New WiDi Adapters Let Notebooks Wirelessly Stream 1080p, Blu-ray Content to HDTVs

D-Link Mainstage back
Yes, that's WiDi (for Intel Wireless Display), not WiFi. But WiDi does use Wi-Fi to wirelessly move anything on a notebook screen to an HDTV--provided that the notebook is powered by one of Intel's latest processors, and that the set either has WiDi support built in, or you add it by connecting a WiDi adapter to one of the set's inputs.

Any number of products now let you stream Internet video to a TV. But WiDi makes streaming any notebook content to your big screen exceptionally easy: You basically simply run Intel's software on the laptop. No additional wiring is required, and the technology is by all accounts extremely low latency, meaning that the lag between content appearing on the notebook screen and on the set is minimal.

The biggest drawback is that the technology is proprietary: If your notebook doesn't have a current Intel CPU, you're out of luck. The good news is that the Wi-Fi Alliance is working on a technology standard that will match WiDi's capabilities, and that the Alliance will be able to certify for interoperability between products from different vendors. But that's a couple of years off.

D-Link Mainstage
Now, WiDi itself isn't new: Intel first announced it at the 2010 CES, and Netgear introduced its first Push2TV WiDi adapter (the PTV1000) later that year. But at CES this week, Intel announced a second-generation version of the technology that improves on the first by supporting 1080p resolution and protected content that you couldn't previously stream. To run the new version of WiDi, a notebook must have an Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processor and Intel HD Graphics.

Netgear, meanwhile, announced a second generation Push2TV (the PTV2000) that supports the advanced features, including 1080p video; due later this month with a suggested retail price of $120, it will come with an HDMI cable but also supports composite video.

And D-Link announced its first product to support the technology, the upcoming MainStage adapter which will connect to TVs either via HDMI or component cables. D-Link says the MainStage will ship by midyear with pricing to be announced later.

Check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2011.

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