Gadgets 461

Published on July 10th, 2009 | by Greg


Wireless HDMI Hits Home From Acoustic Research

HDMI is great- handling both high-def audio and 1080p video, it’s the default standard for connecting HDTVs and various components. If you have an Xbox 360 or a PS3 and an HDTV and are using anything other than HDMI (or optical), you are doing yourself a disservice. The cables themselves though, tend to be short or expensive, due to the spec and signal strength issues.

That’s where Acoustic Research has seen a need, and filled it, with their HDP100 HDMI Powerlink System. It’s one of the only wireless HDMI solutions on the market, and uses the same idea underlying other powerlink devices, utilizing your home’s AC power lines and electrical outlets. It’s a simple idea- two boxes about the size of paperback books, one of which is a transmitter and the other a receiver. Single HDMI input and output mean that you’ll need to have settled on a single source, like a receiver. Also, the system offers IR pass-through, allowing you some control over the distant source- a nice addition. The dark black boxes will blend in with any existing equipment, and the setup truly is easy- just connect the boxes to the input/output sources and power, wait for the link lights to flash, and enjoy.

As a first-generation of a new product line, we were fairly impressed, but audiophiles will likely want to stick with cables. The video quality is just not good enough, with noticeable lag and frame loss, and a general choppiness that is hard to ignore if you are looking for it. We tried multiple output sources, from the PS3 and 360 consoles to a receiver, and tried using the box over long and short distances. In an apartment, or smaller house, you shouldn’t have major issues but beware that the system is not built for transmission over longer distances. In fact, the system had trouble between floors, but did work between nearby rooms.

Also, the system only handles progressive signals- 480p, 720p or 1080p- and though that shouldn’t pose a problem for most people, it might be a dealbreaker for some… and complicates the process for those most likely to use the device. Overall, it’s a tough system to love at nearly $300, but it does work pretty well in the right conditions. Carefully consider the costs, check out sources for compatibility, and think about the distances you are trying to cover. In the right environment, the Acoustic Research Wireless HDMI Powerlink System would solve a formerly-intractable problem, and do it with a dead-easy setup.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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