Stream anything from your PC to your HDTV, wire free

Intel's new chips can compress the contents of a PC display on the fly and stream it wirelessly to a Netgear set-top box.

A slew of network-connected gadgets now let you watch Netflix and Amazon on-demand videos to your TV, and a growing number of sets, set-top boxes, and Blu-ray disc players come with built-in software for accessing content on these and other Web sites such as YouTube and Pandora. What's been missing, however, is an easy and convenient way to enjoy any content you can view with your PC on your big digital TV screen.That may soon change. Intel's next-generation notebook CPUs, announced at the consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, are so powerful they can compress the contents of a PC display on the fly and stream it wirelessly to a soon-to-be-introduced Netgear set-top box, the Push2TV (PVT 1000), that you'll connect to your set via HDMI or component cables.

In theory at least, the technology sidesteps the pesky log-in, formatting, and digital rights management issues that make it difficult to enjoy content on displays that bypass PCs completely. If the technology works as advertised, you should be able to watch any content that you can watch on your monitor or notebook display on your TV--sort of like a wireless projector. (However, IDG News reported earlier this week that you're not really supposed to use Push2TV to view protected content.)

Although Push2TV uses 802.11n Wi-Fi, the streamed content is supposed to be less prone to interference than traditional Wi-Fi network hookups, in which data from one networked device must travel through a router en route to another networked device. That's because the setup uses new peer-to-peer technology designed to simplify direct wireless connections between devices--no router involved. Fewer network hops present fewer opportunities for the signal to degrade. We'll get a chance to test out the claim later this month, when Best Buy is expected to begin selling the Push2TV, either as a US$100 stand-alone box or bundled with notebooks based on the new Intel chips with Wireless Display support.

For more up-to-the-minute blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PC World's complete coverage of CES 2010.

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