By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm
I’m spending part of this unusually busy tech-news week at the DEMO conference in Silicon Valley. One of the most potentially cool products I’ve seen is Veebeam, a new setup for wirelessly broadcasting Internet video from a computer to a TV set. In a way, it’s a competitor to Internet TV boxes such as Apple TV and Roku. But instead of getting you whatever movies or shows are available on the box you choose, it gets you anything you can watch on your laptop or desktop, including Hulu, iTunes downloads, and more.
Veebeam uses a Wireless USB connection, and since your computer almost certainly doesn’t have the technology built in, it comes with a reasonably compact adapter. The adapter talks to a base station that plugs into your TV set. It looks simple, and the price–$99 for a standard-definition version, and $139 for a high-def one that can do 1080p video–is reasonable. Both versions work with Windows and Macs, and are scheduled to go on sale October first.
Veebeam looks way more appealing than the last wireless video gizmo I saw, HP’s Wireless TV Connect, a proprietary system that involves a big, bulky adapter on the computer side–and which carries a much higher pricetag of $199. The demo here at DEMO was impressive.
So why did I say that Veebeam is “potentially” neat? Shooting video around without wires is never a cakewalk, and Wireless USB (which has been around for years without ever catching on) doesn’t have a reputation for trouble-free operation. The Veebeam folks I spoke with said that the technology shines in their device, but I wanna see it in action myself. If it works as advertised, this could be the most appealing incarnation of an idea that dates back at least as far as 2008’s Slingcatcher.