updated 10:55 am EDT, Thu July 10, 2008
Belkin on Thursday took a tentative step into wireless home theater and revealed FlyWire. The black hub uses the 5GHz band to output a full HDMI signal with 1080p video and audio from the Apple TV, Blu-ray players, and most other devices to a matching TV without stringing cables across the room. The high frequency is not only nearly interference-free but is fast enough that even PlayStation 3s and other game consoles don't suffer from lag, Belkin claims. It also serves as a replacement for at times complex home theater setups and hops frequencies to avoid conflicts with Wi-Fi or other signals.
A simple version for one-room home theater, the FlyWire R1, is priced at $700 and supplies three HDMI inputs for devices as well as a lone HDMI output for devices that need to stay close to the Belkin device. The full, standard FlyWire ($1,000) is powerful enough to broadcast HDMI across most houses and also offers infrared adapters to interact directly with devices that might sit in cabinets or areas where the normal, 2.4GHz remote may be blocked.
The hub also sports a stereo-in connection for DVI devices attached through an adapter and embraces analog sources through dual component, single RCA, and single S-video jacks. The main FlyWire unit will be available in late October and should be followed by the R1 in early 2009.