Published on July 10th, 2009 | by Greg0
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.