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What is wireless HDMI and should you use it?



  Home entertainment center without wires or cables
Keith Muratori / Shutterstock

Wireless HDMI products have been around for almost a decade, but they have not gained much popularity. But how does Wireless HDMI work, and should you buy wireless HDMI products for your home?

Wireless HDMI is an alternative to HDMI cables

HDMI cables have been the standard medium for transmitting high definition video for more than a decade. But HDMI cables have some obvious drawbacks. A couple of unlucky HDMI cables can make your entertainment center a rat's nest, and they can limit your cable box or game consoles to a single room.

You've probably guessed this, but Wireless HDMI is a wireless high definition video solution that can solve some of the problems associated with HDMI cables. You can clean up your entertainment center, send a single video source to the TV across the house or mirror the monitor from your phone or computer to your TV.

There are many wireless HDMI products on the market and they are quite easy to set up. You insert a transmitter into the HDMI port of a video source and a receiver into the HDMI port of a TV, and that's all there is.

RELATED: The best wireless HDMI products for a stylish Media Center and Multi-Room Video

It's like Bluetooth, but for Video

Unlike screen mirroring programs that Apple AirPlay needs Wireless HDMI not a Wi-Fi connection. The transmitter that you connect to the video source sends out a microwave frequency, and the receiver connected to your monitor decodes the frequency to high definition video. Think of it as Bluetooth, but for video.

Some (but not all) Wireless HDMI products have built-in IR transmitters. These transmitters allow you to use TV remote controls to control devices far from. These IR transmitters are necessary for many wireless HDMI settings. After all, running from one room to another to change TV channels would be a pain in the butt.

Like any form of wireless transmission, Wireless HDMI is prone to obstruction. Most wireless HDMI products work around the 5 GHz microwave frequency, which can be overloaded by Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals. Fortunately, most new wireless HDMI products use dynamic frequency selection to automatically adjust to the least overloaded frequency in your home.

  Braided HDMI cables connected to the back of a TV
Alexander_Evgenyevich / Shutterstock

But in the case of Wireless HDMI, latency is an inevitable form of obstruction. A video signal must be encoded, transmitted, received and decoded before being displayed. The result is that most wireless HDMI products have little delay.

Wireless HDMI products are usually the largest indicator of their latency. Products like J-Tech Digital HDbitT, which have a range of 660 feet, tend to have a few milliseconds of delay. However, products like Nyrius ARIES NPCS549, which have a 30-meter interval, are subject to some undetected microseconds of latency.

Currently, players have certainly realized that wireless HDMI solutions are not good for sending Xbox games around

Why is wireless HDMI not the global standard?

If wireless HDMI is so cool, why hasn't it replaced HDMI cables? Well, there are no standards for Wireless HDMI, and none of the expensive Wireless HDMI products available on the market are compatible with each other. Manufacturers can get together and run Wireless HDMI as the new standard for home theater, but frankly they have little incentive to develop technology that can be replaced by super-fast data transfer formats like USB-C.

Right now, WHDI is the leading wireless HDMI option. It operates around the 5 GHz frequency and supports 1080p and 3D video. Unfortunately, WHDI does not support 4K, and it is prone to interference from routers and cell phones. It was a press for global WHDI adoption a decade ago, and companies like Sharp and Philips actually built WHDI receivers in some televisions. But these WHDI televisions were not very successful and the format was turned into niche status.

Some other wireless HDMI formats have fallen off the road, including WiGig, which supported 4K video and WirelessHD, which had some decent data transfer speeds. But there are no new products that support these wireless formats, and they will eventually be forgotten.

Wireless HDMI is a niche product

Although wireless HDMI can be extremely useful for some people, it does not have much potential for widespread adoption or practical use. There are many problems with Wireless HDMI, and if you do not try to clean up your entertainment center or send a cable signal to your basement, you do not have much reason to assume the format.

What is the biggest problem with Wireless HDMI? The price. Most wireless HDMI kits run for about $ 200, and they contain only a single transmitter and a single receiver. You have to release over $ 1000 to build a decent army of wireless HDMI products, and since they don't support 4K, you can sacrifice some video quality in the process. Not to mention, most wireless HDMI products can only communicate with a transmitter or receiver at a time. Sending a single video source to multiple TVs is just too expensive and difficult.

  Pointing a TV remote control on a smart TV
Dmitiri Ma / Shutterstock

Latency is another problem. TV viewers do not have to worry about a few milliseconds of delay, but the latency added by a wireless HDMI setting can make video games unplayable. There are some latent wireless HDMI products for players, but they usually have a range of about 30 meters, so they're really just great for cleaning up your entertainment center.

Of course, there are certain situations where Wireless HDMI is meaningful. Instead of paying the cable company to put a $ 200 set-box in each room, you can buy a pair of HDMI wireless devices to send a single cable box around the house. These wireless HDMI devices should last a long time, and you can use them for different applications in the future.

Wireless HDMI is also a great way to clean up your entertainment center. If you don't feel like buying $ 1000 in products, you can always connect a transmitter with an HDMI switch and effectively remove most HDMI cables from your entertainment center in one case. Wireless HDMI can also make home projectors much more comfortable, as you do not need to dangle any cables from your roof.


Will Wireless HDMI become the global standard for video transmission? Big chance. But it can replace HDMI cables in your home if you can find a good use for it.

Sources: ActionTec, Wikipedia


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