Tzero Announces Wireless Video Chip

The new technology would deliver wireless high definition video at distances up to 100 feet.

Tzero Technologies announced June 12 a new type of wireless transmission chip aimed at the video market.

According to the company, the new technology is designed to deliver wireless high definition digital video content across distances up to 100 feet.

The new technology uses a version of ultrawide band communications that sends small quantities of information spread across a spectrum ranging from 3.1GH to 10.6GHz.

The broad use of spectrum allows the company to send signals with very high bandwidth—up to 100M bps, with near-perfect immunity from interference or signal loss.

According to Dan Karr, senior vice president of Marketing and Sales for the Sunnyvale, Calif., based company, the new technology should be available to vendors in July.

He said that he expects to see the first products using the technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, 2007.

"This enables the distribution of digital content wherever we want it," Karr said, "you dont have to have a cable running to every television."

While the technology is currently aimed at delivering video, it can also be used for wireless data transmission, including wireless networks. In that area, Tzeros technology will face 802.11n, the next generation of the current Wi-Fi standard.

"It seems to have the longest range for the purpose of what theyre targeting, which is to deliver video content over a long distance [50 feet to 100 feet]," said Stan Bruederle, research vice president for the Dataquest Research Group at Gartner. "One hundred feet is what you need to cover most homes," he said.

According to Bruederle, Tzero accomplishes this by using multiple antennas and a wide range of frequencies.

"They get more than one signal that they can use to complete the connection," he said, "which has the benefit of extending the range to some extent."

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Bruederle isnt sure that the new technology is a sure thing.

"Vendors are being cautions with new technologies. They dont want home entertainment centers coming back to the store because the wireless technology didnt work," he said.

On the other hand, apparently the transmission quality has a lot of potential.

"Whats interesting with Tzero technology is the ability to do very high bandwidth with very high reliability," said Charles Golvin, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.

"This purports to solve a lot of the problems with trying to do video transmission with networks today," Golvin noted. "It has very high security."

"Given the other choices the consumer electronics vendors are going to have, the question of how quickly Tzero can descend the cost curve to compete with other technologies will determine their success," Golvin said.

But there remains the problem if compatibility, "It has the potential to be significant, but its too early to call," Golvin said. "The CE vendors typically dont want to base on a single company."

He said that a lot will depend on how well Tzero can supply the technology to other vendors so that there will be compatibility in the marketplace.

One bright spot for Tzero, however—Golvin thinks it will appear on the market before the certified 802.11n products do.

Still, success is by no means certain. "Given the picture, Im not jumping on any bandwagon yet," Bruederle said, but he noted, "I was impressed with the performance Tzero got."

He said Tzero still has issues with its video transmission, although most of those issues have been solved.

He said that the outcome will depend on how well it works, and how quickly its adopted by consumer electronics vendors, if its adopted at all. "Well see when this becomes real," he said.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...