Intel Announces WiDi - Wireless Laptop A/V Out

While they may not be the most efficient tool for the job, laptops make great little home theatre PCs given that nearly all of them have both audio and video out. The hardest, and perhaps most hassling part is getting them hooked up and then trying to operate the laptop while it's tethered to the TV. Intel believes it has the answer to that hassle with the Wireless Display – or WiDi.

Officially unveiled at CES, the technology uses 802.11n WiFi technology to stream video and audio wirelessly to an adapter hooked up to a TV. It's a pretty slick trick for those who hate wires.

"Computing in the home is rapidly expanding beyond the PC," said Intel Corporation President and CEO Paul Otellini. "The TV will continue to be a focal point of the home while becoming smarter, much in the way phones are evolving into smartphones. New user interfaces and forms of connectivity will change the way we interact with entertainment in the home."

Of course, for it all to work, Intel wants to keep everything in the family, which means you'll need one of the new mobile Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processors with Intel HD integrated graphics, Centrino Wireless N, and Windows 7.

The wireless adapter box will cost an estimated $100 and will ship January 17.

More on CES 2010.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • square965
    You HAVE to have integrated graphics for this to work? -.-
  • lunyone
    I'm betting you can't use an AMD chip for this??
  • Marcus Yam
    Seems that way right now, but don't forget that all the Westmere processors that Intel lists as a requirement have integrated Intel HD graphics on the same chip package.

    If you have the CPU, you'll have the Intel HD graphics, whether you're using it or not.
    Rapidly expanding? WTF I was watching TV on my computer in 2006! Maybe not with N technology, but with a coaxial. Catch up already, people!
  • anamaniac
    Low resolution, low refresh rate etc.
    I'll pass.
  • Shadow703793
    Marcus YamSeems that way right now, but don't forget that all the Westmere processors that Intel lists as a requirement have integrated Intel HD graphics on the same chip package. isplay.htmIf you have the CPU, you'll have the Intel HD graphics, whether you're using it or not.What I still want to know is can we disable the on chip IGP? esp. if you have a GPU and OCing.
  • loomis86
    This is an awesome idea!
    Pretty soon we'll be using our cellphones as the computer/browser, our TV as a wireless monitor, and a wireless keyboard for input. anamaniac has no vision. There's no reason why this tech couldn't be used on a computer monitor instead of a TV. BTW, I wouldn't plug the adapter directly into a TV. I'd plug it into an RF modulator and plug the modulator into the TV.
  • bah, saw the Intel demo on the cesweb site - they only showed it for streaming a movie, and you could clearly see a half second delay from the laptop to the TV. The key word here is STREAMING, i.e. the TV keeps up with the incoming video data from the laptop, but not necessarily instantaneously. Maybe OK for watching films from your laptop so long as the audio is streamed without lip-sync problems, but for interactive use with a mouse/trackpad, forget it. This is NOT a general purpose wireless monitor solution. I'll stick with the simpler solution that's already been available for years: wireless keyboard and mouse on the sofa with the PC locally cabled to the TV.
  • razor512
    the device actually can do 1920x1080 or higher at 60hz
    but it is limited to the resolution of the laptop display since it only works in clone mode and not dual display (intel driver problem and not a widi problem)

    only problem is it has about a 1-3 second delay between a change on the laptop screen and tv. From the info I have seen on it was that even though it only does one thing, the one thing that it does is extremely good to have.

    with it you never need to worry about what format is supported because if the computer can play it then it will always work

    sadly it will fail since it seems to be restricted to intel video hardware which do not handle the offloading of stuff like this so there is a high CPU usage

    if they don't make it work with desktop PC's no one will buy it.

    what intel needs to do is include this technology into a TV so there can be live desktop streaming, just about everyone on the planet with a computer has a wireless router. have the device or tv connect to the wireless network and have a program that allows any computer on the network to live stream the desktop to the tv

    but with the way it is now being limited to intel video hardware and requiring a fast system, the laptops that meet that requirements will be very few.

    the device is only designed for watching video and listening to music and it's advantage over devices like a xbox 360 is that it supports all video and audio formats that the computer supports.
  • ravewulf
    I'll stick with my HDMI cable and zero delay time, thanks