After a few false starts, a wireless technology that could clear up the clutter around our PCs, TVs and phones could actually be on the way. Ultra-wideband technology (UWB) should carry data fast enough to send high-quality video, sound or images between devices up to 30 metres apart. A DVD player need no longer require a Scart lead to connect it to the TV, and a camera-phone will be able to send images to a PC or printer in seconds - once everything is equipped with UWB. "There will finally be a lot of WB kit on the shelves of stores like RadioShack in the US this Christmas," says Stuart Carlaw, wireless research director at ABI research. "It won't reach the UK straight away, but it's a good bet it will be here by the middle of 2008."
UWB has been under development in laboratories for more than 40 years, emerging from military classification in the 1990s. But it has taken a long while to catch on because it is so different from other radio communications. UWB cuts right across a broad swathe of other people's spectrum: the chips being made start around 3GHz and could potentially go up as far as 10GHz. But they don't interfere with other devices because they work at such low power, and the signals they create look just like the kind of noise that other radio systems are designed to ignore.