Wireless USB has spawned a new peripheral to add its growing following – DisplayLink and Alereon have jointly announced a graphics adaptor that can connect a PC to a display without the need for a cable.
It’s only a reference design from which OEMs will work, but it claimed to be the first product to use wireless technology in this way. The two companies will display the design at the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 7-12, 2008.
The design pairs the WiMedia Alliance-certified AL5000 wireless USB chipset from Alereron with DisplayLink’s technology for rendering video streams to create a product that the vendors claim matches the graphics output from a wired display at resolutions up to 1680 x1050 and 16.7 million colours across the whole WiMedia spectrum from 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz in the US.
Given that the adaptor is actually a clever way of rendering video with an integrated rendering software engine using compression, this isn’t likely to meet the demands of high-performance graphics, but it is possible that it could find a home in niches where physical video interconnection is inconvenient.
“A display connected using this wireless reference design feels and looks to a user exactly like a wired display,” said DisplayLink CEO, Hamid Farzaneh. “As evidenced by the proliferation of wireless mice and keyboards, the availability of the technology to bring the same freedom to monitors is just what OEMs need to spur explosive growth in this market,” he said.
DisplayLink has already promoted the USB graphics-to-display concept through a deal that saw its technology included in Samsung’s UbiSync LDC monitor, a design that used wires but allowed a monitor to hook up to a PC without the need for a physical graphics card.
As ever, the issue of spectrum is still an issue in Europe – the technology has not been approved for use specifically in the UK for instance. A development of Ultra-wideband technology, Wireless USB can transfer data at speeds in line with its wired USB relative, namely 480 Mbits/s at 3 metres, or 110 Mbits/s at up to 10 metres.