Atlona's flat HDMI cable is fantastic at being mostly invisible, while also being a durable solution underneath our rug. But still, we wish it wasn't there.
Name: Philips Wireless HDTV Link
Rating: Strong Recommend*
We review a fair share of our products here at Unplggd that impress us aplenty from a technical/home electronics perspective. But then there's a product like the Philips Wireless HDTV Link, a home technology solution that has the potential to redefine not only home entertainment possibilities, but the quality of your home's decor. Philips was kind enough to send us a review unit to give their wireless solution a try and see if an untethered life was one worth investing in…Our current home theater setup is composed of a ceiling mounted HD DLP projector; a flat Atlona HDMI cable snakes through the back wall into our one closet, and then out and around through the doorway, trailing underneath our couch and beyond underneath our rug. It finally pops out from the other side of the rug to an HDMI switch box, giving us use of the Apple TV, the DVD player and previously a DSS box before we cut cable. It's the best we can do as renters, otherwise we'd hard install through the ceiling or flooring.
Apple's recent firmware update for the Apple TV killed our Boxee/XMBC modification, thus also extinguishing our enthusiasm for the system. Too many instances of having to reinstall after updates can tire an owner, and to be frank, the Apple TV's friendly GUI was always countered by the middling hardware that choked on a variety of material we copied over via Frontrow FTP transferal.
We hesitated for awhile mulling over the possibilities, but with the recent PS3 price drop and Nullriver's Medialink (integrates OS X with the PS3 for media streaming directly from your computer), we decided to dive in yesterday, saying goodbye Apple, hello Sony. It didn't hurt we threw in a copy of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, for you know, research purposes. The new media center setup afforded us an ideal testing situation for the Philips Wireless HDTV Link.
Installation: about as easy as they come, requiring absolutely no advanced skills beyond the Herculian task of plugging in each unit; plug it in, turn it on and you're ready to go (you can also hide the receiver to fit behind standard TV wall mounts). Your only concern is choosing from one of four input source via included remote; upon selecting, we immediately found ourselves immersed in a gloriously high definition gaming experience at 92" upon turning the PS3. Very impressive, while also disheartening, as how does one return to being constrained by HDMI cables once you've experiencing the joys of being "off the leash" like this?
Performance: The recent purchase made for a perfect test of the Philips Wireless HDTV Link, as we wanted to see how the system would perform handling a fast paced game at 720p/1080i from a distance of about 11.5 feet (the width of our room). The Philips Wireless HDTV Link can handle up to 1080p, offering connections of up to 4 AV devices using 2 HDMI connection and 2 component connections. The furthest distance the system supports is 75 feet before the signal degrades. We didn't have to worry about distances of that length but it's an impressive feat considering the bandwidth of content being transmitted. Even faced with the quick action/cinematic gameplay of Uncharted 2, the Philips Wireless HDTV Link did a commendable job of convincing us we were still connected via HDMI cable instead of wirelessly living la vida loca without any notable lag or image break up.
The only criticism we have in regards to the system is the prohibitive price, otherwise we'd be purchasing one of these immediately ourselves. Retailing for $799, this isn't an impulse purchase, but a serious investment for decluttering your home theater space of wires and opening up possibilities of where you can place your HD display or projector. With a household filled with wires and cables from the plethora of home electronics and appliances, a few less cables is always desirable, and this does the job with nary a worry. We suspect the price will drop in time, but for now, if you can afford 8+ Benjamins and want to rid yourself of cable clutter, you may want to give the Philips Wireless HDTV Link a try, because it works and works well. The system is currently available at amazon.com and dell.com.
Strong Recommend (with caveat of price)