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HD Should Be Wired, For Now 119

Posted by Zonk
from the down-with-wires dept.
AcidAUS writes "Current wireless networking standards aren't fit for streaming high-definition (HD) content between a media centre PC and multiple extender devices, according to Intel and Microsoft." From the article: "'You've also got to remember though that wired connectivity is a lot more efficient than when you start putting it [HD content] over wireless,' said O'Shea, adding that the real-world bandwidth of 802.11g would 'probably top out around 22Mbps'. Intel's Gurgen added that in addition to efficiency differences, one must also consider other network traffic when weighing up a move to wireless. 'Remember that at that one time when you're streaming content it's probably not the only thing that's happening. You could be sending e-mails, you could be downloading some sort of update,' said Gurgen. Both O'Shea and Gurgen declined to comment on whether or not the upcoming 802.11n Wi-Fi standard would make wireless streaming of HD content throughout the home viable."
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HD Should Be Wired, For Now

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  • EM Pollution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saskboy (600063) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:17AM (#15984069) Homepage Journal
    Another benefit in going with wires, is that you could potentially power some devices with Power over Ethernet, right?

    And there's less interference for everything else wireless we'll want to run. And less EM radiation in the neighbourhood could have health benefits we can't quantify yet.
    • I thought you meant Ethernet over Power [belkin.com](notice the overwhelming demand bit). Ethernet doesn't have any inherent powering, although it has some unused wires you could in theory [g4tv.com] use to power a device, but you would need to some funky stuff. Probably a bit ambitious ;) But anyway, I'm looking forward to devices that use EoP since most electronic devices in your home--tv, vcr, dvd player--already need a power plug so might was well piggy back off of that to feed HD. Also some great home-automation features seem
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You are wrong [wikipedia.org]. However IEEE 802.3af only provides max 19.2 watts of power, that is too little for many applications.
        • I've found a source that would allow wi-fi users to power all the appliances in their home. It is called the Broadcast Energy Transmitter [imdb.com]. It takes energy and allows you to transmit it through the air without affecting anything in its path. Now if we can only take it from the Joes.
      • I could be wrong here, but I was of the impression that ethernet over power had speed issues because of the amount of lost packets caused by line noise.

        Perhaps not the wisest choice for streaming a high-def signal?
        • by Fordiman (689627)
          Not the issue. The issue is the low maximum power (around 19 watts).
          • by EvilSS (557649)
            That's Power over Ethernet (when you send power over your data link). I think he is talking about Ethernet over Power, when you send data over your home's electrical system.
        • Maybe, but there are 85Mbps [netcomm.com.au] adapters nowadays. A couple of years ago at a trade show I was looking at specs of 200Mbps. HD signal needs about 20Mbps so you can have 4 simultaneous HD streams, and that's now. It might have line noise, but its a hell of a lot less than you would get on wireless.
      • by interiot (50685)

        Power over Ethernet [wikipedia.org] is standard, not all that ambitious.

        I'm not even sure 2 inch HD screens exist or are physically possible. Wireless HD is for media extender devices... eg. say you live in an apartment, and have an HD HTPC in your living room. If you want to watch HD in your bedroom using the same recorded content, you could potentially link two HTPC's with wireless so you don't have to drill any holes or run any wires down halls and through doorways.

      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        Wait, what? Okay, that explains why it started smoking when I plugged this [netzmafia.de] in.
    • by smenor (905244)
      I'm not so convinced about the health benefits, but I'd like to see less EM pollution just so that my wireless network isn't disrupted by my 12 neighbors who are downloading movies, talking on their 2.4 GHz phones and running their jury-rigged microwaves with the door open.
  • by dmayle (200765) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:34AM (#15984095) Homepage Journal

    I live in France, where I have Free [adsl.free.fr] as an ISP. The ADSL service is 24Mbps and comes with an ADSL Wifi-MIMO equipped modem (built-in 5 port switch as well), and a Wifi "Television box", that streams MP4-Encrypted HD content over the Wifi without problems. And the content is drop-dead beautiful. In addition, I can receive a second HD stream to my computer while one is playing on the TV, though my Athlon 64 3000+ sometimes struggles with the HD content...

    (For those that want to be jealous, I pay 29.99 for this service, which includes a fixed IP, 100 Channels of mixed HDTV and standard digital TV, and unlimited calling to everywhere in 40 some countries, including the US.)

    • by subxero37 (985222)
      Wow... in the US, at least here, I pay $30/month for DSL internet -- it's the fastest speed available here, at 1.5 Mbits. In addition to that, the phone bill is also $30/month, with very expensive long distance calling. And on top of that, standard low-res cable TV (61 channels) is $45/month.

      I hate America.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lehk228 (705449)
      i am going to invest in french lessons
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 (468275)
      Just out of curiosity (and yes, I am very jealous), do you have any idea what the bit rate is of those MPEG-4 HD streams?

      It would be interesting to see how many the WL network would be capable of handling at once.

      I'm not sure how many video streams the network has to be able to carry for people to consider it practical. Obviously, if the network can handle one stream, it's not going to work well for most households, who have more than one TV. And when you get into TIVO-type DVR boxes, then you might need mo
      • by donatzsky (91033)
        I couldn't find anything at Free's site, but for the Neuf offering you'll need at least 5mbps. And the two services seems to be mostly similar.
        http://offres.neuf.fr/offres/television/Questions- reponses.html [offres.neuf.fr]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Fred_A (10934)
        I use Free as an ISP too (although I have the previous generation of their Freebox modem which is just a single box). FWIW though, the HD TV content is roughly of DVD resolution. You can play it either through your TV or with VLC (or both). So it's not TVHD in the usual commercial sense although it's much better than "regular" PAL/SECAM TV. And the compression quality is quite good.

        Oh and the "modem" actually is a little Linux embedded computer. :)

        The way the local market works is that Free often is the one
      • by dhoffman (705777)
        IIRC, MPEG-4 Part 10 HD would be about 10Mbps.
    • Could DRM have anything to do with this? Is wireless content harder for them to control?

      PS: Sometimes I am lucky if I get 22 kBps on Wireless. I would love to get "only" 22 mBps...
      • by Firehed (942385)
        Well of course wireless content is harder to control. It's, uhh, not wired. Anyone in proximity to the AP could get the content. As to wireless speeds... while I don't get speeds THAT bad, it's rarely enough to stream standard def video, let alone high def. And while I've got mine encoded to about as high quality as possible, it's still a good bit less than the bitrate of a DVD, which should be easily streamable (is that a word?) over wireless. I cringe at the thought of streaming HD over wireless, at
        • by eliot1785 (987810)
          Regarding speeds - the reason I get bad speeds isn't because of wireless speeds per se, but wireless range. I don't know why, but even with Draft N I seem to be unable to cover the 2 floors of our apartment, and we don't have much in the walls. Overall it's been a big disappointment. I'm lucky if I can browse the internet on one side of my apartment on the 2nd floor if the router is on the other side on the first floor - usually I can't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah but I have cable TV with HBO and high speed internet for about $130 a month combined, no HD content included. No phone service but that's only an additional $50 a month with $.10 a minute long distance, non US is of course is more. It may not be as good in the US but at least it costs more!
    • by julesh (229690) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @04:12AM (#15984159)
      I suspect your video is rather more highly compressed than HD-DVD quality videos will be. 1920x1080p has ten times as many pixels per frame as standard DVD (720x576i) which is usually encoded at around the 9Mb/s range. The encoding of HD-DVD is better, and higher resolutions normally compress slightly better than lower ones, so I wouldn't expect to have to use 90Mb/s to reach the same quality levels... but I'd estimate 30Mb/s is necessary[1]. Sure, you can drop that to 15Mb/s for less quality loss than you get dropping DVD to 4.5Mb/s, which isn't startlingly bad. I regularly take my home-prepared DVDs lower than that, in fact. But the fact is that there is a quality loss for doing it.

      [1] - it seems that the designers of HD-DVD probably agree with this estimate: the capacity of HD-DVD is 30Gb, compared with the 9Gb capacity of DVD, so if they wanted it to support the same length video of DVD just at a higher resolution, this is what they'd have been aiming for. Blu-ray is, of course, larger still. HD-DVD is designed to cope with a maximum bitrate of 36.55Mb/s; blu-ray, again, is designed for a higher bitrate.
      • by zbaron (649094)
        Have a look at some of the videos at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide/hd/ [apple.com] as well as the other H.264 encoded trailers that are available. Admittedly, H.264 at 1920x1080p requires some serious hardware to decode smoothly, but the bit rates are not much higher than current DVD.
      • by alexhs (877055) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:13AM (#15984243) Homepage Journal
        Your parent post lacked that detail, but Freebox uses MiMo technology, an implementation of draft 802.11n. So it has more bandwith that regular 802.11g.
        AFAIK they're also using MPEG4, which is more space efficient than MPEG2 (and I get a little less than 4Mb/s for non HDTV streams - currently no idea for HDTV streams, I lack an HDMI wire)
      • by Gobelet (892738) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:37AM (#15984282)
        In France, but in Europe globally, transmission of HDTV is made in H.264. And it's mandatory. So Free is streaming MPEG-4 HDTV content over Wi-Fi, at something like 5 or 6 Mbps. And the quality is just... wow.
      • by jambarama (784670) <jambarama&gmail,com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:55PM (#15985393) Homepage Journal
        Parent poster said he/she got HD. They didn't say 1080p, 720p still counts as HD. 720X1280 really does look pretty good, and it is about half the bitrate of 1080p. I know 1080p is the holy grail (currently) of an HD system, but 720 will stream across a 802.11g network.

        Another option, 1080i, uses less bandwidth without a huge quality loss. 1080i is 1080p interpolated: basically even rows refresh, then odd rows, alternating. This way you only have to send about half the signal and the quality is pretty close to as good.

        So again, if you use a good codec, and use 1080i or 720p, you can get pretty good HD for under 20Mb/s. Of course when the 802.11n standard comes out (if ever), aside from the increased reach, it is supposed to offer roughly 10x the bandwidth currently offered by 802.11g.
        • If you're talking HD movies, they're recorded at only 24 frames/sec. For broadcast in NTSC-standard interlaced video (and for its HD equivalent) at 60 fields/sec, every 5th field is duplicated. Thus, 1080i broadcast HD movies usually take more bandwidth than the original 1080p signal (which can be reconstructed with no loss in quality).

    • ... of your ISP expanding over to North America? -- especially in Saskatchewan, Canada. Our current [sasktel.com] offerings [www.shaw.ca] are very limited.

      Pretty please?
    • by Xugumad (39311)
      Can I just point out, you said MIMO. I'm assuming 802.11n draft compliant then, at about 540Mb/s, or about 10 times the speeds Microsoft were talking about?
    • Here are some real questions for/about the original poster.. essentially, boils down to "How much money does this guy make in comparison to someone in the USA?"

      • If the OP pays 29.99 for this great service, is this in Euros or Dollars?
      • What is their occupation?
      • What is their monthly income?
      • How does this scale to someone doing a similar job in the U.S. ?

      I am curious to know how exactly this great service measures up to something equivalent in the USA. If the price was in Euros, that comes to about 38 bu

    • Yeah, but you have to live around French people. I don't think it's worth living over there and dating chicks with hairy armpits just to get good Internet access. I mean this with all due respect.
    • by Ilgaz (86384)
      On a bit unrelated note, when will your ISPs start to fight against at least open proxies?

      With such speed we are even more doomed (as spam receiving people).

      Top senders there will look familiar to you:

      http://www.senderbase.org/ [senderbase.org]

      Either France became completely nuts about e-mail communication or they are spamming.

      BTW it includes my own country and ISP too and I am ashamed, no "freedom fries" attitude in my post.
    • I live in France ... I pay 29.99 for this service, which includes ...

      Okay, we're back to calling them "freedom fries" again. Why? Because thin strips of fried potato[e], much like low priced super-DSL service, wants to be free. ;-)


    • You remind me of the people who download the "HD" torrents of the internet and think they're seeing the real thing.

      Yeah, good compression can deliver a pretty good picture. It's a stretch to get a single real HD stream over wireless today, let alone two.

      As to being jealous, I think I have 100 channels each of shopping networks, audio stations, pay per view and about 50 movie channels. I get 10 HD channels just with my antenna, and if I paid for the HD pack on DVT I'd get 10 more on satellite. I suppose I co
    • I live in France, where I have Free as an ISP. The ADSL service is 24Mbps

      Yep, I'm jealous. I remember thinking minitel was pretty cool too, back when I was just dialing into local BBSes here in America.. You lucky French bastards! ;-)

      But I'm actually replying because I'm curious about your ISP's name. I would have expected "libre" instead of "free"..

      First I thought it might be a UK company that crossed the channel, but the site is all in French, and the contact page lists Paris numbers and says

  • I still prefer having Cat-6 cables running all over the house :)
    • by JayAEU (33022)
      Indeed, running proper Cat6 wires is a good investment if you're serious about having multiple networked devices.

      Another problem with wireless networks is that all of the clients share the available bandwith most of the time. This means that you'll find yourself running a number of wireless accesspoints, which all have to be connected somehow to a switch, most probably using conventional wires.

      The way I see it, there's no way around having a wired "backbone", considering the rising bandwith demands of futur

      • Lightning. I live next to a cell tower that "brings" lightning in and this last strike (250 ft away) induced enough voltage on my cat-5 cables (in wall) to blow up 4 ethernet ports (including a switch and an intel motherboard with onboard ethernet.)

        All my wireless gear is OK :)

        • by JayAEU (33022)
          Were you able to determine where the power surge entered your wired network? I use online UPS units to filter my voltage, so I've never had such problems.
          • The cables themselves act as an antenna and will pick up the EMP from a nearby lightning strike. Years ago I worked as an alarm technician, and faced this sort of problem regularly.
    • That's because wireless sucks. The latency is horrible, the frequent, short dropouts aren't really catered for by TCP/IP, the bandwidth, as others mentioned, isn't anywhere near what it's touted as, and the security, most of the time, is dire.
    • I prefer cat-5 wires running all over the house. How is THAT for old fashioned?
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      After I read your post, I got an image in my head of little kittens delivering packets to different rooms.

      Of course, the latency would be horrible, but it would be the most adorable topography ever :P
  • It would be nice to leech the HD from your . I think at that point, I'd only be paying for basic utilities.
  • I have enough trouble streaming DVD-resolution content across my 802.11g network.

    Could be something to do with using SMB as the protocol to stream it across, though. When I test my bandwidth I get a good 15Mb/s, usually, with only 3ms ping times. Dunno why everything's so slow, but it is.
    • by Pike (52876)

      This is consistent with typical 802.11g performance. "Nameplate" bandwidth is 54mbps but the medium is half-duplex - only one side can transmit at a time - so this effectively halves your bandwidth to 27mbps. Then you have wireless overhead: frame headers, retries, and encryption, which can drop your effective bandwidth by 20% to 50%, the biggest factors there being your signal-to-noise ratio and the number of other users.

      If you place a laptop within a foot of your AP and run some active testing, you wil

      • by julesh (229690)
        Yeah, but what gets me is the fact that despite my ability to get 15Mb/s from the hardware, which ought to be adequate, the software in my environment (Either WinXP-WinXP or WinXP-Linux/Samba) fails to deliver more than about 5Mb/s when I'm trying to access files over this damned thing. It's like the protocol's deliberately crippled or something.
    • by Tatsh (893946)
      I play movies all the time on my TV (these are XviD rips which look just as good as DVD, and at a 10th of the bitrate of DVD). I do this wirelessly with my D-Link DI-524G router ($20 router after rebate), and I'm talking about 20-35 feet away. No lag, no skips (except under serious congestion, only has happened once). I do not know what these guys are talking about regarding 22Mbps. I get 36-48Mbps in my living room about 35 feet away from the router, enough to stream XviD. I have not tested out any other v
  • Sigh (Score:3, Funny)

    by tigersha (151319) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @04:29AM (#15984187) Homepage
    The really heartbreaking thing is that I live 5 km from the French border...

    So near and yet so far.
  • Because of overhead (read copy protection) you can't use wireless. If they had found a good copy protection or at least imagined the possibility someone will crack even this one then maybe they could make a good image for wireless.

    It's definatly possible, you can get full HD Broadcasts over antenna, but because there's not Copy protection on that I guess it's ok. The fact is that it's not that HD or blue ray are going to be inferior technology, it's the fact both of them are going to be so overladen with
  • Update, indeed (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by nsayer (86181) *
    you could be downloading some sort of update

    Makes sense. If you're running Windows, the likelihood that your bandwidth is being used for updates is certainly higher.

  • Well 802.11n promises a typical data rate of 200Mbit/s (max 500Mbit/s), but the actual standard is not expected to be approved until July 2007, so it will be at least another year before it is feasible to start integrating into mainstream technologies. 802.11g would probably be alright with heavily compressed HD content, but if you have more than 1 box trying to watch different content from the same source, then it will probably break down quite quickly.
  • H.264 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by porneL (674499) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:34AM (#15984275) Homepage
    I can stream full HD content wirelessly - if it's compressed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Controlio (78666)
      Well no one can stream uncompressed HD... it's 1.5G/sec. And it's a world of difference from what you see at home. You'd swear you were staring out a window.

      It amazes me how much compression is involved. Even the transmission lines from the TV truck to the station compress the signal down to 270M/sec. Bounce it off a few satellites, hand it over to your cable provider, and you're staring at about 11M/sec or less by the time it gets to your house.

      So by the time you're staring at that "beautiful" signal o
  • According to TFA, they streamed five HD files to five different XBox 360 extenders, but the entire network load is only around 20-25 Mbps? Which means one of those HD streams is only around 4-5 Mbps? Seems a bit low for me....

    Anyway, if one HD stream is around 20 Mbps (sounds more realistically), it would still be feasible to stream it wirelessly, although I would agree that depending on the quality of your wireless connection it could be a bit shaky, so that a wired connection is preferable.

    But I thi
  • Considering M$'s other [slashdot.org] restrictions, what's buying a new modem.

    I don't think M$ should be as worried about pleasing hollywood as they should be about pleasing their consumers.. because as it is now it's looking like m$ will be the worst platform for HD/HTPC for the forseeable future.
  • We have to decide whether to keep the cable spaghetti so we can watch movies with highly detailed film noise.

    Or we can dump the cables and watch cleaner, cheaper transfer.

    I'll take my time on this one.
  • Or elephants through keyholes. Even with tasty, high-efficiency/low-loss codecs, you cannot do 802.11g distribution of HD. Part of it has to do with QoS and the rest with the time domain of the duty cycle of the raster generation. In English: it's a shared space, like the 'collision detecting' part of Ethernet's CSMA/CD media access later. Only one device talks to the AP at a time successfully, unless you use two cards and two non-inteferring channels (which does happen if purposefully constructed in real
  • Isn't HD content... broadcast... wirelessly... already?

    (Just busted by elipsis quota for the year.)
  • It makes more sense and is much cheaper to stream video (HD or otherwise) from the source (Set Top Box, HD or DVD player, etc.) to a PC, video phone, pocket computer, etc. I currently use a Slingbox (cost: ~ $199) to stream SD TV to all my PCs at home and I could stream content over the internet too. I think this "other way around" (Streaming device such as the cheapo Slingbox to PCs) is the common sense way to go but I suspect Hollywood, Cable and DSL ISPs, and the PC OS manufacturers would try and restric

    • ONe problem. Verizon has a setop box that fstreams to other tvs as part of there fios network. Cablevision also tried doing this with a network pvr but they immediately got sued by the tv and movie studios when the announced they were testing it. So its not the cable and dsl ips thast are stopping it. Its the tv and movie studios that are stopping it.
  • I get my HD content with rabbit ears.
  • what codecs are being used to compress the stream.

    Using MPEG-2 vs a higher compression codec like H.264 or WMV-HD will definitely have some impact on bandwidth requirements.

  • I've always wondered about this, and while it's a bit OT, I figured this is a good place to ask:

    Does watching an "on-demand" program over digital cable take away from your available cable modem bandwidth? Considering it's all coming over the same pipe, and the shows you watch are technically "data", I would assume that to be the case, but I don't know for sure.

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