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Wireless Networking Technology

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any USB-C Wireless Video Solutions? 127

jez9999 writes: Sometimes it feels like we're on the cusp of a technology but not quite there yet, and that's the way it feels for me after searching around for USB-C wireless video solutions. There are several wireless video solutions that use HDMI on the receiver end, of course, but these aren't ideal because HDMI can't provide power. This means you need a separate receiver box and power cable going into the box, but cables are what you're trying to get away from with wireless video!

So the answer to this would seem to be USB-C. It supports HDMI video as well as power, so in theory you could create a receiver dongle that just plugged into a TV (or monitor with speakers) and required no external power cable. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find anything like this on the market.

There is Airtame, but that doesn't work with a 'dumb' TV -- it needs to plug in to a computer that you can install software on to stream the video. What I'd like is to be able to wall-mount a new TV and just plug in a wireless dongle to stream the video with no extra setup required on the receiver end.

Does anyone know of a solution like this that exists right now, or one that's being developed?
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Ask Slashdot: Are There Any USB-C Wireless Video Solutions?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi. I want to develop a new hardware solution, but I'm too lazy to do due diligence. Can you do my work for me?
    • I'm not aware of any TVs that have a USB-C input, so the whole premise is flawed from the start. HDMI can optionally provide power, just not a lot of it (50 mA) Many TVs have USB ports for one reason or another, so there's 500 mA or more. The biggest issue here is that it seems like this guy wants to send raw HD video streams wirelessly. There's a difference between streaming 20 mbps compressed video à la Netflix vs raw 1080P video at 4.46 gbps. Buy a Chromecast...
      • by Curtman ( 556920 ) *
        Chromecast seconded.

        I wish they would implement some security whatsoever on them though. I gave my 4 year old an old phone with YouTube Kids on it. Since he's learned to cast though, it's difficult to watch anything but YouTube Kids.
        • Remove google home and that will kill the casting ability. Then make sure that the google account prompts you for a password for installing new Apps. No more casting for the 4-year-old.
          • by Curtman ( 556920 ) *
            I don't have a Google Home. I have a nexus player, and a ForgeTV. Anyone connected to the same network they are can take over them at any time. If the tv is off, it will turn on.
  • No... Just no.

  • Most TVs come with a USB port, so you can power some of those HDMI devices right from the TV, albeit with an extra cable on the back.

    I did this for a while with a Fire Stick, but it would complain that it wasn't getting enough power sometimes so I ended up using an external USB charger with it. Newer devices should have lower power requirements though, and better TVs might have more powerful USB ports.

    • Most TVs come with a USB port, so you can power some of those HDMI devices right from the TV, albeit with an extra cable on the back.

      I did this for a while with a Fire Stick, but it would complain that it wasn't getting enough power sometimes so I ended up using an external USB charger with it. Newer devices should have lower power requirements though, and better TVs might have more powerful USB ports.

      If you just want power over HDMI, why not just use the MHL standard? To have both power and HDMI over a USB-C cable you would need the non-standardd MHL mode anyway, and MHL also has a non-standard MHL mode for HDMI, that provides 5W .

    • If it doesn't come with a USB port, just install an outlet with built-in USB power behind the TV if you want to keep things clean.
  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Friday March 16, 2018 @11:29AM (#56269701)

    Wouldn't a chromecast do what you're looking for? Just plug your device into power and stream from wherever. You can plug the chromecast itself into a USB port on the TV for it's power if you need to.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      Doesn't that lock you into streaming video from Chrome though, rather than just sending the graphics card output?

    • A chrome what? My 5 year old Samsung acts as a wireless DNLA receiver just fine no additional device required on either the laptop or the TV

      • Yeah but he wants to work with a "dumb" TV that doesn't have smart-tv features like built in apps and stuff.

        • by deesine ( 722173 )

          I didn't realize dumb TV's came with USB-C ports.

        • What dumb TV comes with USB ports?

          Side note, as I mentioned in another thread there's a very good reason he won't find a product he's looking for: Why would someone bother developing a product which is potentially expensive, and where 99.99% of your potential users would just ignore it and either use their existing Smart TV features or buy a Chromecast, or FireTV, or AppleTV, or any of the other devices that serve as a DNLA endpoint.

          Seriously right now on my network I have 5 possible ways to push content to

          • by Strider- ( 39683 )

            What dumb TV comes with USB ports?

            My 10 or 11 y/o Sharp Aquos dumb TV has a USB port for firmware upgrades (which have never happened). It's a dumb TV. I've mostly used it to power a Wii sensor bar, which tells you how old it is.

          • Dumb TV is a slight misnomer.  Think about a Keynote Address or a Presentation in a conference room where all the wall mounted displays are commercial digital signage units rated for 24/7 use in VTC.
          • Samsung [samsung.com] sells at least 4 non-smart TV's with USB inputs. I wanted to add external and portable (Roku, in this case) devices for my "smart" capabilities.

            That said, I agree with the rest of your post.
    • Don't most new smart TVs already support wireless display? The roku and roku TV does.

      • Only through wifi or network connection.  If you land at a convention hall like blackhat and have to do a presentation, you're basically given an hdmi or vga plug to put into your computer.  That's not flexible when you need to show practicals and move around a bit.
    • <quote><p>Wouldn't a chromecast do what you're looking for? Just plug your device into power and stream from wherever. You can plug the chromecast itself into a USB port on the TV for it's power if you need to.</p></quote>

      Chrome cast would require WiFiand also USB power.

      OP is looking for a two item solution that he/she can

      1) plug into their USB Port on their laptop or desktop
      2) plug the other device into a Stupid TV with only HDMI or VGA Input
      3) work without external power input (in
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Friday March 16, 2018 @11:30AM (#56269707) Homepage

    I've been chasing various wired solutions for a decade, and they just aren't coming. The various copyright industries have been sitting on standards for a long time - they generally dislike anything that could give the remotest chance you could, say, jack a phone or a homemade DVR to a TV, or anything to a DVR without massive restrictions and monitoring. They like Chromecast, because Chromecast forces your activities to be logged by Google. WiFi Direct (Miracast) is almost dead, Slimport is dead.

    It's possible there are professional solutions, expensive and bound to licenses and remote logging an monitoring, that can sing and dance they way we'd like. But as you note, no dumb TVs. Even dumb antennas are being phased out for encrypted antenna feeds that require internet based authentification to watch (next broadcast standard).

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      So why don't they crack down on Airtame then?

      • airtame pushes a black screen where the video is because it doesn't have hdcp, so nobody cares because it's not violating anything.
    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      The various copyright industries have been sitting on standards for a long time -

      I was thinking from my experience with video is either composite like in the old days or SDI like what the pros use. Everything else seems to have baggage like it either doesn't connect or need to do various software configurations. I've worked with some USB video, it either works or it does not. Composite video works (unless your source or TV set goes bad, or break in cable). Same with SDI, the video is either there or something crapped out, HDMI is ok (but it has DRM baggage), not many if any TV sets have

    • That's a nice conspiracy but reality is far more practical. What is the market? And who are your competitors? Firstly every damn TV acts as it's own DNLA endpoint these days. For those that don't Chromecast is incredibly cheap and so is a fireTV and the countless of devices that act as a wireless device as well as an endpoint renderer.

      Chromecast isn't popular because it's approved by some mythical God, is popular because it's cheap and it works for nearly everyone. You're delusional if you think Google shar

  • by orev ( 71566 ) on Friday March 16, 2018 @11:46AM (#56269809)
    Miracast seems to be taking over this space. Almost everything has WiFi already, and old stuff that doesn't is old. Companies would rather you buy new stuff, so making something for older systems isn't worth it and sort of a niche market, so very small market with low returns. For anything else you can easily by a dongle like the MS display adapter and convert the receiving device.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Miracast.. Which is not supported by Apple's computers or mobile products, and has had it's support dropped from mainline Android.

      It's only supported by Windows really, and only as a screen sharing scheme for wireless projectors and monitors/TVs via dongle. It's a software-only solution and cannot be used as a primary monitor.

      I've been looking at wireless display tech for a while now and I don't think the technology is there yet. HDMI pushes a LOT of data and consumer wifi, or wifi-like devices can't pass i

      • WiDi is still used on ASUS Zenfone Max 3 and 4, and the slightly aged Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter I use can see it fine. I did a lot of work finding that solution - very hard to ferret out WiFi Direct compatible phones. *ASUS still supports Slimport and MHL as well.* I checked. All good.

        Bugger is, Neflix and Hulu BOTH actively refuse to support screen mirroring via Wifi Direct or Slimport or Miracast. The sound gets through. So does the subtitles. But they refuse to accomodate the video transport sta

  • by jevvim ( 826181 ) on Friday March 16, 2018 @11:49AM (#56269833) Journal

    jez9999, first of all do you know of a TV that has a USB-C port on it? I haven't seen any of those beasts yet, but it will happen someday.

    Second, not all USB-C ports are the same. Some USB-C ports only support USB protocols, while others can support Thunderbolt and/or video. So you'd need video support on both sides of the connection; the computer side is likely to be common either as raw video or a USB video device, but again it's about finding the TV with the support for video over USB-C...

    HDMI can't supply power, but MHL can. Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) can (but is not required to) provide power back to the video source from the TV, and a lot of TVs already support MHL. MHL can use either a USB Micro B connector or an HDMI connector, so maybe you should be looking for a solution with an MHL-enabled TV adapter?

    • by jofas ( 1081977 )
      Your obstacle isn't data bandwidth nor power, it's licensing. The powers that be don't _want_ you to vary from the current standards because they want to control licensing.
  • What I'd like is to be able to wall-mount a new TV and just plug in a wireless dongle to stream the video with no extra setup required on the receiver end.

    Sounds like what you need is the TV equivalent of those ultra-low-power "FCC Part 15" FM transmitters people used to "broadcast" their portable CD player's music to their car stereo systems 20 years ago.

    As far as I know, they don't exist, but it sounds like there is a market for them.

    The more common application for something like this would be at weddings or other parties, where a big-screen TV tuned to an unused channel could show a live feed from a camera that is walking around the party.

  • The TV or monitor, and often separate speakers, already require AC power. What benefit are you getting from a video that gets power from the television's USB-C connector? Couldn't it just get power from the same AC plug?
  • First you simply can not stick to dumb TV sets. You need a smart TV and they are not expensive these day unless you buy a huge one. i have Netflix that is sent by wifi in my home. It can appear with no problem on three TVs in my home. You simply need the Netflix plug in on each TV. With a smart phone all you need is my password and user name and you can watch movies anywhere you want. A TV has to plug in anyway. Plugging in a wall wart is no problem and the wires are quite tiny so you should be able to
  • This is clear as mud. My best guess is subby wants a TV equipped with USB-C ports that accept AV input and provide power output. Otherwise I'm lost.

    • Subby is requesting to deliver both power and video via USB-C to a TV. What isn't sure is to what extent the power is being used for; to power the USB-C decoder box, or to power both the decoder box and TV? It's possible what he' really looking for is some sort of PoE solution where you can use CAT5e as a single power/data transport media and break out the encoding and decoding at both ends.

      • by kqs ( 1038910 )

        Can't be, because "wireless" is mentioned many times. The only reason I can think to deliver power to a TV would be to power the TV, and USB-c seems unlikely to work for this. Plus, if you can get power to the USB-c then you can get power to the TV. Unless you think that wireless USB-c would also transmit power wirelessly?

        No, "clear as mud" is understating the issue.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday March 16, 2018 @12:05PM (#56269925) Journal

    Wouldn't this run afoul of the recording industry mafia?

    My understanding was that the lightning-fast adoption of HDMI had everything to do with the ability to use it to hardware-validate copyprotection from device to device.

    Does (or could) USB-C have the same capability? If not, I can't see any mainstream hardware mfg adopting it for their products.

    • by fred133 ( 449698 )

      Yes, HDMI isn't better, its just all about DRM!
      Per their spec:
      "HDMI can carry high quality multi-channel audio data and can carry all standard and high-definition consumer electronics video formats.

      Content protection technology is available."
      I'm getting real tired of this whole encryption deal...
      Its OK for THEM to encrypt, but not US ... and send us to jail if we DO decrypt...
      " do as I say, not as I do."

  • by sjbe ( 173966 )

    This means you need a separate receiver box and power cable going into the box, but cables are what you're trying to get away from with wireless video!

    So you want to go from two cables down to one? That's fine though a litlle silly for a wall mounted TV.

    So the answer to this would seem to be USB-C. It supports HDMI video as well as power, so in theory you could create a receiver dongle that just plugged into a TV (or monitor with speakers) and required no external power cable. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find anything like this on the market.

    There are some cables being worked on [slashdot.org]. Unclear if this solves the problem you are working on.

    What I'd like is to be able to wall-mount a new TV and just plug in a wireless dongle to stream the video with no extra setup required on the receiver end.

    If you are wall mounting the TV already, why the need to worry about having a separate power cable? I don't understand why you can't just use a receiver with wires since you'll need them anyway. Sounds to me like you are making perfect the enemy of good. I'm not aware of any TV that can be powered by USB-C so

  • Use a cable-hider (Score:4, Informative)

    by ljw1004 ( 764174 ) on Friday March 16, 2018 @12:24PM (#56270061)

    but cables are what you're trying to get away from with wireless video

    The reason Chromecast and Firestick use wireless is because people generally don't have ethernet outlets adjacent to their TV. But everyone in the world has a power outlet adjacent to their TV, so few people have objections to using that.

    If I understand right, your objection is that although you'll tolerate seeing the power cable go from our outlet to your TV set, you're reluctant to see a second wall-wart and cable alongside it. Your proposal (power over USB-C) is one solution to the problem, but there are several other more straightforward solutions...

    1. Replace an outlet with one that has a USB socket and a power socket e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Leviton... [amazon.com] to eliminate the wall-wart. Or you could go for a recessed outlet to hide it further e.g. https://www.amazon.com/PowerBr... [amazon.com]

    2. Use a "cable tidy wrap" e.g. https://www.amazon.com/uxcell-... [amazon.com] so the two cables look visually like a single cable.

    3. Use a "wall-mounted cable concealer" e.g. https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod... [amazon.com] so you don't even see the cables at all; you just see the thing on the wall. (Note: when I moved house and took down the cable concealers, they were so firmly attached that they took some paint with them, and I had to re-spackle and paint).

    • I think he is looking for something like this...

      https://www.amazon.com/Microso... [amazon.com]?

      https://www.microsoft.com/acce... [microsoft.com]

      • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

        Oh! I did find the OP quite confusing. So you think he wants a way to project from his laptop to his TV with no additional wires in the laptop?

        Option 1: use Chromecast software on your laptop/android, and a Chromecast receiver or android box connected to your TV. You can broadcast either the content of a webpage, or the content from a media-player such as VLC. (can't broadcast your entire desktop as far as I can see).

        Option 2: use apple software on your laptop/iphone, and an Apple TV receiver or android-box

        • I've been asking the same question as the OP for a couple of years. I have a nice desktop replacement laptop and would simply like to wirelessly use my TV as a second screen. I currently use HDMI but the cables are annoying and have to be replaced every few months.

          Your options are all things that I have noted, but none work for me because...

          1) Chromecast can't present itself as a secondary display on the laptop or even mirror the main display

          2) I don't have or want any Apple products because then I'd have t

    • by Toshito ( 452851 )

      If you don't want to see the power cable but still have the TV flush on the wall, install one of those old "clock" outlet behind it: https://www.leviton.com/en/pro... [leviton.com]

  • superMHL was something I stumbled across a while ago when looking for a compute stick that might be bus-powered. It's a standard developed for connecting mobile devices to displays.

    It doesn't address the wireless portion of the question, but it does provide power-over-HDMI (to charge mobile devices while plugged in) and supports USB-C, so a wireless receiver could in principle both transmit video and receive power over a single cable.

    It doesn't seem to have achieved adoption, but I don't know if that's just

  • How about telling people what you actually want to do?
  • Chromecast.

    This is an askSlashdot?

    these aren't ideal because HDMI can't provide power. This means you need a separate receiver box and power cable going into the box, but cables are what you're trying to get away from with wireless video!

    No? Well... not personally. All my desires for wireless video have stemmed from wanting a real-computer interface with a phone. Instead of thumbing shit into a 3 inch screen, I want to walk up to a desk and have the devices wake up and connect, simply becoming part of my computer by my proximity. Ideally. But even ideally, the screen (and even mouse and keyboard) can be plugged into wall power and I don't have to worry about batteries. Yeah, worrying about ONE battery

    • Dealing with that asshole in Chromecast and other "I'm here, cast to me" devices is a problem that is past due the obvious solution: proximity priority. I'm not talking about Bluetooth RSSI or any other interference-prone, highly implementation-dependent tech. I'm talking about blatant proximity like reset buttons on WiFi routers that provide fail-safe "privileged" powers to those with actual physical access to the teeny tiny reset button.

      But this was an analogy - the smart-device equivalent to this is obvi

  • They do exist and you can build them yourself.

    The problem is the bandwidth required to transmit your signal. You're talking about bidirectional, uninterrupted 10Gbps over wireless.

    What most HDMI dongles do is convert the signal to lower resolutions (VGA) and compress it. You need a decompressor on the other end but more than possible on 2.4GHz. There is also no bidirectional communication thus it is not "really" a wireless HDMI signal. USB-C is pure data packets, you'd have to find a USB-C to VGA converter,

  • What am I missing here? One does not go with the other.

    Oh, you just want to plug the wireless gadget into USB-C.

    Oh, God. They probably sell them in Shenzhen and the Akihabara, the size of a gumstick and in white or Hello Kitty. For $8USD.

  • http://videolink.ca/ [videolink.ca]

    Ask for Hugo. Tell him "Colossus" sent you. He should be able to get you set straight.

  • The problem you are likely to find is two fold.

    1. Most USB Type-C implementations in devices are half assed and skips a whole ton of features, including the video transmission support. Unfortunately, it's just the way it goes... for all the promises made with USB Type-C, it mostly carried all of the problems standard USB already had.
    Among USB Type-C implementations on the market right now there must be at least half a dozen ways it's implemented or more... two or 4 lane for data, HDMI support or not, 2 way

  • Let's see if I understood the question right: You want a receiver device that plugs into a single USB C plug on a TV, draws power from it, and delivers received wireless video through it?

    For the reason you don't see these, look at some TVs. How many have USB C video inputs? Very few. How many have HDMI inputs? All of them. Most also have a USB 2.0 port that can deliver power, and if not, it isn't a big deal to run a wire to a phone charger -- the goal of wireless video isn't to have no wires attached to you

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