A big TV no longer needs an even bigger home entertainment centre to support it thanks to hidden wall mounts, but you still have to deal with wires. You can either route them through the wall so they’re out of sight or cross your fingers that this completely wireless TV technology demonstrated at CES 2021 is legit.
If you’re really obsessive about wires being out of sight you can opt for a smart TV that handles wireless streaming all on its own or use a wireless HDMI solution that allows gaming consoles to be connected to a display without a physical cable. But to date, no one has found a way to eliminate a TV’s power cord. Companies like Ossia have demonstrated wireless power technologies that can power devices like TV remotes, in-store pricing signage, and even charge a smartphone from across a room, but the technology doesn’t have quite enough kick to power the large TVs that most people have at home now.
But a Russian startup called Reasonance claims it’s found a way to finally cut the last cord and demonstrated a prototype wireless TV using its technology at the virtual CES 2021. In place of a cord and a power outlet, the prototype TV features a receiver coil on the back and a transmitting coil nearby. The technology works similar to the wireless Qi charging pads where a current is induced by a magnetic field but Reasonance claims its implementation boosts the power efficiency from 75% for the best induction chargers to 90% so less power is wasted in the process.
The prototype of the technology demonstrated at CES 2021 isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing — few of us would trade a thin power cord for a giant coil on a nearby table and a matching coil hanging off the back of our TVs. But Reasonance claims its wireless power transfer can work at distances of up to 3.3 feet allowing the transmitter coil to be hidden inside the wall behind a hanging TV (the alignment of the coils doesn’t have to be completely perfect either) while the receiver coil could be integrated into the display’s frame. It would potentially limit how thin a TV could be, but that seems like a minor trade-off for the convenience of the screen being completely wireless.
Do we want to believe that completely wireless TVs are just around the corner thanks to Reasonance? Yes, of course we do. The startup has already patented its technology in Russia and is currently applying for patents around the world in the US, Canada, China, India, and South Korea so it’s apparently very confident in what it’s created. But we’ve seen other companies tackle killing the power cord too, including well-resourced companies like Samsung who patented its own approach to wireless TVs in early 2019 but has yet to deliver the technology in a consumer-ready product. A working tech demo is one thing: a product that reliably, safely, and efficiently works in the real world is an entirely other thing.
Hopefully, Reasonance is soon able to transition its technology to that next step.