Netgear debuts first Wi-Fi Direct device

Netgear introduces Push2TV, a device that transforms how consumers view a laptop's display on a TV.

Netgear's Push2TV device Netgear

UPDATED on January 11 at 12:30 PST: Though based on the final Wi-Fi Direct specification, the Push2TV is not yet certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance group, which is the owner of the Wi-Fi Direct designation and plans to start the certification program for Wi-Fi Direct later this year.

LAS VEGAS--Remember the time you needed to hook up your laptop to an external screen, be it a monitor or a TV, and had to fumble around with cables, ports, and the laptop's keyboard? Now, you won't have to do that anymore.

Netgear, in collaboration with Intel, unveiled Thursday at CES 2010 the first Wi-Fi Direct-enabled device that links your laptop screen to a TV. It's called the Push2TV (model PTV1000).

Wi-Fi Direct is a new Wi-Fi-based technology backed by the Wi-Fi Alliance that lets multiple devices connect peer-to-peer at the throughput and range of Wi-Fi but without an access point.

Slightly larger than a deck of playing cards, Push2TV enables consumers to display their entire laptop computer screens on their HDTVs wirelessly without much user involvement. In a nutshell, the device received a signal from the laptop's display and plays that back on the TV via its HDMI or composite video connections.

The Push2TV was announced and demonstrated by Intel's President and CEO Paul Otellini during his keynote speech at CES 2010; it only works with certain laptops that support Intel Wireless Display (or Wi-Di) technology.

Netgear's Push2TV adapter, combined with an Intel Wi-Di laptop, offers a simple extension of the browsing and viewing experience on a PC. According to Netgear, consumers will be able to display the vast majority, if not all, of the content from their computers on their TVs, from Internet surfing to high-definition content playback.

Technically, the Intel Wireless Display captures fully rendered display frames in real time and sends the compressed video and audio directly to Push2TV via Wi-Fi Direct.

The Push2TV is the first commercially available Wi-Fi Direct-enabled device on the market. According to Netgear, when compared with other solutions where the TV adapter connects to the home network or gateway, Push2TV reduces the wireless bandwidth overhead by up to 50 percent.

From the demonstration, connecting a laptop to Push2TV seemed as simple as pointing and clicking. According to Netgear, the solution completely hides all the networking complexity found in currently available solutions, offering consumers the benefits of a fully integrated PC-to-TV solution without requiring any networking or advanced computer knowledge.

It's predicted that with the adoption of Wi-Fi Direct, future TVs will probably soon have the functionality of the Push2TV built-in. Many other electronics will also become Wi-Fi Direct-enabled in the near future.

For now, however, the Push2TV is the only product of its kind and will be available via Best Buy later this month. It will be sold separately for about $100 or bundled together with select Intel-based Best Buy Blue Label 2.0 laptops that cost $900 or more. The device comes with a one-year warranty.

The Push2TV supports HDMI or composite video connections. Netgear

 

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