV courtesy of Amimon

Wireless HD Gets a New Standard Effort

[qi:_newteevee] Israeli chip startup Animon, which is pushing a form of whole-home, uncompressed wireless HD, has teamed up with Sony, Samsung, Sharp, Hitachi and Motorola to create the WHDI special interest group. Animon already has products out on the market to offer wireless HD using the same 5 GHz spectrum used by Wi-Fi. But the SIG should give both the company and its technology a boost as it fights off rival wireless HD standards and attempts to make delivering content from PCs to TVs easier. To read more about the technology and how it could cause problems for ISPs, check out our coverage on NewTeeVee.

Wireless HD Gets a New Standard Effort

An Israeli chip startup pushing a form of whole-home, uncompressed wireless HD has teamed up with Sony, Samsung, Sharp, Hitachi and Motorola to create a WHDI special interest group. The company, Amimon, already has products out on the market that offer wireless HD using the same 5 GHz spectrum used by Wi-Fi.

Those products, and others to be released later this year will not necessarily be compatible with those made in the future according to the WHDI standard, but the backing of major manufacturers gives Amimon — and its technology — a boost. That’s important, because WHDI is up against a number of other wireless HD transmission standards, including Wireless HD, ultra-wideband and even Wi-Fi. WHDI SIG members Sony and Samsung are also members of the Wireless HD standard hoping to use 60GHz.

Noam Geri, Amimon’s co-founder and VP of marketing, explains that many of these competing technologies fail because they either can’t offer uncompressed HD or because, rather than being able to blanket the entire home, they only offer point-to-point wireless transmission. I admit that Geri’s propaganda gets seductive when he starts talking about how a DVD player containing a WHDI chip could transmit HD video to a TV in a different room. With Motorola as both an investor and a member of the SIG, Geri points out that this might one day work for set-top boxes as well. Read More about Wireless HD Gets a New Standard Effort