Wireless DisplayPort Getting Closer

Andrew Neale

The Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance and the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) have established a joint working group to advance the WiGig DisplayPort video standard certification.

The WiGig Alliance is forging the next generation of wireless networking, and VESA are well known for the DisplayPort interface and the flat panel hardware mounting spec. This announcement is all about connecting devices to screens wirelessly.

This new joint working group will address interoperability between the DisplayPort standard and WiGig’s own Display Extension Protocol Adaption Layer (PAL). When the group’s work is complete, DisplayPort certified WiGig devices will be able to seamlessly interconnect without the need for any wires, providing a DisplayPort interface without the use of a DisplayPort cable.

Ali Sadri, president and chairman of the WiGig Alliance, says WiGig DisplayPort technology would be a great leap forward for consumers looking for the truly natural wireless experience. “We have taken a different approach to the untethered devices by providing an unprecedented cable equivalent display technology without compromising on the quality of service.  DisplayPort is already one of the most widely established display connection technologies for PCs and it is imperative that future WiGig devices are compatible. Having a joint working group is a great step along the road to full interoperability.”

This latest news follows WiGig’s second Plugfest earlier this year, a very successful Computex Executive Summit in Taiwan and its centre-stage billing at the Intel Developer Forum in September.

Interestingly Intel is a member of both organisations, and along with the rest of the hardware industry, would benefit from this being a global standard. But how does that sit with one of its own technologies, Intel Wireless Display known as WiDi? We last looked at this WiFi-based technology at #CES back in January, and we certainly recognised the implication this has for easily connecting devices to screens.

The answer is that WiDi is shipping now, and in 30 million laptops according to Intel, whereas WiGig is still a couple of years away yet before it hits the market properly.

WiDi is limited to HDTV resolutions, and there is still the issue that playing back commercial DVD and Bluray content is not supported (ie no HDCP encryption). But once WiGig wireless networking gains momentum there will be a logical and solid interface available built on the open DisplayPort standard, which is surely better than a proprietary solution from one company.

It’s good to see that hardware standards are being advanced which have the potential to make our lives (both professionally and personally) easier, and being invested in and driven by a wide range of companies. This of course isn’t too surprising, because if the standards aren’t there, one manufacturer’s kit won’t work properly with the next, and no-one would be able to ship serious quantities of inter-operable hardware.

If only the same was true in the software world.

The WiGig Alliance is responsible for developing the most advanced 60GHz multigigabit wireless standards, capable of transmitting at speeds of up to 7Gbps. VESA created, owns and certifies DisplayPort, which according to analyst firm IDC will be featured in 89.5 percent of commercial desktops and 95 percent of commercial notebooks by 2014.

WiGig Alliance published its Display PAL, known as WiGig Display Extension (WDE), in 2011. The specification was developed to support PC peripherals, HDTVs, monitors, and projectors. The spec also supports the latest High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) encryption and is capable of the transmission of both compressed and uncompressed video.

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