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Tired of Being Wired

Shortly after "Austin Powers" was released on DVD, I bought a Dwin CRT projector. I won't confirm or deny if the two events are related. In order to mount the projector, I had the low bidders cut holes in my "cottage cheese" ceiling for snaking video cable and power to that most unnatural of spots, the middle of my ceiling. I've been living with the patched up results for years. Only through a decade of burning toast in the adjoining kitchen has the ceiling in the home theater begun to uniformly discolor enough to diminish the starkness of the patch job. Now that I want to mount my new JVC projector, the prospect of letting the Butchers of Sheetrock back into my house is unappealing.

My first thought was that we could attach an HDMI cable to the thick existing RGB+H/V cable and begin pulling from the other side. But there are a couple of 90 degrees bends along the way that might require reopening those old wounds and, possibly, even having to take the Stewart retractable Screen down. Ugh!

Another option we discussed was surface mounting some white cable channels and running the HDMI throught that. Not very attractive, but no worse than the scars left from the original projector installation.

Then I heard about 802.11n and UWB (ultra wideband radio), the wireless standards that could purportedly support the bandwidth required for a high definition signal, up to 1080p. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Motorola has invested in a company called Amimon who demonstrated their 802.11n based technology at CES this past January. While Amimon doesn't make a consumer product yet, they do make modules and kits for use by other manufacturers, Motorola presumably among them. Purported to support up to 3 GB per second stream rates uncompressed, Amimon's solution can bundle dual 20 MHz channels in the 5 GHz band (each offering 1.5 GB of band width) to support 1080p. Even a single channel will support uncompressed 720p and 1080i video. I've read published specifications of between 300 MBs and 600 MBs for the still proposed 802.11n standard, but by the use of MIMO (multiple input/ multiple output) antenna technology, this number can be boosted.

I guess we'll see when we see.

Meanwhile, Gefen, makers of HDMI and DVI video switcher (their 4x1 DVI switcher was a feature of my system in 2005), has a UWB product coming out in June. UWB doesn't have the range of 802.11n (about 25 feet I hear), but that's more than enough range in most home theaters. Supporting 1080p, the unit will cost $750 for the transmitter/receiver pairs.

Gefen's product and those coming from Motorola or their minions (someday) sound like exciting solutions to the most vexing of problems. Wireless video will do for home theater what wireless internet access did for home networking. Even the early-adopters price of $750 (a price sure to drop with competition to a 1/10th that in time) compares favorably with the prospect of having "Larry, Darryl, and my other brother Darryl" showing up on a Saturday morning for a rousing session of Sawzall Wars.

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