CES - Ending the tyranny of the VGA cable

The past few years have seen a clear trend toward ridding desktop PCs of wires. But the VGA cable connecting your system to your monitor has been a stubborn holdout. Now a company called Quartics is looking to sever that tie, using technology that will allow monitors to link via wired or wireless USB connections.

The Irvine, California, firm doesn't make monitors, but it does produce the semiconductors necessary for USB connections. Quartics expects its partners to come out with USB monitors sometime in the next month. And Belkin is already selling a USB hub designed to connect to a PC's USB port by means of ultrawideband wireless technology.

Making a video connection through USB would simplify the task of setting up multiple monitors: In theory, a single laptop could support more than 25 displays, according to Quartics' Mahboob Akhter. The technology would also make computing devices such as ultramobile PCs--which generally have USB ports but no VGA port--more useful.

From PC to TV

I saw a brief demonstration of a USB monitor at Quartics' hotel room at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; and the image seemed clean, though I didn't get an opportunity to play with the system.

Ultimately, Quartics is pursuing a bigger goal that has nothing to do with USB: wireless transfers of video content from your PC to your TV. That's an objective that lots of companies here at CES share (yesterday Netgear announced another approach).

Quartics demonstated a prototype of its PC2TV system, which uses a small box equipped with a Wi-Fi radio. You use a wired connection (a VGA cable in Quartics' demo) to hook up the box to your TV or monitor, and then you wirelessly network your PC to the box, just as you would connect to any other wireless network. When you subsequently launch your Web browser, the page that comes up includes a link that automatically loads drivers for the device onto your PC.

At that point, you bring up a small application that lets you mirror your PC's display on the TV or extend your desktop onto the TV's screen.

Latency issues

There was clearly some latency going through the Quartics system, which compresses data so that it will fit the bandwidth of your wireless connection, and then decompresses it for display on your TV. The quality of the picture I saw was not as high as that of an image from a DVD player--but it looked pretty good, given the manipulation it had undergone.

Addlogix, which sells interface cables and other networking gear, has announced that it is using the Quartics chip in some of its products. And Quartics officials have said that they expect the chip to be embedded in some televisions by next fall.

The Quartics system allows you to see any content viewable on your PC on your TV. Other systems for showing PC content on a TV support some PC video formats, but not others--or they may be optimized to work with a specific Web site, such as YouTube, but not with all online video sites.

Netgear's media streamer, for instance, will provide access to the most popular videos on YouTube for that day. With the Quartics system, you would be able to view any video on YouTube, Google Video, or any other site.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Edward N. Albro

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?