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Innovation

Gefen cuts the cord with its ultrawideband wireless HDMI extender

One of the Holy Grails of home theater setups is being able to have all of your equipment connected without a corresponding rat's nest of cables. We've seen a number of previews of technology that will allow for the wireless transmission of HD signals, though some are still in purgatory (like Belkin's FlyWire).
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Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

One of the Holy Grails of home theater setups is being able to have all of your equipment connected without a corresponding rat's nest of cables. We've seen a number of previews of technology that will allow for the wireless transmission of HD signals, though some are still in purgatory (like Belkin's FlyWire). But Gefen has announced that its Wireless for HDMI Extender is now shipping, which means if you have a spare $999 around you can be free of HDMI cables sticking out behind your HDTV (without having the open up the wall behind it to hide them).

The extender uses ultrawideband technology to stream audio and video from a sender up to 10 meters (or roughly 33 feet) to the receiver unit, which connects to your TV. You can attach two HDMI sources (and one component-video one) to the transmitting unit; you can choose between the sources either with the included IR blaster, manually switching via the receiving unit, or setting the extender to automatically detect when a source is in use. Aside from the high price, another drawback is that the extender tops out at streaming compressed 5.1 audio.

This type of solution to cable clutter is clearly part of HDTV's future, though it will no doubt take a while to filter down to mainstream prices. A related technology, WirelessHD, is slated for use in Panasonic's Z1 series plasmas, which are due out in summer but will no doubt cost a lot more than a pretty penny.

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