Wireless Displays Cut the TV Cable for Good

It’s become a strange but widely accepted practice in living rooms everywhere: Someone has a funny YouTube video or a bunch of family photos on their laptop, so they haul everyone present into an impromptu viewing session, all huddled in front of the tiny screen.

This is cute for a while, but then discomfort sets in. Inevitably a child’s head pops into the way at just the wrong moment, landing directly between you and the laptop at the point when the donkey kicks the guy in the face, ruining the comic effect.

There’s of course one simple solution: You can plug your laptop into the TV and share the action on the big screen, but that presents additional challenges. For starters it means having to fumble with your television to plug in another cable – if you have a free port available, that is. And then you have to go sit by the television to run the video or advance the slide show.

Here’s better news. There’s an even simpler solution coming online: Wireless Display technology, which lets you do all this stuff without the cable.

Wireless Display tech – called WiDi by Intel — works with just about any HDTV. All you need is a WiDi adapter (Belkin, Netgear, and D-Link all make them) that you leave connected to your television, plugged in via a standard HDMI or composite video cable. The adapters cost about $100. The other half of the equation is a WiDi-ready laptop, like the Dell Inspiron 14R or XPS 15, which has the video technology built in. From here it’s just a push of a button to beam content from your laptop to the television across the room — and when you’re finished, there’s no hassle involved in getting things back the way they were.

Technologies like this may be designed for the family room, but they point to an era when wireless connectivity will be commonplace everywhere, even in power user command centers. We already do this with our Wi-Fi Internet connections, wireless mice and keyboards, and Bluetooth headsets. Why not video, too?

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