Ultra-Wideband Brings Wireless Video to Cars

Wait till the guys at Pimp My
hear about this.

Freescale Semiconductor is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week showing off the first automobile application to
leverage Ultra-Wideband (UWB) wireless technology. The wireless video system
is being shown in a seven-passenger SUV at Delphi Corporation’s

Leveraging Freescale’s UWB technology, the SUV demo shows the ability to
simultaneously stream two separate video streams to two liquid crystal
display (LCD) screens mounted on the back of the driver and passenger
headrests. This is where one advantage of wireless comes into play, as
there’s no need for cables and wires to connect to the video server
located in the vehicle.

UWB can also be augmented or coexist with other wireless technologies. In
the demo, an additional two screens, located on the back of the
headrests on the second row in the vehicle, wirelessly receive video using
Wi-Fi, or 802.11n , as the wireless technology standard was
originally called.

Wireless technologies such as Bluetooth are good for applications like
wireless phone headsets, but UWB, at rates as much as a hundred times
faster, is better suited to applications like video; an MPEG2 movie
or HDTV stream can be wirelessly broadcast in real time. Video game
players are another good candidate for UWB wireless connections in the car.

Auto makers are finalizing specifications for 2009 and 2010 models, so
cars with this wireless capability built-in won’t be rolling off the
assembly line anytime soon. But aftermarket products will be available this
year, Martin Rofheart, director of the UWB Operation at Freescale, told internetnews.com. Belkin, for one, is showing
wireless products at CES enabled by Freescale’s UWB technology.

Belkin introduced what it says is the first UWB-enabled product for the
U.S. market. The Belkin CableFree USB Hub, $125 retail, is the industry’s
first USB Hub that does not require a cable to connect to the computer.
Beginning in early spring, Belkin plans to offer a four-port hub that will
enable immediate high-speed wireless connectivity for any USB device without
requiring software.

“With USB 2.0 wireless you don’t have to worry about finding the
connector, or the number of connectors or other hassles,” said Rofheart.
“And this also opens up USB to non-traditional settings like cars, media
servers, AV racks and home theaters, where you can’t always conveniently
reach the USB port. And it solves the rat’s nest of cabling.” USB 2.0 can
support up to 127 devices.

Rofheart said Freescale has a broad technology roadmap that encompasses
TCP/IP, Bluetooth and other connectivity standards in the future. “We want to continue what we’re doing with
USB, which is to take a complex technology and make it absolutely simple for
the consumer, so that they don’t have to take any action; it just works,” he said.

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