Finally, Imation has devised a way to watch Web video and play computer games on the big screen without running an HDMI cable between your PC and television.
The yet-unnamed product (codenamed “Wave”) uses Wireless USB to send audio and video up to 30 feet from the source computer to an LCD monitor. A small USB dongle is plugged into the PC, and the receiver, which is wide and comes up to a fin that presumably holds the antenna, is connected to the TV by HDMI.
With transfers of 15 MB per second, 720p video playback and 1080p photos are possible. An Imation rep told me they’d have to work on compressing the video signal in order to achieve 1080p video, but that’s not on tap for the upcoming product. The Wave will be available in March or April, and the price should be less than $200.
Imation’s not the first company to come up with this solution. Last month, Warpia released a similar product with a slightly different design for $180. Both use Wireless USB, which means the end result will be roughly the same. I have a feeling Imation’s version will get more attention because it’s a bigger company, but perhaps the companies will engage in a price war to our benefit.
If not, I think $180 to $200 is a fair price for these products, especially considering that the Boxee Box, a dedicated device for streaming Web content, will cost roughly $200. These Wireless USB devices are more capable — I’d love to play classic video games and watch Hulu on them — though they do obviously require a PC to operate. Count this as a CES product I’ll actually consider buying.