HDMI Wireless: Establish Wireless HDMI Connection - How to do it

Wireless HDMI sounds tempting. Picture and sound are transmitted through the air in the best quality. And the idea is not that far-fetched. After all, all kinds of data are transmitted wirelessly today. So why not HDMI as well?

Wireless HDMI
A uniform Wireless HDMI standard? That would be nice!

However, there is an obstacle in the way of wireless HDMI pleasure: There is still no uniform standard for Wireless HDMI. Today, the term Wireless HDMI is used to describe wireless transmission standards that transmit high-resolution audio and video signals wirelessly using HDMI standards. Each manufacturer more or less cooks its own soup and usually uses some transmission in the 5, 60 or 190 GHz frequency range.

Wireless HDMI: An overview of popular terms for wireless HDMI transmission
If you're looking into the topic of wireless HDMI or wireless HDMI transmission, you're bound to come across the following terms:

WHDI: Wireless High Definition Interface
Using the WHDI standard, images and sound can be transmitted wirelessly at up to 1.5 Gbit/s, and up to three Gbit/s are theoretically possible. Wireless High Definition Interface is based on the WLAN standard 802.11n and enables a range of up to 30 meters. There are already TVs on the market in Germany, for example from Sony, Samsung or Sharp. However, WHDI only supports HDMI signals up to HD 1080i.

Conclusion: Solid bandwidth and range, transmission up to HD 1080i

Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung and LG rely on Wireless-HD, this standard enables uncompressed transmission of high-resolution audio and video signals at 4 to 25 Gbit/s. The special feature: Up to six transmitting devices can address the receiver simultaneously - regardless of the manufacturer. This is a clear advantage compared to UWB and WHDI, where transmitters and receivers always work in pairs. With wireless HD, too, the devices absolutely need direct line-of-sight contact.

Conclusion: Uncompressed transmission with up to 25 Gbit/s - provided there is line-of-sight contact.

Miracast is a wireless standard introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Unlike WHDI and Wireless-HD, Miracast is intended as an open standard for transmitting an audio and/or video signal from any terminal device to another terminal device using Wi-Fi technologies. For example, the screen content of a smartphone or a computer can be transferred to a large monitor or video projector. In principle, the reverse variant is also possible, e.g. streaming TV programs from a TV receiver to a tablet computer.

Miracast does not necessarily require a connection to an existing WLAN network, as WiFi Direct is supported. Miracast is supported by Intel Wireless Display or Android operating systems from version 4.2 "Jelly Bean", for example.

Conclusion: More or less open standard for transmitting AV signals via WLAN.

As you can see, the matter is relatively complex. To simplify things, we have explained the most common solutions for wireless HDMI scenarios below.

Connecting Hi-Fi devices (BluRay player, DVD, TV receiver, etc.) wirelessly to the TV with HDMI
For Hi-Fi devices on which, unlike computers, usually no software can be installed, so-called HDMI transmitters / Wireless HDMI kits are used.

The principle is simple: one wireless HDMI adapter is plugged into the player (transmitter) and the other into the HDMI input of the TV (receiver). And then these antennas radio happily away.

How well this works in practice is massively dependent on the respective device manufacturers and the radio connections. HDMI Transmittier systems are not cheap and are subject to some limitations (see below). Nevertheless, they promise a wireless multimedia experience without tangled cables, without drilling and with respectable range.

Wireless HDMI Kit: Wirelessly connect BluRay players or TV receivers to the TV.
Wireless HDMI Kit: Wirelessly connect BluRay player or TV receiver to your TV

Tips for buying a Wireless HDMI Adapter
Pay attention to the manufacturer's specifications!
Which transmission standard is supported (performance)?
What HDMI features are supported (Full HD resolution 1920 x 1080p)?3D content is usually not supported
Consider the range of the system
Connect Windows PC or laptop wirelessly to a TV
Wireless HDMI adapters for computers and smartphones are much easier (and cheaper) to set up than wireless HDMI connections for HiFi devices (see below). For computers, software is usually simply installed (or already included) that compresses the video signal from the graphics card and the output, if necessary, and makes it available in a network via a WLAN connection. Nowadays, this usually works via the Miracast standard (see above).

This Miracast signal can then be sent directly from the laptop or PC to the TV via W-LAN - provided the device also has a W-LAN module and Miracast support. If you don't have a suitable TV, you can upgrade the Miracast support with a corresponding adapter that is plugged into the HDMI slot of the TV.

On the software side, at least Windows 8.1 is usually required for this solution. But beware! Miracast also makes demands on your hardware, so some older WLAN modules are not supported. In other words: Windows 8.1 on your computer is a requirement, but no guarantee that Miracast will work.

Wireless HDMI adapter
Wireless HDMI capability on the TV via adapter retrofit

Connect Android phone or tablet wirelessly with TV
The Android operating system natively supports the Miracast standard since version 4.2 Jelly Bean. Tablets and smartphones with at least Android 4.2 can stream in this way without directly to a Miracast-compatible end device, e.g. a Miracast display or a Miracast adapter.

Want an example? Read our article about the Samsung Galaxy to TV.

Connect Apple devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad) wirelessly to the TV.
Wireless display connection works effortlessly in the Apple universe thanks to Apple's own AirPlay standard. All you need to connect a Mac, iPhone or iPad wirelessly to a TV is a little box called Apple TV.

Apple TV effectively serves as the receiver for audio and video transmission. Everything is set up within 10 minutes. If you want to learn more about Apple TV, read our Apple TV review.

If that's exactly what you're looking for, you'll certainly be interested in our tutorials on connecting → iPad to TV, → connecting Mac wirelessly to external display, and → iPhone to TV.

Wireless HD pleasure: You should be aware of these limitations
Regardless of which system you use, there are some general limitations when transmitting digital audio and video signals over wireless connections that you should be aware of:

1. data rates
Audio and video signals via HDMI are high resolution, so a correspondingly high bandwidth is required. HDMI currently transmits up to 14.4 GBit/s (HDMI 2.0 standard, September 2013). Wireless transmissions usually only achieve this when compressed.
The minimum data rate for Full HD content (1920×1080) is 3.96 GBit/s (165 MHz × 8 bit × 3) including audio. For other HDMI features that require more bandwidth (e.g. 3D, 4K), there is usually no room for wireless transmission.
2. delay
Compression and transmission via WLAN or wireless results in a minimum delay of about 2ms. In practice, this may mean small jerks depending on the configuration used, but usually everything runs reliably.
Important for gamers: When wirelessly connecting game consoles, this input lag can be a knock-out criterion.
3. compatibility
There is no standard for wireless HDMI that is officially specified by HDMI Licensing LLC. So third party manufacturers try to find individual ways to bypass the cable connection. This sometimes leads to compatibility problems in the HDMI universe.
Before buying a wireless HDMI adapter or system, you should therefore find out exactly which devices are supported.
4. stability
Wireless connections are generally more susceptible to interference than cable connections. This is also true for Wireless HDMI - several simultaneous users in the WLAN, ceilings, walls, mobile phones are all potential interferers of the signal.
Note: A wireless HDMI signal that works in an empty room does not necessarily run smoothly at a party.
In practice, Wireless HDMI allows wireless transmission of high-resolution audio and video signals from a transmitting device (DVD and BluRay player, projector, PC and notebooks, game console, etc.) to a receiving device (compatible TV). However, 3D content is generally not supported.

In addition, there is a sheer impenetrable flood of proprietary wireless video transmission standards from different manufacturers (Wireless HD, WHDI, UWB). If your own hi-fi system mainly consists of components from a certain manufacturer, it is worth doing some targeted research to see what this manufacturer has to offer in terms of wireless technology.

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