• 14 JUL 09
    • 0

    #1094: Now its wireless TV

    From Margaret White [UK]:


    Wireless televisions, which can connect to a set top box or DVD player without any cables, will be in the shops later this year.

    Most televisions are connected by wires not just to the aerial, but also a DVD player, a Feeview or Sky box and also a video games console, resulting in a spaghetti junction of cables.

    By the end of the month Panasonic will start selling a wireless television which will “speak” wirelessly to all of these devices, which can then be hidden in a cupboard.

    The new technology will only be possible after Ofcom, the regulator, announced that it was releasing part of the radio spectrum to manufacturers.

    Any manufacturer of devices that use wireless technology “” from portable computers, printers, to telephones and car fobs “” needs permission from Ofcom to use part of the radio spectrum. At the end of this week Ofcom will release a small part of the radio spectrum, 57 gigahertz to 66 gigahertz, to be used by consumer electronics manufacturers.

    Panasonic will be the first to launch sets using the new radio spectrum, with 46 inch and 54 inch plasma models going on sale within the next few weeks.

    The screen is just one inch thick and has a receiver, the size of a cigarette pack, which clips on to the back of the set.

    It also comes with a transmitter, a box the same shape and size as a DVD player. This can sit in a cupboard along with the DVD player and Freeview or Sky box or any other equipment. All the entertainment equipment “” including the television aerial “” then plug into the transmitter, which sends out a wireless signal to the television set as long as the set is within ten meters of the transmitter.

    Steve Lucas, technology specialist at Panasonic, said: “The advantage of this high radio frequency is that you can send a lot of high-definition information from the transmitter to the television without the need to compress it. There will be no break up of the picture.”

    He warned the new sets would be “priced at a premium” when they are first sold, with a 54 inch television costing £5,000 “” more than double the average price of a top of the range set of a similar size.

    LG, a rival manufacturer, hopes to have a set on the market by the end of the year.

    Andrew Warner, director at LG, said: “Consumers want to have their home entertainment to fit in with the design of their house.

    “It will be so much better being able to have all the boxes hidden in a cupboard and the television up on the wall, without running lengths of cable across the room.”

    Gadget experts said the Ofcom decision was a crucial bit of the jigsaw that would allow people”s homes to become even more wireless.

    However, Tom Dunmore, editor of Stuff magazine, said: “It”s great but you have to remember that the television and everything else will still need to be plugged into a power socket. “I”m not sure that the new technology will be enough to persuade most consumers to trade in their old televisions, unless they are living in a minimalist home.”

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