LG rushes to become early WiDi adopter

LG and Intel have inked a deal to use Chipzilla’s WiDi technology in LG’s top of the range tellies, but it could struggle to see widespread adoption despite the benefits for ultrabooks.

The pair recently announced a “strategic alliance” to promote the use of Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, which provides wireless connectivity for HD content stored in notebooks and other devices.  A recent statement announced that LG’s Cinema 3D Smart TVs would be the first to feature Intel’s wireless, clutter-reducing gear.

The internal WiDi system will mean content can be streamed directly to a TV set, or potentially to a projector or monitor, without needing miles of HDMI or VGA cables. WiDi doesn’t require any internet connection, just a WiDi enabled laptop and screen to stream content.  

On the face of it the system certainly sounds useful, with consumers increasingly accessing content on the big screen from a laptop. Despite Intel and LG’s gusto, there is not quite as much enthusiasm from other corners.

Paul Gray at DisplaySearch believes that despite the joint venture showing “some possibilities” but there are many problems in widespread adoption.  This is at least partly due to LG’s history of quickly picking and dropping projects.

“With other manufacturers you might take it more seriously,” he told TechEye, “but if you look at LG it often jumps on new technology like this, and just because they have made an announcement doesn’t mean that they will push it.”

Gray believes that there are many problems with LG and Intel’s WiDi, which has been attempted in various guises by other firms, too: “I have had reports of terrible latency problems, with a video delay of a couple of seconds, which means that it would be pretty bad for gaming,” Gray said.

Sony has also attempted similar techonology, and as Sony tend to do, it was very well developed.  However it also cost a lot and the public is not interested in spending so much money on getting rid of some wires. Basically it is incredibly expensive to do it properly.

“In this sense WiDi is not a game changer, though it will be interesting to see who manages to lead on the technology in future.  At the moment thought it has limited applications other than in business use.”

One area which Gray flags as useful is doing away with bulky and expensive socket components in laptops.

This fits in line with Intel’s Great Light Hope: the Ultrabook. Intel has already been decking out its Ultrabooks with WiDi, and it certainly makes sense with the two features that Intel is so desperate to reduce: size and, more importantly, cost.

“Intel can get rid of the outputs on its devices, and that means not having to put in expensive socket components that take up a lot of space,” Gray says.  “This could be very good for Intel.”

Dropping unneccessary baggage makes sense as Intel is betting the farm on affordable Ultrabooks. Whether LG is the right partner to bring WiDi into living rooms across the world is another question.

The WiDi-enabled LG set will be on view at CES in Lost Wages next month.