What is the cutting edge technology regarding wireless audio/video home entertainment

Everything in my apartment is still wired together. I have a ton of HDMI cables connecting all my devices to my TV (blu ray player, gaming consoles, satellite box), and I have a 3.5mm jack connecting the speaker system to my audio source.

I know there are some advances in wireless tech for home entertainment. Video game controllers have been wireless since the 7th generation consoles. Bluetooth to connect speakers to audio devices exists. I’ve seen commercials on TV for cable TV that can stream wirelessly to the TV.

So how far off are we (or are we already there) to a point where you can have your TV and speakers be wirelessly connected to all your audio or video inputs, where you can stream movies (via satellite TV, or digital copies, or blu ray) to any TV in the house or where you can have audio streamed to speakers w/o connecting them with wires? My impression is we already have wireless speakers, but they are far more expensive than the traditional wired ones.

Does this tech already exist, if so is it affordable? Is there anything that can provide the quality of HDMI cables but does so wirelessly?

Even if wireless isn’t ready yet, can a powerline adapter kit be used in lieu of an HDMI cable? Can you send signals from a blu ray player in one room to a TV in a different part of the house via powerline adapter kits?

Wireless audio isn’t too technically challenging. But it’s hard to do at good cost, and you don’t really gain that much. If each speaker is wireless, each speaker needs to have its own wireless receiver, DAC, and analog amplifier, and someone has to do some tricky software work to ensure synchronization over a noisy lossy network. So you’ve got lots of extra electronics built into the speaker, which means they cost more. And you still have to power the thing. So instead of a thin speaker cable going to each speaker, you have a thicker power cable going to an outlet? Not that much of an improvement.

Wireless video is very technically challenging. There are lots of bits in a video signal, even a well-compressed one. HDMI cables to 1080p displays carry 10.2 Gbps. In comparison, a maxed-out 802.11ac wireless network can only get up to around 7Gbps. And that’s the best case, which you’ll never ever get in a house with lots of wireless devices and microwaves and whatever else. Much better to put the video decoder into a tiny box next to the TV and send the file to that wirelessly. A Bluray disc generally has less than 100GB on it for, say, a 2 hour movie, which only ends up being about 160Mbps. 100 times less than the decoded video. I do this with my Roku (but I first have to rip the disks to a hard drive).

The other problem is less a technological one, and more a “tech platform” business model one. You can buy wireless sound systems. But you generally have to buy all the pieces from one manufacturer. You can buy wired speakers from anyone, and slowly upgrade your system. If you buy wireless stuff, you kinda have to do it all at once, and hope that the company that makes it keeps providing software updates.

For most people it’s a better option to just put the cables into the walls.

I have Sonos for music in the house. It’s not cheap (each remote is about $150), but it will stream a huge number of radio stations or my iTunes music library, and the sound is excellent for compact units. They have to be plugged into the wall, of course. I have the remote units in three rooms and can stream different music to each room if so desired, or the same music to each room. They can also be used as stereo speakers in the same room.

We have a Sonos system, too. I like it.

What I don’t like is that I’m 100% dependent on the company to use it. It’s all proprietary everything. There isn’t even a line in so I could use them as dumb speakers when the lights go out.

A set of good speakers can easily last a few decades if you treat them right. How long will Sonos’s business model last?

Indeed, that sucks. Why can’t I watch movies recorded on the cable box DVR when the cable is out? :dubious:

Yeah but an uncompressed DVD is about 5GB of data, DVDs max out at about 10Mbps, I think Blu Rays max out at 40Mbps. With compression technology those numbers could be lower I’m sure (I think I’ve seen figures closer to 1.3GB for an 80 minute film in DVD quality after compression, which is barely 2Mbps). So would you really need those kinds of speeds?

I should add, I don’t understand what is meant by decoded video as I really don’t understand the technology behind these things. Does the DVD player vastly amplify the data from a DVD or Blu Ray, so that even if the Blu Ray is at max producing 40Mbps of data, somehow the DVD player is creating far more data and sending that over the HDMI cable (10+Gbps)?

Like iamthewalrus(:3= said, couldn’t a small box (maybe the size of a deck of cards) be used as a wireless receiver from the DVD player or cable box, then have that connected to the TV via HDMI?

The Philips Fidelio B5 speaker system seems pretty nice. The satellite speakers can detect where they are in the room, and auto-calibrate.


“An advanced spatial calibration function developed by our unique innovation lab ensures the best possible balance of sound, regardless of where in a room rear speakers have been placed. When triggered, this function uses a specially designed tonal signal to locate each of the rear speakers. It then uses this information to identify the best sound balance for this speaker placement and adjusts the sound of each speaker to match. This allows the listener to enjoy properly balanced sound even if speakers are placed outside of the ideal position.”

I can’t tell if you’re being facetious or not. You can’t watch movies from your DVR when the cable is out?

Yes. Absolutely could. That’s basically what all the little set-top boxes like Apple TV and Roku and Amazon Fire Whatever are. Except that they stream from the internet, not stamped media.

So why is the signal that goes from DVD or Blu Ray player to TV so much more data intensive than the digital media itself? DVDs max out at 10Mbps, why do you need 10Gbps HDMI cables to transfer info from the DVD player to the TV? Wouldn’t a cable capable of those speeds transfer the entire digital contents of the DVD in 4 seconds?

Also like I said, compressed DVDs that have been ripped are closer to 2Mbps. Couldn’t a DVD player that converts the media into a digital signal, then sends them over the wireless network at 2-3Mbps be possible?

Not with AT&T at any rate. I presume that is some theft deterrent device. If I don’t pay the bill, or steal the DVR, I can’t watch recorded programs.

They also encoded some programs so they could not be burned to DVD, notably The Walking Dead.

Doesn’t bother me in the least. If the power is out, I enjoy the quiet. Or in the unlikely event that I’m desperate, I can get my shop boom box, which can run on batteries. Sonos is not a stagnant company; they keep improving their product, so I don’t see them going anywhere soon.

Because the data on the disc is compressed, but most TVs can only accept and display uncompressed data stream input. The player reads the compressed stream off the disc, uncompressed it, and then sends the uncompressed data stream over the HDMI cable. For your wireless video idea to work, you would either need to have decompression hardware built into the TV, or hang a decompression/wireless receiver unit off the TV (the latter solution being implemented in many cases, as has been stated).

Compressed vs. uncompressed.

The standard connectors for video to TVs like HDMI are uncompressed signals.

To switch over to compressed standards for home use (so you’re not locked into one product line of one company) has some problems. Compression standards would have to be chosen. This includes issues regarding turf wars, royalties, etc. TVs would have to have compatible compressors. Copy protection issues prevent a lot of simpler solutions. (You don’t want us recording stuff like in the VCR days, do you?) And on and on.

Note that things like my Amazon FireTV Stick do get their media via a wireless connection and it’s compressed, of course. But they have to overdo it a bit to barely make it. So the quality suffers. And it gets even worse when the microwave is on. I had to put a spare router directly under the stick to get barely tolerable reliability.

Bandwidth is the issue. The unlicensed spectrum that WiFi and such use isn’t all that much. Noise from other stuff in the house is a problem. Then there’s the neighbors and their routers. Really bad in an apartment complex. And it is only going to get worse.

Not a lot of extra spectrum lying around unused that can be added to the two main blocks currently available, to say the least.

If you go the licensed spectrum route, than the makers of the equipment have to meet a much higher standard, stuff has to be registered, the FCC gets its share, etc. Plus you have to make a bit of an effort not to get out of alignment with rules in other countries.

If there’s a chunk of spectrum that’s underutilized a bit, the cell phone companies are already calling dibs on it.

Just go with wired solutions whenever possible.

It seems like devices to do this are as small as a pack of gum and $20-30, is that what the Roku plug in stick or chromecast do?

Yes, each of those has a decompressor in it.

But they can’t decompress the video format that Blurays are in. So, you’d need some other type of hardware to handle that. There are many different ways to compress video. In order to handle all of them, you have to have more hardware, which is more expensive. Roku and Chromecast get away with being so cheap because they can only decompress certain video formats (the ones that the streaming services use). Those little sticks drop frames and stutter semi-regularly, but people don’t care that much because the input is some streaming service, and anyway what do you expect from $30?

To answer your general question: Could someone make a DVD or Bluray player that had a little wireless component the size of a pack of cards you could plug in directly to your TV? Yes. But it wouldn’t be super cheap, and it would be more finicky than a wire.

Ah, yeah. That sort of makes sense. The DVR is part of the service. It would be nice if they’d let it work if it had phoned home in the last few days, but oh well.

Little bit of a late bump but I am loving my new SONOS Play:5. I plan to get another one in a week or so to make a stereo pair. As I am sure you are aware, they are based in our beautiful town. The Gen 2 Play:5, which launched in November, has a Line-in so that problem is eliminated.

Hi, hajario.

Yeah, I have several friends and at least one former coworker who work for Sonos. We have a 1, a 3, and a 5. I could see getting more at some point, maybe even enough to run the home theater.

Hey Homeboy…

I have three former co-workers who work there. It’s supposedly a great place to work.

Those SONOS components are addicting. Now I have two Play:5s as a stereo pair and a SUB. I have a Chromecast in one of the 5s and my TV plugged into the other one. I bought the system for music but it’s equally awesome for TV. There are very few waking hours at home when the system isn’t on.