6 WiDi Questions, Answered

Wireless display connection technology, or WiDi, lets people connect a laptop to a TV without a tangle of cable.

1. What is WiDi?

WiDi, the popular name for Intel Wireless Display, is a display connection technology that allows people to extend their laptop screen to their TV — no cable required.

Intel Wireless Display WiDi

Introduced in 2010, Intel WiDi now supports up to 1080p high-def resolution, 5.1 multi-channel audio and HDCP, which means you can now beam DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and movies over the air.

WiDi has drawn praise in media reviews from its launch. Engadget was “bowled over from the start” and PC Magazine called it “the hottest sleeper technology” of 2010. Laptop Magazine included WiDi among its 25 most innovative products of 2010 and Popular Science named it one of the best new computing products of the year.

2. What can I do with WiDi?

WiDi works like an HDMI cable connected to your TV, allowing you to multi-task on the laptop screen while another application or media player runs on the TV screen, except you can keep your laptop on your lap — no cable. Imagine watching on TV the video you made of your kid’s birthday party while telling your friends on Facebook how glad you are that it’s over.

While some set-top boxes, game consoles and Blu-ray players offer internet services, they’re usually limited to a vendor-chosen subset of services enabled on the device. With WiDi, no such limitation exists. Tour Google Earth, explore massive photo mashups, play the latest pre-beta music service — if it’s on your computer, and you can beam it to your big screen (and big speakers if you have a receiver that takes HDMI).

3. How does WiDi work?

Processor graphics render a second virtual display, which is broadcast via WiFi through a feature in Intel Centrino wireless chipsets called My WiFi. On the TV side, a receiver converts the signal and passes it to the TV. The receiver is available as an add-on adapter and a growing number of multifunction TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes are coming to market with WiDi receiver adapters built in.

The connection between the laptop and the adapter is managed by Intel WiDi software that runs on the laptop — the wireless driver, graphics driver and wireless display software are available for download from Intel. An additional app called Intel WiDi Widget simplifies the task of configuring the Windows settings to achieve the correct resolution and displays the active window on the TV with a single click.

4. Where can I find WiDi devices?

WiDi logo Intel Wireless Display

WiDi is available in more than 100 laptop designs in virtually every major market around the world. Belkin, Netgear, D-Link and other OEMs offer display adapters.

Online, several retailers and OEMs allow you to search for laptops that have “wireless display.” Best Buy, for instance, has a page with details about WiDi and dozens of compatible machines.

In stores, look for the Intel WiDi logo.

5. What offerings compete with WiDi?

Imation and Veebeam both sell adapters based on wireless USB that include a base that connects to the TV and a USB dongle for the laptop.

6. What’s next for WiDi?

In 2012, look for WiDi to spread beyond laptops to other Intel powered devices. It’s already cropping up on all-in-one desktops such as the Dell Inspiron One.

Consumers can expect to see WiDi receiver adapters integrated into selected consumer electronics devices, running as an application on Blu-ray players or even directly on TVs (LG has announced plans to incorporate WiDi into its TVs). And Intel has been supporting the new industry standard for a wireless display protocol called Wi-Fi Display, which will be supported in future versions of WiDi.

6 WiDi Questions, Answered

Wireless display connection technology, or WiDi, lets people connect a laptop to a TV without a tangle of cable.

1. What is WiDi?

WiDi, the popular name for Intel Wireless Display, is a display connection technology that allows people to extend their laptop screen to their TV — no cable required.

Intel Wireless Display WiDi

Introduced in 2010, Intel WiDi now supports up to 1080p high-def resolution, 5.1 multi-channel audio and HDCP, which means you can now beam DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and movies over the air.

WiDi has drawn praise in media reviews from its launch. Engadget was “bowled over from the start” and PC Magazine called it “the hottest sleeper technology” of 2010. Laptop Magazine included WiDi among its 25 most innovative products of 2010 and Popular Science named it one of the best new computing products of the year.

2. What can I do with WiDi?

WiDi works like an HDMI cable connected to your TV, allowing you to multi-task on the laptop screen while another application or media player runs on the TV screen, except you can keep your laptop on your lap — no cable. Imagine watching on TV the video you made of your kid’s birthday party while telling your friends on Facebook how glad you are that it’s over.

While some set-top boxes, game consoles and Blu-ray players offer internet services, they’re usually limited to a vendor-chosen subset of services enabled on the device. With WiDi, no such limitation exists. Tour Google Earth, explore massive photo mashups, play the latest pre-beta music service — if it’s on your computer, and you can beam it to your big screen (and big speakers if you have a receiver that takes HDMI).

3. How does WiDi work?

Processor graphics render a second virtual display, which is broadcast via WiFi through a feature in Intel Centrino wireless chipsets called My WiFi. On the TV side, a receiver converts the signal and passes it to the TV. The receiver is available as an add-on adapter and a growing number of multifunction TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes are coming to market with WiDi receiver adapters built in.

The connection between the laptop and the adapter is managed by Intel WiDi software that runs on the laptop — the wireless driver, graphics driver and wireless display software are available for download from Intel. An additional app called Intel WiDi Widget simplifies the task of configuring the Windows settings to achieve the correct resolution and displays the active window on the TV with a single click.

4. Where can I find WiDi devices?

WiDi logo Intel Wireless Display

WiDi is available in more than 100 laptop designs in virtually every major market around the world. Belkin, Netgear, D-Link and other OEMs offer display adapters.

Online, several retailers and OEMs allow you to search for laptops that have “wireless display.” Best Buy, for instance, has a page with details about WiDi and dozens of compatible machines.

In stores, look for the Intel WiDi logo.

5. What offerings compete with WiDi?

Imation and Veebeam both sell adapters based on wireless USB that include a base that connects to the TV and a USB dongle for the laptop.

6. What’s next for WiDi?

In 2012, look for WiDi to spread beyond laptops to other Intel powered devices. It’s already cropping up on all-in-one desktops such as the Dell Inspiron One.

Consumers can expect to see WiDi receiver adapters integrated into selected consumer electronics devices, running as an application on Blu-ray players or even directly on TVs (LG has announced plans to incorporate WiDi into its TVs). And Intel has been supporting the new industry standard for a wireless display protocol called Wi-Fi Display, which will be supported in future versions of WiDi.