A new wireless protocol you say? But what does this have to do with Home Theater? The answer is simple; a LOT.
Now that High Definition video has become quite the norm, there are many wireless consumers looking to expand their home network and share more information over that network than ever before. Ask yourself this question; How many wireless devices do you currently own or have in your household? I personally have four different devices that I use on a regular basis and all of them have the capability to accept, decode and display high definition video. That's just me. There are several other devices in my house that others use that have the same capability. I also happen to have a home media server with just over 20TB of TV Shows and Blu-rays I've been collecting for many years. The other members of my household, who are much less technologically inclined are constantly bugging me to watch a certain TV Show or movie. My particular house, like many others, wasn't pre-wired for a home network. Streaming HD files over our current 802.11n wireless network has it's problems. Almost always there are cutouts and buffering issues to deal with. Without the option of running CAT6 cable through our houses, many of us are stuck to flash drives, memory cards, or portable harddrives to share media with our friends or loved ones.
This is where 802.11ac steps in. This new protocol, slated to be so popular, will have over a billion devices using it by 2015. This new protocol ditches the 2.4Ghz wireless frequency and steps up to the 5Ghz frequency. What this does is effectively give the router 8x as many channels to send information over. This means the capable speed could potentially be 8x higher than many of us currently have with our home wireless routers. With this technology we are effectively looking at up to ~7Gbps. Now, there is one drawback with using this higher frequency. The 2.4Ghz range is a lower frequency (obviously) so it's able to travel farther, effectively covering a larger area than a 5Ghz frequency signal can. This is much like bass from a subwoofer can be heard in the next room much louder than the high frequencies coming from a tweeter. This hasn't been overlooked. The solution is something called beamforming. What this technology does is focus the wireless signal towards the receiving device, whether it be the router or wirelss device (depending on which is sending the signal). Think of it like a laser pointer or flashlight in the dark. This technology will help enlarge the effective wireless area even with the constraints of using a higher frequency.
My hope is that the next A/V receiver or pre-amp I purchase has this wireless protocol built in and decodes all my media. This will cut out the middle man. There won't be the need to use a media player or game console with wired connections to send large, high bitrate, high definition videos and everyone in my house can stream their own damn media themselves and let me live my life in peace!
If you're like me and have been waiting for something like to come along please share your thoughts with us. I know this will make sharing all that media on my server a lot easier and will save me many hassles down the road. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there like me who have a home media server that will greatly benefit from this technology.
For a more technical description of this new technology please check out my source here.
Edited by Seegs108 - 2/18/13 at 4:51am