New wireless standard can distribute television signals throughout homes and offices

A new wireless technology with sufficient bandwidth to distribute multiple cable television channels and other video signals throughout a building is expected to be on the market by next year, an industry group said last week in Tokyo.

The Multiband OFDM Alliance, led by Texas Instruments, said it would publish standards for the technology in May. The group said it expected products with the technology, known as Ultra Wideband, to ship in 2005. The new technology operates at a lower power than the wireless local area network standard known as WiFi, but is capable of handling much larger amounts of data, including streaming video.

Jeff Harris, director of business development for General Atomics, a member of the alliance, told Reuters that a cable or satellite set-top box, equipped with Ultra Wideband and connected to a cable outlet, would be able to transmit video to any television in a home equipped to receive the signal. Users, he added, might also be able to transfer images from a digital video camera to a personal computer with the wireless technology.

In corporate office applications, Ultra Wideband technology could replace wires in data centers. Existing wireless technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth serve similar functions, but cannot handle large files such as digital video.

The Multiband OFDM Alliance includes more than 50 members worldwide, including Korea’s Samsung Electronics, Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial, and Finland’s Nokia Oyj. The group said it planned to ship sample silicon chips in the fourth quarter of 2004 and integrated modules in the first quarter of 2005.

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