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What is Wireless Television?

By Ken Black
Updated May 16, 2024
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Though televisions have been able to receive a wireless signal, often referred to as an over-the-air signal, for years, wireless television takes that concept and applies it to subscription-based services. These services have traditionally depended on wires, traditionally coaxial cable and more recently HDMI for high definition signals. However, with the advent of thinner and lighter sets, prompting different placements for sets, wireless television has become a bigger need.

The latest standard in wireless television is known as Wireless Home Digital Interface, or WHDI. This technology was developed by a number of different companies, who came together to come up with a single standard they hope will be used across the entire industry as the technology starts to gain a foothold among consumers. The companies that have worked to come up with the standard for wireless, high definition digital television include: Sony, Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and AMIMON.

Like with any new technology or concept, there are sure to be competitors. One of those mentioned is Apple, which is developing a wireless television concept known as Apple TV™, formerly known as iTV™. This wireless digital TV concept in this case depends on a transmitter known as an AirPort Extreme™. This is based on the Wifi technological standard known as 802.11(n). Whether this standard sponsored by Apple will actually become a major competitor to the WHDI system is still unclear.

The wireless technology is not too different from the concept that sends digital signals between computers, a technology known as WiFi. This technology has been used in computer networking over the past several years, but is relatively new to the video application itself. This, of course, is not to say that the technology is not capable of handling video. Many use WiFi technology to watch videos over the internet every day and will likely notice no difference between a wired and wireless connection.

The main advantage to wireless television is one of convenience. This allows every television to be connected to a cable or satellite hub without the need of running wires throughout the home. Many who are putting televisions on walls and other such locations have no way of hiding wires other than to run them behind the walls, which can make for a difficult installation. Wireless television makes this entire process substantially easier.

Currently, there are only certain high definition sets capable of receiving a wireless television signal. Therefore, those who want to take advantage of the technology will likely need to buy a new set specifically set up for that purpose. While it may be possible to hook up a receiver to a television without wireless technology, the final connection to the TV will still require wires. Therefore, that may still not be an acceptable solution for many consumers.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon221236 — On Oct 11, 2011

Still involves wires, at least for power.

You can always buy a mini computer with built in HD video card and wifi and hook that up to the TV and run you cable etc through a main PC else where in the house that has a blu-ray and hooked up to your cable or other digital provider.

People just need to learn to higher the proper IT person or company to do an in-home installation for their Entertainment needs.

If in London Ontario area check out Forest Tech. I know they seem to know their stuff. The best bet is usually to check out a good local company that knows what they are doing.

By candyquilt — On Jan 30, 2011

I personally think that wireless television is not going to gain as much popularity as mobile TVs. The mobile television industry has been growing in the past several years and although it is facing some issues with streaming quality, mobile companies are working to improve them. We expect to do almost anything from our cell phone these days- writing emails, video conferencing, listening to music. Mobile television is going to be another "must have" for the modern individual on the go.

I think wireless internet television would be more popular if, say, it received signals from global television satellites, giving TV lovers more options and a globalized angle to televised entertainment.

By burcinc — On Jan 28, 2011

It would be great to watch cable in all of the rooms of the house without having to run wires to all of them! I'm glad they have finally developed a common system that makes this possible.

Initially, it might be a financial burden to change all those TV sets in the house. But what I'm more curious about is what the cable companies plan on charging for the wireless television connection? I suspect there won't be much of a change in cost since its similar to using wireless internet.

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