Monster Digital Express HD System: Their First Wireless HDMI Kit

We just got a briefing on Monster's Wireless Digital Express HD System, a UWB system that transmits video wirelessly in the same room, If you want to send it to another room, it'll use already-in-wall coax to transmit high-def signal. Sigma Designs, known for its Blu-ray player chips, is on board, using its Wireless HDAV cable replacement to upconvert, encode and then decode the 1080p video signal on the fly. It's going to cost $600 for a transmitter and receiver pair, which may sound like a lot for you to connect your Wii to your 32" LCD in place of a 30-cent AV cable, but considering what it's capable of doing—and the technology it's using—it's not awful.

Basically, on one end you have 2 HDMI ports, 2 component video ports and a composite port. Video from all your set-top boxes go in there, from the 480p Wii to the 1080p PS3. You select inputs the way you'd select them in a switcher—at any given time, the thing is only streaming one signal, upconverted to whatever resolution you choose. If you have an audio system nearby, you can send audio out of it via optical cable or digital coax. The system keeps the audio that goes out in sync with the picture that's distributed all over, so there's no lip-out-of-sync issues.

The video (and optionally, audio) is encoded and transmitted to a receiver unit with HDMI and optical outputs, so it can be the only thing next to your TV or projector. The transmitter also has a coax output, and the receiver has a coax input, to receive the signal. (When you're transmitting UWB through your house, it apparently doesn't interfere with your cable-TV signal.)

Monster Digital Express HD System: Their First Wireless HDMI Kit

That means users could stream HD video content with full 1080p resolution between their HDTV displays, Blu-ray, DVD players and/or set-top boxes within a room or between adjacent rooms and transmit A/V contents up to 330 feet over existing coaxial cables. Monster expects their new wireless HD products to hit the market by this October. Check out the press release for full details.

Press release:

Monster Teams with Sigma Designs to "Go Wireless" in HD Home Entertainment with Exciting New Wireless HDAV and UWB-over-Coax Combination Solution

New Monster® "Wireless Digital Express HD" for HDMI Cable Replacement System Offers Both In-Room and Room-to-Room A/V Signal Distribution

New York City – June 12, 2008 – Monster, the world's leading manufacturer of audio and video connectivity solutions, and Sigma Designs (NASDAQ: SIGM), a leader in digital media processing system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for consumer electronics, today announced a collaboration to create advanced wireless solutions for HDMI™ home entertainment distribution.

The first fruit of the Monster/Sigma Designs partnership will be the new "Monster® Wireless Digital Express HD" system, which will use Sigma's Wireless HDAV™ for High-Definition (HD) A/V cable replacement as well as its UWB-over-Coax technology to offer consumers an elegant "wireless and no new wires" combination solution for enjoying HD content throughout the home. In addition to letting users stream HD video content with full 1080p resolution between their HDTV displays, DVD players (including Blu-ray), and/or set-top boxes within a room (or to an adjacent room), Monster's Wireless Digital Express HD system will allow room-to-room HD entertainment streaming, transmitting A/V contents up to 330 ft. over a home's existing coaxial cables. Monster's Wireless Digital Express HD line of products was officially announced at Digital Downtown 2008, a CES showcase running June 12-14 in New York City. Monster® Wireless Digital Express HD products are scheduled to reach the market by October 2008.

"After evaluating other wireless solutions for A/V cable replacement, we chose Sigma as a partner for our entry into the wireless distribution arena simply because the company's solutions proved to be the most reliable and because they meet Monster's strict quality parameters," said Noel Lee, The Head Monster. "In addition, Sigma's UWB allows us to continue offering our customers the quality service levels they've come to expect. Together, we are achieving a "virtual wireless" solution for the whole home by combining wireless for in-room HD content streaming and UWB-over-Coax for room-to-room streaming."

Monster's Wireless Digital Express HD is powered by Sigma's Wireless HDAV™ which features Sigma's UWB Windeo® chipset and its Intelligent Array Radio™ (IAR) technology. Sigma's IAR technology incorporates three antennas to deliver the industry's most reliable wireless link that is uninhibited by walls, objects or people, also referred to as non-line-of-sight activity. Sigma's Wireless HDAV solution will ultimately enable Monster's customers to mount their HDTVs on walls without the need for multiple HDMI and A/V cables spread throughout the room or hanging across the walls. Meanwhile, users will experience the same advanced high definition signal quality they have come to expect via traditional wires.

Sigma's Wireless HDAV and UWB-over-Coax combination solution also powers the Monster Wireless Digital Express HD product with long range capability to cover the whole home with wireless connectivity that achieves mobility and flexibility for in-room video streaming. At the same time, the solution maintains the highest quality of service that is required for HD content that travels from room-to-room. Finally, Sigma's UWB technology is based on the most preferred WiMedia™ Alliance standard supported by many of the world's leading technology companies. The WiMedia standard-based architecture and interoperability enables economies of scale and rapid market adoption.

"We are excited that Monster has chosen Sigma's wireless HDAV and "no new wires" UWB-over-Coax solutions to power the new Wireless Digital Express HD product," said Hung Nguyen, vice president and general manager at Sigma's Wireless Products Division. "Monster's selection of Sigma's UWB technology further validates that advanced wireless home connectivity is here now, ready for our home high def products. We are delighted to offer Monster customers a simple way to set up and experience broadband wireless connectivity between their home entertainment products, and once and for all eliminate the need for any new complex wiring."

More about Monster Wireless Digital Express HD

Monster's Wireless Digital Express HD product includes transmitter and receiver elements inside box equipment that encodes older video formats to 1080P HDMI, can upscale all inputs to 1080p format, and offers in-room and adjacent room wireless connectivity, and 330 ft. plus range of coax connectivity room-to-room. In addition, the product offers a fully integrated Infrared (IR) distribution solution as well as inputs for two HDMI ports, two component, one composite video/S-video with audio, coax digital, optical digital with outputs of coax digital, optical digital F-connector for coax, 3 IR emitters and a serial communication input. The input switching is IR controlled for advanced whole home control capability. The Wireless Digital Express HD can be software updated through its included USB port.

More about Sigma's Wireless HDAV Solutions

Sigma's Wireless HDAV streaming is a technology for transporting HD multimedia using standard-based encoding technologies over Ultrawideband (UWB) to replace high definition audio/video cables. Sigma enables developers of home networking systems to eliminate cables between a television and set-top box or High-Definition DVD player using wireless HDAV, the first technology solution to support both the H.264 format and UWB based on the WiMedia® standard. Wireless HDAV streams high-definition content from device to device at distances up to 330 feet.

Sigma's wireless solution combines the Fujitsu H.264-compliant MB86H52CODEC with Sigma Designs' SMP8634 Secure Media Processor decoder and UWB Windeo® chipset, the only UWB chipset that uses Intelligent Array Radio (IAR) technology. IAR ensures the highest reliability in wireless connections between devices and also delivers through-wall and range extension capabilities. Using the MB86H52 to compress raw video allows wireless HD video streaming without compromising visual quality.