Intel launches Wi-Di but says 3D is the future

Paul Otellini

New wireless technology will send HD video from PCs to televisions

Intel CEO Paul Otellini used his CES keynote speech to launch a new display technology called Wi-Di.

Intel Wireless Display (Wi-Di for short) uses Wi-Fi to wirelessly transmit video from PCs running Intel's latest generation of Core processors to HD television sets. Televisions will require a special adapter made by companies such as Netgear - which will cost around $100 - to receive the wireless video signals.

It means users can download or stream HD content on their laptop, and watch the footage on a large HD screen at the press of a button.

Wi-Di was part of a keynote speech that was dominated by video, and especially 3D. Each of the thousands of attendees were given 3D glasses and were treated to big-screen footage of forthcoming 3D movies, as well as an Intel demonstration of on-the-fly 3D video editing using Core i7 processors.

Just like phones are becoming smartphones, TVs are becoming smart TVs. It means the world of entertainment will also be driven by Moore's Law

"HD has been the driver of the industry for the past few years," Otellini said. "I think 3D is the next thing that's poised to explode in the home."

"The good news for us [Intel] is that 3D requires a ton of computing," the Intel CEO added.

Otellini claimed that the advent of IPTV services and internet-enabled TVs means that the worlds of entertainment and computing are set to collide. "The technology that was in the studios a few years ago is now in the hands of the consumer," he said. "Just like phones are becoming smartphones, TVs are becoming smart TVs. It means the world of entertainment will also be driven by Moore's Law."

Splitting the Atom

Otellini also announced the latest version of the Atom processor, which he claimed offers improved performance despite consuming 20% less power than its predecessors. Integrating graphics onto the Atom processor itself had helped reduce the power drain, Otellini claimed.

Intel demonstrated its new application store for Atom-based netbooks, called the AppUp Center. The beta store software is available for download now, and companies such as Acer, Dell and Asus will be creating their own branded AppUp stores in the coming months.

"The vision is to extend this to any Intel computing device," Otellini said, including fully-fledged PCs and Atom-based smartphones. "It gives the developer community a very broad template to sell their applications into."

Light Peak

Otellini also delivered fresh news of Intel's optical interconnect technology, Light Peak, which it first unveiled at its developer forum last autumn.

The 10Gbits/sec technology was used to send 3D footage between a PC and HD television on stage, and Otellini said the technology would be in PCs "in about a year".

In which case, CES 2011 already promises to be very interesting indeed.

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