Intel’s Wireless Display fills the big gap in my Windows Media Center home theater experience.

This technology, first demo’d at CES 2010, may be one of the bigger successes in the HTPC and networking arenas as new computers (currently only laptops) hit the market with the Intel 2010 i3/i5/i7 processors. In a nutshell, I can use a laptop computer with an Intel i5 processor, Intel’s embedded graphics chip, Intel’s 6200 WiFi adapter, and a Netgear Push to TV bridge to stream any content I want to any TV connected to a PTV device over HDMI. The tiny Netgear device is connected to the TV via HDMI, and everything happens over a wireless Personal Area Network between my laptop and the Push to TV device.

So why is this such a big gap filler for me? My current home theater setup includes V2 Media Center extenders connected to the three HD TV’s in my home, with the Media Center desktop residing in my loft home office. What I can’t get with this set up (without buying a PC and connecting one to every television) are all the Internet based Media Center extra’s such as Internet TV and Netflix.  Problem solved. With WiDi, I’ve got a nice, light (4.2 pound) 13.3 inch widescreen laptop to use anywhere in my home, around town, or on the road AND I’m able to display all of these Media Center extras. I gain the ability to browse the web and display anything I want on my TV’s.

The technology is nearly idiot proof. Connect the Netgear device via the included HDMI cable. Hit the special button on the laptop keyboard and enter a 4 digit code after your device is found. All the networking setup is handled without user intervention. WPA2 security is configured via WPS (wireless provisioning services) behind the scenes to secure the Personal Area Network (PAN) connection between the laptop and the PTV device. An ICS connection to the Intel internal WiFi is also established behind the scenes. You won’t see this in any of Windows 7’s GUI’s or discover it with netsh, but it is present. In fact, while the 6200 Intel NIC is a/b/g/n capable, when using WiDi with the Netgear device, it is not possible to connect to the 5GHz radio in a dual band router. An error message is returned stating only 2.4 GHz is supported. Some additional good news, even in my overly saturated 2.4 GHz environment of 19 different SSID’s, I had absolutely no interference.

ready

My 52 inch TV, Netgear PTV attached via HDMI, waiting for a connection

 connected

WiDi equipped Laptop, connected and ready to rock and roll

The quality is awesome. My recorded (via cable card and OCUR/DCT) content looks great. (All the DRM rules apply here.)

mce-hd-tv

Some HD Recorded TV..

stargate-atlantis-hd

Stargate Atlantis in full HD, via WiDi

Internet TV (the missing piece in my home theater experience) in Windows Media Center looks good.

ITV-MCE

Star Trek content, Windows Media Center Internet TV

startrek-ITV-MCE

Streaming Star Trek from Windows Media Center via WiDi.

Anything I want using the Media Center interface is streamed to the connected TV, music.. pix… videos..

mcemusic 

Music – WMC via WiDi

Anything displayed on your desktop can be streamed. Want to read email? Use Windows Live Messenger? Participate in newsgroups or forums? Browse the web? Yep, it’s in there.

browsingweb

Windows 7 – Everything and anything over WiDi

And for me, there is another huge gap filler. My main beef with Windows Media Center Internet TV is the lack of HD content. With a 52 inch state of the art 1080p TV, can you blame me for wanting HD streaming? Here’s the good news. If one of the networks or other source offers an asset in HD for streaming, WiDi handles it effortlessly. As shown earlier in this post, Windows Media Center Internet TV offers a large amount of CBS content, including (at least at the present time) all three seasons of Star Trek, the original series. Inside Media Center, only SD is available, but I can navigate to the CBS website and view the remastered Star Trek original series in glorious full screen HD.

Needless to say, I’m a very happy camper these days.

Clubhouse Tags: clubhouse, media center, Media Center Windows 7, windows media center, WiDi, Intel Wireless Display, how-to, Tip

3 Responses to Intel Wireless Display is a Happy HTPC Experience

  • Mark says:

    Interesting, did you try surfing the web on this thing? i tried it in the store and the lag between the mouse and keyboard made it almost impossible. I guess it is set up so that all you can really do is set up a movie and watch it. Not good for skype, browsing, etc. Also, i understand it is not backwards compatible and i have to buy a new laptop to use it(so shell out over $900). All in all if i was buying a new laptop, maybe, but otherwise, i think i am going to wait for some of the other solutions i have seen that will be cheaper and let me surf the web.

  • Jim Konzak says:

    Barb,
    I hope you don’t mind a simple inquiry. I’m about to take the plunge and buy my first HDTV (Samsung LN46B650?) and DLNA capability sounds very intriguing, worth extra $$. However, my home Internet connection is wireless (Verizon MyFi 2200 card) which can handle up to 5 devices (currently two laptops at most). Bandwidth issues aside, how could I stream Internet content (e.g., Netflix streaming, YouTube, etc.) from a Win7 laptop to the HDTV? A crossover Cat 6 cable from laptop to TV? Or do I need a simple router between laptop & TV? I have no home network, nor DSL, as we cut the phone line in favor of cells years ago.
    Thanks for any help. Your setup sounds like kick-a** bleeding edge technology – congratulations!
    JK
    Denver, CO

  • Wi Guy says:

    The demo in CES last month had choppy video, no Full HD and VERY long delay for the mouse. So I wonder, has Intel improved it this much in 2 weeks or is was this written by Intel :)
    See all the limitations that Intel mention:

    * “By design, for peak wireless performance during playback, the laptop should remain close to the television (adapter is connected to TV). Moving the laptop away from the adapter may cause reduced performance.”

    * Only notebooks with new Intel cores, only those with Intel graphic cards, only those with Intel WiFi…

    For the full list visit Intel’s web site:

    http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/wtech/iwd/sb/CS-031067.htm

    http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/wtech/iwd/sb/CS-031067.htm

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