High def video on the net – coming soon

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OK we might not have high definition broadcast TV here in the UK, but the day when we can all stream, or at least download, high resolution movies (legally of course) from the net may have just got closer.

Shown to a group of journalists at the Cannes Film Festival (yes Tech Digest were there – don’t it make you sick with jealousy) was one of the world’s first demonstrations of high definition video directly from the net.

The catch? You will need a bloody fast broadband connection (at least until compression standards get a hell of a lot better). For the demonstration Intel used a WiMax (802.16) transmitter offering (theoretical) speeds of up to 70Mbit/s to distribute pictures and sound from the movie Russian Ark.

Results were impressive with 720 lines of resolution (compared with 576 for broadcast telly), but obviously you won’t get the same quality from your standard 512Kbit/s or even 1Mbit/s broadband connection without waiting hours for the movie to download to your hard drive.

Nevertheless if WiMax takes off – and Intel is so confident that is planning to incorporate the technology in PCs from 2006/2007 – we could one day be streaming Kill Bill 13 or whatever to digital displays all around the house.

Earlier this year Intel announced a deal with Morgan Freeman’s company Revelations to release movies on the Internet on the same day as they come out on DVD.

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