How Apple might wangle Wi-Fi into its iTV

You may have heard this already, but Macworld is next week and Apple Computer is expected to show off its iTV, a hub that will let PCs and digital TVs transfer data wirelessly.

A lot of companies--Linksys, Dell, Sony--have already released similar products and sales have stunk. The added spiff of wireless and the growing acceptance of Internet video, however, may make a product like this more compelling.

But how? Video and music files are big, and transferring them inside a house beyond a few feet without glitches has always been problematic.

Apple says it will use a form of Wi-Fi, which is often subject to interference because the signals travel in the same spectrum as those that operate, among other objects, your garage door remote.

The possible solution is a specialized, proprietary form of Wi-Fi that insulates the signals from the hoi polloi. Other companies are already tinkering with this idea. Neosonik, a start-up from Northern California, has come up with a proprietary spin on 802.11(a) for a wireless home stereo system. , founded by AST founder Safi Qureshey, also has devised an Wi-Fi chip for this task.

Meanwhile, backers of the 802.11(n) standard are looking for ways to optimize the standard for video, according to EE Times. Meanwhile, Israel's Amimon is showing off a wireless HDMI connection at CES. (Neosonik and Quartics will be at the Las Vegas show too.)

I have no information on whether Apple has deals with any of these companies, but it wouldn't be the first time it capitalized on relatively new components from third-party manufacturers. The first iPod was different, after all, because it was the first to use Toshiba's 1.8-inch drive and had a novel touchpad from Synaptics.

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About the author

    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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