Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends
Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
I’ve been looking for a product that will let me take the video from my PC and watch it on my TV, and I have a few requirements: I want it to be easy to set up, easy to use, and I want it to deliver good-looking video. Iogear’s Wireless Audio/Video Kit mostly succeeds, and does so while eliminating one of my biggest pet peeves: wires.
As its name implies, the Wireless Audio/Video Kit connects your TV and PC wirelessly. You attach a wireless USB transmitter to your PC (Windows only), and a wireless receiver to the VGA or DVI port on your TV. You also connect a wireless audio receiver to your TV or stereo system. The set-up process was a breeze, especially when compared with the challenges I’ve faced with other products, like the ZvBox, which was designed to connect your computer to your TV using your cable wiring.
After minimal work with Iogear’s software on your PC, you’re in business: Your TV doubles as the display for your PC. The software sets up your TV as a secondary display; you can choose to mirror your computer’s desktop on your TV (so both your computer and your TV display the exact same contents) or you can extend your computer display to a second monitor (the TV).
You launch a video player on your PC, and you view it on your TV, which means you don’t have to worry about file compatibility; if a file will play on your PC, you can see it on your TV. If you choose to extend your display to the TV, you can slide the window of your video player out of sight on your computer, and you’ll see it appear on your TV. This is a nice way to watch video on your TV, while still being able to check email or surf the Web on your computer.
Video quality varied, from very good to so-so, and took a noticeable hit when I used my computer for any other processor-intensive tasks (like syncing my iPhone) while the video was playing. The Wireless Audio/Video Kit can transmit high-def content (up to WUXGA 1920×1200 resolution — which is a widescreen version of 1080p resolution). In my tests, HD content looked very sharp, though I occasionally noticed smearing and some blockiness.
The system is not without its limitations, though. You’ll need a line-of-sight connection between the wireless transmitter and the receivers, which means they need to be in the same room. I tested the system using a laptop in my living room, but if all you have is a desktop PC that’s stored in your home office, you’re out of luck.
I also had a problem getting the system’s audio to work initially. Iogear’s kit ships with all of the cords and adapters you’ll need to use it, and you have a choice of connecting the audio receiver to your speakers or TV via a 3.5mm audio cable or an RCA cable. I chose the RCA cable, and settled down to enjoy the show. While the picture looked great, the sound was nonexistent. It was only after talking to Iogear that I discovered the problem: competing inputs on my TV. Sound was funneling through the RCA inputs, while video was funneling through the VGA input. I couldn’t get both at the same time. After locating the 3.5mm audio input on the back on my TV, I was in luck.
Iogear’s Wireless Audio/Video Kit lists for $350, which is a more than I’d like to pay. I’d like to see this product in the $150 to $200 range, similar to Iogear’s Portable Media Player. This product also is easy to set up, but works slightly differently: It’s a portable hard drive that you use to shuttle content from your computer to your TV. But the Wireless Audio/Video Kit means you can cut the cord, and you can do so without worrying about file compatibility.