Projecting the Future of Wireless
Posted 9/27/2016 by Peiju Chiang
Across the consumer electronics landscape, wires have fallen out of fashion. Cellular coverage and Wi-Fi are everywhere. Wireless headphones are not only gaining popularity amongst audio brands, but also smartphone manufacturers. Wireless power has started to penetrate the mainstream as well, with international companies from Samsung to Starbucks offering wireless phone charging stations.
Another area where wires are being removed is in audio & video (AV) links. Technology like WirelessHD that uses 60 GHz millimeter wave frequency provides high-speed wireless links that replicate the robustness, video quality, performance and very low latency of a traditional wire. WirelessHD can be found in quite a few home theater products, but one area where it has been particularly embraced is with video projectors.
In both the office conference room and the home theater, video projectors often sit some distance from the video source. This makes wireless video a useful alternative to long cables and expensive installations. Wiring office conference rooms to handle ceiling projectors is expensive. The additional specialized equipment alone can cost hundreds of dollars per installation, not including installation fees. As a result, many office spaces are still using old low quality analog VGA cables to connect to their projectors. In many installations, the wall installation terminates at a wall plate, and an additional wire has to be run to the conference room table to the laptop. This wiring configuration is inconvenient to use and can even be a tripping hazard for conference room users.
Wireless simplifies connectivity. No expensive installation, no wires that will become obsolete, no wires to trip users. By using projectors integrating SiBEAM technology, such as the PowerLite Home Cinema 5040UBe 3LCD projector from Epson, companies can easily ditch the outdated conference room installation process. The projector talks directly to a small transmitter box that sits on the conference room table. Users plug the transmitter directly into their computers, and the video is streamed wirelessly to the projector. Because 60 GHz is exceptionally low latency, it is extremely useful in interactive applications such as video conference calling and presentations.
The wireless advantage for projectors also translates to the home environment, where there is no IT staff and no company to bear the installation costs. In the home, a projector is often a secondary device, supplementing rather than replacing the DTV. As a result, whether ceiling mounted or just sitting in the rear of the room, a home theater projector is not generally placed where the AVR and other set top components are. Unless your home comes preinstalled with wiring for a home theater, installing an HDMI video cable through the wall is out of reach for many consumers. The alternative, running a cable around your living room, is unsightly and potentially a dangerous tripping hazard for your family. By contrast, products like the Lenovo Ideacentre 610S highlight how useful and elegant a wireless projector can be in the home. This home PC comes with a small detachable wireless projector that can be placed anywhere in a home to quickly share a video, play a game, or project a webpage up on the wall.
While we have not yet achieved a completely wireless world, significant strides have been made over the past years. 60 GHz wireless video joins existing wireless standards such as Wi-Fi, LTE, and Bluetooth to simplify connectivity. We may not be ready to cut the cords completely, but when it comes to projectors, the wireless future is now.