Practical Technology

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Why WiDi wins and losses for your computer/TV connection

When I first got started with personal computers, I often used a TV to show computer video. Well, to be more exact, I didn’t have any choice but to use a TV as a monitor to display CP/M-80 command line interfaces. There’s been a lot of changes since the 80s, but getting your PC video to your TV is still something of a pain. True, you can hook up an HDMI cable to do the job, but I’ve never been a fan of having cables running across my living room. I’m also no fan of using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, with their limited range, to talk to the PC media server. No, what I really wanted was a way to just have my laptop in front of me and then just throw my video from my 15.6” laptop display to my 42” HDTC TV without any fuss. That’s what Wi-Fi Direct (WiDi) promises. Unfortunately, there’s still trouble with it delivering the goods.

WiDi has been certified for over a year and a half now. Based on 802.11n technology, WiDi is backwards compatible with the 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi networking family and uses WPA2 security. However, it’s used more like Bluetooth, albeit it with much greater range, than a LAN technology.

It’s meant to make direct connection quickly and easily from PCs to printers, displays, and so on. To do this, instead of switches, routers, or access points, WiDi devices incorporate software access points to enable ad hoc point-to-point networks. The case I care about is the one of connecting my WiDI enabled laptop with a similarly equipped TV.

Why WiDi wins and losses for your computer/TV connection. More >

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