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As high-spec home entertainment goes wireless


A high performance, low-cost wireless home connectivity solution for applications requiring the multi-streaming of high-quality video has been demonstrated by a team of EU-funded researchers.

The technology and system, developed by IST programme-funded ULTRAWAVES project supports high performance, low-cost wireless home connectivity solution for applications requiring the multi-streaming of high-quality video as wireless connectivity between Set Top Boxes, DVD and TV, PC projectors.

The project demonstrated a wireless audio/video solution using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, which transmits about 100Mbits per second, 10 to 100 times faster than traditional wireless systems.

“The significance of our work is that we demonstrated the capability to transmit a high bit rate application using UWB technology,” explains project coordinator Rafi Zack, Wisair, Israel. “An important potential application is the wireless high-quality video home environment that uses UWB infrastructure instead of the fat cable from the DVD player to the TV, or from DVD to the PC projector used in home cinema applications.”

The project used HDTV (MPEG2 Main Profile at High Level) and split it into three DVD streams. The three streams were issued over the UWB link from the transmitter to three receivers. Each receiver was connected to the PC projector. The result was a projection of HDTV stream built from three synchronised video streams. This is significant for home entertainment applications because most projectors cannot support HDTV. For example, the professional IMAX films use five projectors.

“The evaluation showed that UWB technology is very efficient for video-based applications,” he says. “The high bit rate capability enables the carrying of high quality video.”

ULTRAWAVES overcame an important obstacle to creating wireless environments – cost. The UWB transmits very low signal power (less than 200µW), which makes it attractive in terms of power saving. Because the technology may be implemented in a relatively small silicon size, the solution may be used in a wide range of consumer electronics.

Several partners in the ULTRAWAVES project, which ended in October 2004, are participating in a new project, which takes the results further. PULSERS is an industry-led initiative focusing on exploring, developing and exploiting the potential of ultra-wideband radio technology, and contributing towards standardisation issues.

Tara Morris | alfa
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