January 7, 2011

Play PC Content on TV

You have wonderful content (HD videos, photos, music) on your PC and now want to play this PC content on TV, wirelessly, in HD - how do you do it?

You want to browse the Internet but on the large screen HDTV - how do you do it?

For your company meeting, you want to show a Powerpoint presentation on the large screen TV wirelessly, how do you do it?

At your business, you want to setup a digital signage – signage content on PC, displayed on HDTV wirelessly How do you do it?

Intel’s WiDi 2.0 (wireless display) technology displays all of this content from your PC to your TV, wirelessly and in HD. There is no cable required between the PC and the TV.

What is needed?

The laptop and WiDi-adapter share the same wireless network and display HD videos (1080p) on the TV. All of your own content can be displayed on the TV easily. For copy-protected movies, Intel is trying to make Hollywood and Bollywood movies available via the Intel Insider service (available April 2011), which is similar to Apple’s iTunes.

The Good
Playing PC content on TV, wirelessly, in HD, is a much-needed function and WiDi 2.0 is a great step in that direction. With the huge number of PC’s sold, WiDi 2.0 and Intel Insider definitely have potential.

The Bad
  • WiDi is not polished as Apple’s AirPlay, Apple TV that enables playing iPhone (and iPad) content on TV. The overall smooth experience offered by Apple is missing with WiDi.
  • Intel’s UI for products and website (as always) is uugh!
    The Intel Insider website seems like something from the 1990’s (screenshot above)
  • early reviewers feel that the technology is not ready for prime time yet.

Should I Buy?
WiDi 2.0 is perfect for your Home Theater, Internet browsing, company presentations or Digital signage. If you have immediate needs, then it is a good buy. You probably have a new 2011 laptop already and will just need to add a WiDi-adapter (about $100).

Just realize, WiDi 2.0 is an early stage technology but Intel will surely fix any issues with software updates.

Other Alternatives
Apple TV & AirPlay is available and displays iPad, Mac, iPhone content on TV. It is an outstanding product with the best user experience and price. AirPlay may be available on PC’s in the future.

Google TV is another alternative but limited to displaying Internet on TV. Google TV suffers from both bad hardware and software UI.

Plus there are numerous other companies working on similar products.

Overall there isn’t a compelling PC to TV product today and WiDi 2.0 fills that role.

Intel does need to hurry up and smoothen out the kinks in the product. Competing products such as the above are already here and selling. Intel also needs to hire god UI designers and revamp its entire website and products. Intel’s UI looks ancient, from the 1990’s.