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Wireless HDTV direction may emerge from holiday shopping, CES

No clear direction is apparent in the development of the wireless HDTV consumer market, but that situation may change as clues about which, if any, of the competing technologies being advanced are likely to gain momentum as consumers enter the holiday shopping season and new products are announced at CES in early 2009, according to ABI Research.

A recent ABI Research study, “Wireless Video Cable Replacement Market and Technologies,” examines the three contending technologies in this arena and offers a look at the prospects of each in the market. They are 5GHz, 60GHz and ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. Currently, a small number of 5GHz and UWB devices are shipping, while demo 60GHz products are expected early next year.

“Over the next two to three years, we’re going to see one or two of these wireless HDTV approaches emerge as the primary ones,” said Steve Wilson, ABI Research principal analyst.

Two industry groups have emerged to promote 5GHZ and 60GHz solutions. Israel-based Amimon, which has created the technology upon which 5GHz platforms are based, took the initiative in July, forming the WHDI Special Interest Group. It has been joined by Hitachi, Motorola, Sharp, Samsung and Sony. Hedging their bets, the latter two vendors are also members of the competing industry body, WirelessHD, which will promote the 60Hz approach designed by SiBEAM. Other members of WirelessHD include Intel, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric, NEC and Toshiba.

According to Wilson, the WHDI group has the early momentum. Announcements at CES of systems using the 60GHz band will give some indication of whether consumer products will actually make it to market in 2009.

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