Monster Cable Rolls Out Wireless HDTV Connection Kit

Monster Cable Products Inc., the company that's synonymous with expensive video and audio cables, is going wireless.

On Thursday, Monster is introducing a set of two boxes: a receiver that plugs into the back of a high-definition TV and a transmitter that connects to a DVD player or other components of a home entertainment center.

The transmitter can send an HD video signal wirelessly up to 30 feet to the receiver, using so-called ultra-wideband, or UWB, technology from Sigma Designs Inc.

"This is our Monster Cable-less solution," joked Monster Cable president Noel Lee, in an interview.

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The Monster Digital Express HD boxes will be available in October for $299.95 each.

Wireless HD connections are a hot field in consumer electronics, with many companies trying different technologies to solve the problem of maintaining a steady flow of wireless data at very high speeds. Ultra-wideband, a relatively novel technology, is a leading contender.

In January, Westinghouse Digital Electronics showed off an LCD TV for the commercial signage market with a built-in UWB receiver chip and a matching transmitter.

A consortium that includes Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Intel Corp. is promoting another wireless technology they call WirelessHD, with transfer speeds that are even higher than UWB.

Other manufacturers, like LG Electronics, are betting on run-of-the-mill Wi-Fi as the wireless link. Wi-Fi is a tried and true technology for data networking, but is less than ideal for streaming video because of interference from other Wi-Fi gadgets.

"We had opportunities with lots of other systems that just didn't have the quality of service," Lee said. "[Sigma] is the first partner we found ... that has a robust enough technology."

The Monster transmitter will "upscale" non-HD signal sources, like DVDs, to HD resolution before transmitting. The receiver plugs into a High-Definition Multimedia Interface, or HDMI, port on the TV.

To back up the short-range wireless capability, the boxes can also connect via coaxial cable to reach each other in different rooms, up to 330 feet away.