Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Intel Wireless Display: From Your Notebook To The Big Screen

Intel Wireless Display: From Your Notebook To The Big Screen
By

I love my HTPC. I’m one of those guys. When my idiot neighbors decide to plug-check their dirt bikes on a beautiful Sunday morning, I can fire up the PC, crank the Hans Zimmer, and drown out the buzz. Or, I can kick back on a Friday night and watch Blu-rays with a bottle of wine. Or, my wife can hop on any time during the week and knock out her World of Warcraft dailies on a 55” screen.

But what if you didn’t need an HTPC permanently installed in your man-cave in order to play your favorite music, watch your favorite movies, or game on your LCD display? That was the question I asked myself when Intel started talking about Wireless Display at this year’s CES.

The Push2TV adapter, set up under a 55-inch Samsung LED LCD.The Push2TV adapter, set up under a 55-inch Samsung LED LCD.

Introducing Wireless Display

Intel went to great lengths to make Wireless Display a consumer-friendly technology. It did such a good job, in fact, that the technical intricacies aren’t readily available online. The flip-side is glorious simplicity. Once you've made the initial pairing between notebook and adapter, Intel's software handles subsequent handshakes automatically.

On one end of the connection, you have a notebook. That notebook sports an Arrandale-based processor (Wireless Display employs the integrated HD Graphics engine), a current-gen Centrino-branded wireless adapter, Intel’s My WiFi software pre-installed, and Windows 7.

At the other end sits Netgear’s Push2TV adapter with an HDMI cable running to your TV. In between? Nothing but air.

Because Intel requires that compatible notebooks have the My WiFi and Wireless Display software pre-installed and enabled, setting up the connection between notebook and adapter is a matter of turning both on, firing up the My WiFi software, entering a four-digit PIN, and watching the mobile system’s screen cloned on your TV. I demonstrate the process in the video below, and then show some high-def content being played back on our test platform.

Intel Wireless Display Technology


Of course, what happens under the hood is a bit more complex—this wasn’t an easy capability to roll-out—and a deeper look into the technology helps explain why Wireless Display really isn’t the solution I was hoping might make my HTPC redundant.

Nevertheless, it’s still a cool feature that you can’t beat for the price. Wireless Display debuted on a trio of notebooks from Dell, Sony, and Toshiba selling at Best Buy. All three come with the Netgear adapter bundled, so Wireless Display is more or less a free value-add if you’re comfortable paying $1,000-ish for a Core i5-based system.

Not a fan of Best Buy’s inflexible configurations? Not to worry—Intel’s own channel-oriented Spring Peak shells also have Wireless Display support, giving you the opportunity to pick the components you want in your laptop and still get WiDi built-in. Whoops. Actually, Intel used to refer to this technology as WiDi. Apparently, that name has already been trademarked, so it’s Wireless Display from here on out.

Display 24 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    taltamir , April 21, 2010 9:21 AM
    what an epic fail... a locked tech that requires you to use an intel laptop with locked software? arrg!

    I wanted this to stream from my desktop to my TV in the other room. Now they tell me that if I want to buy this I have to buy an intel laptop with their "HD" video (lowest performing video card on the market)

    this sucks.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    blashyrkh , April 21, 2010 6:35 AM
    hmm.... First we had computer hacking over wifi. Now we'll have TV signal hacking over wifi!! Hehehe!!!
    Why don't we check what the neighbors are watching!! Oh!! It's home made pron!! Good for me!!

    /lol
  • -4 Hide
    SchizoFrog , April 21, 2010 8:01 AM
    blashyrkhhmm.... First we had computer hacking over wifi. Now we'll have TV signal hacking over wifi!! Hehehe!!! Why don't we check what the neighbors are watching!! Oh!! It's home made pron!! Good for me!!/lol

    Just be careful with the porn... Yo might find it's a lesbian couple in their 70's acting out '2 girls, 1 cup'... *Instant spinal shivers...*
  • 18 Hide
    taltamir , April 21, 2010 9:21 AM
    what an epic fail... a locked tech that requires you to use an intel laptop with locked software? arrg!

    I wanted this to stream from my desktop to my TV in the other room. Now they tell me that if I want to buy this I have to buy an intel laptop with their "HD" video (lowest performing video card on the market)

    this sucks.
  • 2 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 21, 2010 9:21 AM
    Interesting article.
  • 1 Hide
    twisted politiks , April 21, 2010 12:05 PM
    getting there, now give me a wireless card for my desktop coupled with an HDMI to wifi plug thing-a-majig to plug into the back of my t.v. so i can do this without buying another computer, adding to my already 5 computers under one roof. honestly, how hard can it be?
  • 0 Hide
    alexcheng , April 21, 2010 12:16 PM
    Am I to be expecting to see desktop monitors all with wireless connection in another 6 months??? ;0

    But good idea... now I can take my 55" TV to my bathroom! xD
  • 0 Hide
    huron , April 21, 2010 12:33 PM
    Seems like a nice bonus, but not a real viable option because of all the restrictions. With some nice improvements, this could be a cool technology.
  • 2 Hide
    cknobman , April 21, 2010 1:07 PM
    I still prefer my Kodak HD MediaServer I picked up for $50 on woot. Streams anything I want from my media server (dvd and bluray if I choose) either wireless or hard line and is connected to my TV via HDMI. Picture so good I cant complain although it did take some tweaking of my network to run smooth. Had to reposition my wireless router to be more central in home. Stupid cheap ass Verizon ActionTek router sucks so I may upgrade to a new router soon.

    Best $50 I ever spent.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2010 2:44 PM
    I stopped reading the article after reading "WoW dailies..."
  • 0 Hide
    RazberyBandit , April 21, 2010 3:48 PM
    Besides the already mentioned locked tech in Intel laptops, it only has 2-channel audio? That's definitely not what I have in mind when I think of "Home Theater" at all. No thanks.
  • 1 Hide
    gsacks , April 21, 2010 3:58 PM
    It is interesting tech. Too bad it is tied to intel's crappy integrated gfx.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2010 4:40 PM
    The 0.5 second delay kills any usefulness. (Visible at 2:40 in the video). Useless for gaming, useless for webrowsing or office apps - anything that requires mouse-screen coordination.

    Only useful for watching vids (assuming the sound is encoded and sent with the video).
  • 0 Hide
    chomlee , April 21, 2010 4:47 PM
    cknobmanI still prefer my Kodak HD MediaServer I picked up for $50 on woot. Streams anything I want from my media server (dvd and bluray if I choose) either wireless or hard line and is connected to my TV via HDMI. Picture so good I cant complain although it did take some tweaking of my network to run smooth. Had to reposition my wireless router to be more central in home. Stupid cheap ass Verizon ActionTek router sucks so I may upgrade to a new router soon. Best $50 I ever spent.


    Crap, I saw that too and I passed on it. I now regret it because I can't find a cheap HD media player for that price anywhere now!
  • -1 Hide
    cangelini , April 21, 2010 4:56 PM
    LCD GuruThe 0.5 second delay kills any usefulness. (Visible at 2:40 in the video). Useless for gaming, useless for webrowsing or office apps - anything that requires mouse-screen coordination.Only useful for watching vids (assuming the sound is encoded and sent with the video).


    Correct, and that's something I harp on several times in the piece. This is *only* useful for those folks who'll be watching video (and yes, on page two the encode/decode process is described in more detail--it's an MPEG-2 stream).
  • 1 Hide
    thegreathuntingdolphin , April 21, 2010 6:05 PM
    I don't think this technology holds much for now. Maybe in the future when cheaper laptops can easily output 1080p over wireless.

    All this device seems good for is watching hulu and giving slide shows...which begs the question why not just use cables directly attached to the TV? So many Blu Ray players have Pandora, Youtube, and Netflix. It is only a matter of time before they get Hulu.

    It just seems too costly for its limited to use. For the extra cost of a laptop capable of even producing and streaming bluray or HD content (which this thing cant even do), you could buy or build a cheap HTPC - Case Closed!
  • 0 Hide
    curiousgeorgieo , April 21, 2010 7:36 PM
    I have been using this for wireless audio and video to my HDTV for a while and it's awesome without the limitations of "just your notebook". Just plug the usb in and you're good to go on any pc/notebook. Only prob is that you'll have to wait for the next gen to get 1080p. Intel's version is probably more refined/newer though?

    http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=47509&vpn=SWP100A&manufacture=Warpia
  • 0 Hide
    TeraMedia , April 21, 2010 7:37 PM
    If you have a large, distributed office where the presenting employees all have these laptops, and all conference rooms have these netgear devices, and there are a lot of presentations going on, this might be useful. But even the syncing would be a nuisance because you'd have to sync up each time you entered a different conf room.

    I like the Win 7 "push to" concept better. If I can find a screen as easily as I can find a printer (assuming IT has made that process easy), and I can push to that screen as easily as I could print to a printer, that would be good for presenting. Otherwise, I'll stick to a VGA connector.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , April 21, 2010 7:43 PM
    curiousgeorgieoI have been using this for wireless audio and video to my HDTV for a while and it's awesome without the limitations of "just your notebook". Just plug the usb in and you're good to go on any pc/notebook. Only prob is that you'll have to wait for the next gen to get 1080p. Intel's version is probably more refined/newer though?http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku= [...] ure=Warpia


    To be fair, the benefit of Wireless Display would be that it's a feature being enabled on compatible notebooks "free of charge." It's debatable whether the inclusion of Netgear's adapter is driving up the price of Core i5/i3 notebooks, but even if the full cost of the device is wrapped into the total cost, it's still $100 vs. $179 for the Warpia setup. Best-case scenario, it's a value-add for the folks buying these notebooks. More than anything, for me, it's interesting to know *how* the technology works, where its strengths lie, and identifying it's clear and present limitations!
  • 0 Hide
    ondigo , April 22, 2010 5:43 AM
    I do not understand the need for this device. Just buy simple media player (CinemaTube, O!Play and etc) plug it to the TV and stream video. That's all
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , April 22, 2010 5:52 AM
    ondigoI do not understand the need for this device. Just buy simple media player (CinemaTube, O!Play and etc) plug it to the TV and stream video. That's all


    If you can get it for "free" with your notebook purchase, why would you buy the media player, though? =)
Display more comments