At CES last year Belkin hinted to us that it would be ready to unleash Wireless HD by the time this year's show came around. And sure enough, FlyWire lives. Not out until the summer, we were one of the first to be shown the new tech in action as it transmitted uncompressed 1080p across the room.
Belkin is quoting an impressive price of $599 for the US market when it goes on sale in summer, so expect that to translate directly into Euros. A £399 price point may be wishful thinking, but it sounds good to us.
Contrary to our expectations, the kit doesn't run on using 802.11a Wi-Fi, but it does use its 5GHz spectrum also occupied by 802.11n. However, the wireless protocol used here is a proprietary standard. However, more interesting is that it's not proprietary to Belkin, but its chipset manufacturer.
Rob Fleck took us through the kit. He's Belkin's product manager for the FlyWire. "With this we think there's a market for those that would have custom installed. I mean $599 is about the same as a custom installation with a simple drop down cable. And when you think about bringing the box [elsewhere], you're talking about $2,000."
5GHz wireless technology
As for interference, Fleck doesn't think it will be a problem though admitted you can never say never. "Our system uses a technology to bounce away from noise, so if you're on channel 2 and we're on channel 2 you'll be able to keep away."
So is the technology Belkin's own? No. It has wisely opted for Amimon's WHDI chipset that will be used with other vendors - paving the way for possible interoperability with other products in the future. The technology may also be included within TV sets. "The more TVs that have this in there, the better for us," says Fleck. The pack comes with a box and transmitter, the latter of which can be wall-mounted behind your HDTV.
And as for Belkin opting for the Amimon chipset? "The TV manufacturers are only going to get behind something [substantial]," says Fleck.
Six available inputs
It's not designed as a one-feed pony, either. It'll take inputs from up to six different devices. Two of these are exclusively HDMI, one SCART and thereafter your options open up for component and composite while there's even an S-Video socket on one of the inputs (see our pictures).
Switching comes courtesy of the remote, which we didn't see because Belkin didn't have it at their stand (if you're reading in the US, this means booth). The kit also has an IR blaster next to the TV. It looks a hefty box, but it really isn't - we were amazed at how light it actually was when we picked it up.
As for range, Fleck says it will cover much more than just your living room. "We've used it at a lot more than 50 feet, but we're saying 50 feet," he said.
Expect it in the UK in the Autumn.