Michael Grotticelli /
06.16.2011 08:00 AM
Wi-Fi Direct-enabled digital TVs will approach 80 million by 2015

By the end of 2015, nearly 80 million digital television sets will include Wi-Fi Direct technology, a new In-Stat survey has found. Since the wireless display of images and video is the major aim of Wi-Fi Direct, the new technology is expected to move the traditional television receivers to new “game-changing” applications.

The first applications to adopt Wi-Fi Direct include digital televisions, mobile personal computers and mobile phones. These devices share a trait, In-Stat said, as the respective centers of the PC, CE and mobile device clusters. And they ship in hundreds of millions of devices annually.

Wi-Fi Direct is a certification program from the Wi-Fi Alliance based on a set of software protocols (the Wi-Fi Peer-to-Peer specification) that allow Wi-Fi devices to talk to each other without the need for wireless access points, or so-called “hot spots.”

Conventional Wi-Fi networks are typically based on the presence of controller devices called base stations. These devices normally combine three primary functions: physical support for wireless and wired networking, bridging and routing between devices on the network, and service provisioning to add and remove devices from the network.

A typical Wi-Fi home network includes a wired connection to a broadband provider, the access point, computers connected by wired and wireless connections, and sometimes other devices on the network. The majority of Wi-Fi networks are set up in “infrastructure mode,” where the access point acts as a central hub to which Wi-Fi capable devices are connected. The devices do not communicate directly, but go through the access point.

Wi-Fi Direct devices can operate as either a device or an access point. The devices negotiate when they first connect to determine which device acts as an access point. It essentially embeds a software access point into any device that wishes to support Direct.

The soft access point provides a version of Wi-Fi Protected Setup with its push-button or PIN-based setup. When a device enters the range of the Wi-Fi Direct host, it can connect to it using the existing ad-hoc protocol and then gather setup information using a Protected Setup-style transfer.

Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices can connect one-to-one or one-to-many, and not all connected products need to be Wi-Fi Direct-certified. One Wi-Fi Direct-enabled device can connect to legacy Wi-Fi certified devices.

Mobile phones, cameras, printers, PCs and gaming devices can now connect to each other directly to transfer content and share applications quickly and easily. Devices can make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously.

Wi-Fi Direct is being pushed as a game-changing new technology with major implications for connected television sets.

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