I’ve been testing out the new Q-Waves Wireless A/V Extender (aka the Warpia Wireless Extender in the US) for a few weeks now, and first impressions are that this new Wireless USB technology stuff shows real promise.
The idea, of course, is to do away with all those nasty unsightly cables in the living room and beam your computer contents to the TV as easily as possible. And it works.
Installation is a breeze. Just plug the main unit into the telly with an HDMI cable and power lead, install the software from the CD and plug the small dongle into the computer. The system will then locate and pair up automatically and you’re set. At least as far as accessing standard PC content goes.
It’s a little bit trickier for video, as you really need to set up the computer for optimised video, and use the DisplayLink utility to set up the TV as an extended screen so as to keep the PC processing drain to a minimum. It also took me a while to discover that you need to switch Windows Vista to the Aero setting to make the thing work properly.
Once that’s done, though, you can sit back and watch movies, listen to music and generally treat your television as an extension of your computer with zero hassle at all. To anyone who’s ever struggled with setting up a reliable and simple computer to television connection, this is nothing short of miraculous, especially when the result is very high definition resolution. It looks glorious, and really makes a laptop a proper partner for the living room environment.
There’s still some work to do on the technology however. Early drivers were prone to drop signal from time to time, which is very annoying when you’re in the middle of a movie or show, and even with the new drivers installed there are times when the signal will drop and you’ll lose audio until you remove and re-insert the dongle – even at short ranges! Luckily the support team seem responsive and I assume they’ll keep working until the glitches disappear altogether.
So is it worth it, and would I recommend it? Well yes. But if you have an HDMI socket in your computer already, it’s probably more reliable to use that and wait for the wireless USB technology to improve somewhat. If you’ve been struggling with standard VGA connections, don’t mind the occasional drop-out and are prepared to deal with a shorter range than it says on the box (where have we heard that before?) then this is about as good as it gets right now. And without a doubt it is this kind of technology that will finally invade the living room and deliver online entertainment to our TVs at a resolution we can live with. Priced at $99.99/£99.99 (yeah!) More here.
Q-waves products work by simply connecting two USB’s, a Slave and Master. All you need to do is plug the Master USB in to the laptop, Netbook, or PC, and the Slave in to whatever device you wish to wirelessly connect to. The Master and Slave are already synched, meaning there is no need for any complicated configuration. By using Ultrawide Broadband, the products also work independently to your home network, meaning there is no need to alter that either.