WiDi actually works now, Intel executive says

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If you’ve had problems getting Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology to work, Intel feels your pain.

Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group, said in a dinner interview Sunday night that the company had made sure that Intel’s WiDi technology works, and works well. On Monday, Intel launched the Broadwell-U microprocessors for notebooks and all-in-ones, and improved WiDi should be one of the selling points.

Wireless Display is an implementation of Miracast, which projects what the user sees on his or her laptop onto a compatible TV display. The advantage of Miracast, according to Skaugen, is that it shows everything a display renders—video, documents, you name it. Google’s Chromecast, a higher-profile option, can project a Web browser or output from apps like Google Play Video or Netflix.

That hasn’t helped those who have been frustrated, however, when an adapter doesn’t connect. And those adapters have historically cost $80 or so. Now, prices have fallen into a more affordable $35 or $40 range.

Skaugen amade it clear that Intel had spent considerable time and effort improving the WiDi experience, which he described—now—as the “world’s best Miracast experience”. But Miracast can take a relative lifetime to connect even when it does so, with some implementations requiring as much as 26 seconds.

“We took a lot of time to improve it,” Skaugen said. “WiDi actually works now.” 

Later this year Intel will debut WiDi Pro, a protected offshoot of the technology that allows business PCs to project information wirelessly to a display without leaking corporate secrets via the wireless connection. Skaugen even went so far as to predict that WiDi would be more popular in the business world than in the consumer space.

Why this matters: Intel hopes that more TV makers will begin building Miracast technology directly into their televisions. (Google is expected to do the same with its Chromecast technology). Will that help WiDi and Miracast dispel Chromecast’s spell that fogs techie minds, or will we have a standards war for the future of wireless display in consumer televisions? We may find out at the end of a few days here at CES. 

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