I've been using my 3rd generation Intel core powered Ultrabook and Windows 8 for a few months and it's amazing, however one cool feature has been lacking; WiDi. WiDi is a display technology that sends HDMI signal to an external display (like a TV) over WiFi. I had tried getting it going in November but with no success, as Windows 8 was so new.
Let me explain a use case that drove me to get this finally going. My wife and I had been talking about the movie "Bridesmaids". We saw it in theaters and remembered how hilarious it was. There was nothing to watch on TV, so we thought let's rent "Bridesmaids". So I login to Vudu and do a search... odd, no Bridesmaids. Then to Amazon video, and then again, no "Bridesmaids". The same result for Netflix, HuluPlus, PS3 Video and YouTube. It seemed like "Bridesmaids" suddenlty didn't exist. I notice this happens to digital content. Movies end up in exclusive distribution for a period of time and thus your various appliances, consoles and services may not have access.
So my last attempt I look via Xfhinity On Demand. And YES, "Bridesmaids" was available, but ONLY for computer streaming. So we are in luck but this is not going to be the best experience. Sitting around the 13-inch laptop screen would be cozy but not so awesome. I could plug my Ultrabook in to the TV via HDMI, but then I can't control pause from the couch. And to top it off I know the Ultrabook supports wireless HDMI via WiDi and I have a Netgear Push 2 TV receiver that would work with WiDi. A WiDi solution begins to nag at my mind.
WiDi is the perfect solution to get access to any content I want to view on my TV regardless where it's from. I know my PC can get access through one service or another. "The Game Of Thrones" is another good example. Season 1 is available for rent but Season 2 is not. However, Season 2 is available via HBO On Demand. WiDi again is a great solution to make my TV the screen for all the content accessible from my PC.
So I thought, I'll give it another shot. I updated my Intel ProSet and WiDi application. Well, good news, and it seems I was further along. WiDi launches this time. However, it won't connect to my WiDi receiver. My recieving device is the original Netgear Push2 TV 1000. It is a couple years old, so I had thought perhaps that hardware was now outdated. My gut told me that couldn't be. Not after coming so close, how could my hardware for this new technology already be obsolete. Thanks to years of toiling away with code I'm not one to easily give up. And good thing, with a bit of Googling, I stumbled upon a post that showed with the right Intel ProSet drivers and with the latest WiDi software, it indeed does work.
FINALLY with one more try, it WORKED!!! And not only does it work in Desktop Mode, it works for Windows 8 Modern UI and all the apps seem to display great over WiDi.
So for those of you running Windows 8 with an Intel PC using Intel ProSet WiFi hardware, you are likely in luck and can display any content from your PC on your TV (without precariously resting your PC near your home AV equipment connected with a clumsy HDMI cable).
If you have WiDi reciever and capable PC, and want to get it working on Windows 8, here's what to do.
- Go here to check for the latest drivers you need. Note this page requires you have Java installed. If not, it's less than a minute to get that going:
- Run the diagnostics and then download and install each of the required items.
This may be all you need to do. Have your WiDi receiver connected to your TV and then run the WiDi app to see it works. If you have a later model receiver like I do, it may say it doesn't work via a message regarding not compatible with Windows 8. Don't fret. You may be able to get it to work by regressing the Intel ProSet Wireless drivers. I learned about this in this thread: http://communities.intel.com/message/175975. Be sure to have a copy of working wireless drivers before you try this, as this has you uninstall your wireless software.
For incompatibility issues, you can try regressing your WiFi software. This worked for me:
- Download the Windows 7 compatible version of Intel ProSet Wifi
(Download Center - v15.3.1 - 64 bit orDownload Center - v15.3.1 - 32 bit)
- Uninstall your current Intel ProSet and remove all settings
Control Panel - Uninstall A Program - Search for: "ProSet/wireless wifi"
Select "Change" then Remove click the option to remove all settings
- Installl the 15.3 version of the Intel ProSet, you downloaded in Step 1
- Re-Install the WiDi software you downloaded in step 2 in the top section
Hopefully that does it and now you can use your TV across the room the watch content from either Desktop Mode or Windows 8 Modern UI mode.
And for developers, WiDi is something to take note of. According to CES announcements, Intel Ultrabooks and eventually Intel Tablets will standardize on WiDi. This wireless HDMI capability can extend the value of your applications by allowing content to be conveniently and easily viewed on TVs and other screens across a room.