Ultrabooks™ and Intel® Wireless Display

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The Intel Ultrabook is great for mobile use. Its ultraportable design makes it easy to travel with while its Ivy Bridge Intel Core processor and solid-state drive give you the performance you need to stay productive. However, while most Utlrabooks have high-quality screens, they lack size, which may make watching a movie or viewing photos a little lackluster. Luckily, most Ultrabooks offer a variety of ways to output your content to an external display. See below for more details.

Many Intel Ultrabooks come with an HDMI port. The most straightforward way to output video would be to use an HDMI cable to connect your Ultrabook to an external display such as an HDTV. Obviously, the display you’re trying to connect to will have to have an HDMI port. When connected via HDMI, you’ll have access to a variety of multiple display options. If you choose the Extend These Displays option, you’ll have dual independent screens. This means you’ll be able to watch a movie on your HDTV while surfing the Web on your Ultrabook.

You can also choose on which side the screens are going to be. This is important for when you want to access the other screen, which usually results in you going to the left or to the right of your current screen. You can also choose the Duplicate These Displays option to clone the screens—both screens will display the same content. This option is great for presentations. You also have Show Desktop Only On 1 or Show Desktop Only On 2 options, which will effectively turn off one of the screens. This is ideal for when you want to watch a movie on your HDTV and not be distracted by the glowing screen of your Ultrabook. While using an HDMI cable is great, it does limit your Ultrabook to the length of the cable. You may not be able to take advantage of the other screen options because your Ultrabook can’t reach your couch. There is a simple solution. You can connect to an external display via Intel Wireless Display.

Intel Wireless Display, also known as WiDi, is built into Sandy Bridge (second-generation) and Ivy Bridge (third-generation) Intel Core processors. Intel WiDi allows you to output photos, games, videos, movies and more to a compatible external display, wirelessly. With WiDi, your Intel Ultrabook won’t be tethered to your HDTV so you can use it from the comfort of the davenport. With the latest version of Intel WiDi software, your Intel Ultrabook will be able to support Full HD 1080p video as well as a variety of protected content, such as Blu-ray and Ultraviolet. You can also multitask as well. With the ability to have two independent screens, you can perform two different tasks, such as checking email on your Ultrabook while watching a movie on your HDTV. Also, Intel WiDi allows you to interact with the Windows 8 interface and applications and enjoy it on your big screen HDTV in real time, across many Intel WiDi-enabled devices. Share your photos and videos with friends without having to crowd around your Intel Ultrabook. In order to connect via Intel WiDi, both your Ultrabook and your HDTV must be Intel WiDi-compatible.

While your Ultrabook will have Intel WiDi built into its Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Intel Core processor, your HDTV is a different story. If your HDTV comes with Intel Wireless Display technology, make sure your HDTV is connected to your home network for Internet. You’ll need this connection for several reasons. First, in order to use Intel WiDi, both your Ultrabook and your HDTV have to be connected to the same network. Second, the Intel WiDi on your HDTV must be updated to the latest firmware to match the Intel WiDi firmware on your Ultrabook.

If your HDTV does not have Intel WiDi, you will have to purchase an Intel WiDi-compatible TV adapter. This device will connect to your HDTV as well as your wireless home network so you can use Intel WiDi technology to wirelessly output content from your Ultrabook to your HDTV. The Netgear PTV2000 Push2TV wireless display adapter is a solid choice for this purpose. With integrated Intel WiDi support, the Netgear PTV2000 Push2TV wireless display adapter has a HDMI port for digital output and AV composite for analog input. It supports Full HD 1080p content and can display the desktop of your Ultrabook on a bigger external display with ease. Please note that the Netgear PTV2000 may not be compatible with Windows 8 out of the box. It is recommended that you visit Netgear's support website and download the latest firmware for the PTV2000. You should also update your Intel WiDi software on your Ultrabook as well. Updating both will ensure that the Netgear PTV2000 works with your Windows 8 Ultrabook.

An alternative to the Netgear PTV2000 is the Actiontec ScreenBeam Wireless Display Kit. The kit allows you to wirelessly mirror video and audio content from select laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets and or other mobile devices on your HDMI-equipped HDTV. The ScreenBeam utilizes Intel WiDi technology that allows you to send 720p HD video or stereo audio from select Windows 7 and 8 computers. The ScreenBeam kit comes with an included USB receiver and a high-speed HDMI cable so you’ll have everything you need right out of the box. Please note that you’ll need the latest Intel WiDi drivers and firmware updates to ensure that ScreenBeam will work properly.

As mentioned before, in order to take full advantage of your Blu-ray or DVD player using Intel WiDi, you will need to update the firmware of your preferred media player. Intel confirms that retail versions of these players support Blu-ray and DVD movie playback through Intel WiDi using one of the following applications: Microsoft Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center Edition, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Corel WinDVD and ArcSoft Total Media Theater. With the exception of Microsoft Windows Media Player and Media Center Edition, all other applications are sold separately.

When you want to utilize the Intel WiDi technology on your Ultrabook, it is recommended that you use the Intel WiDi Widget. The Intel WiDi Widget lets you show separate content on your Ultrabook and HDTV at the same time. This handy widget makes it easy to output the program you want to display on your HDTV. If you want to watch a movie on your HDTV, you can select Windows Media Player in the Intel WiDi Widget and click the transfer button to automatically have it displayed on your HDTV. You can also press the transfer button again to have the movie you were watching on your HDTV back on your Ultrabook. This eliminates the need to drag and maximize windows on each screen.

Intel WiDi works with games as well. In fact, you can use Intel® WiDi to play your PC games with the keyboard and mouse on your Ultrabook while viewing the actual content on your HDTV. This will allow you to enjoy the graphics of your PC games even more on a big screen. Certain programs allow you to take advantage of Intel WiDi technology. For instance, Steam, a popular PC gaming platform, has a Big Picture mode. This mode changes the menus and icons into a more HDTV-friendly, console-like interface. Big Picture mode also supports the use of gaming controllers so you can use Intel WiDi to transform your Ultrabook into a gaming console for the HDTV. Steam gives you access to thousands of games through its Steam Store; some are free to download, while more popular games require a one-time purchase.

Click here to view the Ultrabooks that are currently available at B&H.

How do you connect to your Ultrabook to an external display? Have you used Intel WiDi before? Tell us about your experience in the Comments section, below.

For more information on these Ultrabook computers, stop by the B&H Website or the B&H SuperStore in Manhattan or contact one of our sales professionals over the phone, at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.