Problem: You have decided you would like to mount your new flat screen TV on your fireplace mantel. You are fortunate because the builder added an outlet to supply power for a mantel clock, decorations and so on. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to add a hidden HDMI cable behind the brick to send the signal to your new TV from your receiver or satellite box, located in another part of the room. What do you do?
One possible solution is a wireless HDMI device. I just happen to have one here to review. I just received a Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit for review and I can’t wait to see how it compares to a hard-wired TV.
The Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit arrives in a branded retail box with a hook on top, so it can be displayed on a wall or shelf in the store. The front of the box has a picture of a TV hung on a wall connected to one of the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit devices. The other device is connected to an Entertainment center to demonstrate how you will use the devices.
The rear of the box lists the two main features offered by the product: the elimination of drill holes for wiring, and the ability to connect any HDMI-enabled source to any HDTV or Projector.
The right side panel lists the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit specifications. The left side panel lists everything that’s in the box and some marketing to let you know how easy it is to set up.
To open the heavy-duty cardboard box, you will need to break the seal on the top flap and slide out the two inner cardboard trays that hold the two devices. The inner trays are also made of cardboard and are much thinner than the outer box. As soon as you slide out the two trays you will be greeted by the two MyWirelessTV2 devices, covered in plastic and all of the documentation will fall out with the trays.
Once you lift the devices from the trays you will find the AC adapter, Infrared sender, HDMI cable (3 ft in length), and some self adhesive Velcro pads so you can attach the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 to the back of the TV or projector. I plan to connect the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit to my Epson 5030 HD projector to fully test the quality of the signal.
What’s in the Box?
Actiontec has managed to fit quite a few items in the compact box. You will find the following inside:
- Two Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Devices (one transmitter and one receiver)
- Two wall wart AC adapters with 5 ft of cord
- Two 3 ft HDMI cables
- One Infrared Transmitter
- One Infrared Receiver
- Two Velcro Pads for mounting the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 devices
- One Quick Start Guide
- One FAQ Document with a toll-free Support Phone Number
- The usual Licensing agreement
- and finally the General Regulatory Compliance notice
The Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit will support most HDMI-enabled cable and satellite boxes, Blu-ray players, Media Players, and game consoles. It will support resolutions up to 1080p HD (H.264) video and non-compressed LPCM passthrough 5.1 surround sound.
Connectors include one HDMI input and an HDMI pass-through on the transmitter, with a single HDMI output on the receiver. The Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit supports dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and includes AES 128-bit WPS pre-pairing to provide a secure environment.
Upon unboxing, the first thing you will notice is that the two devices are very clearly labelled Wireless HD Video Transmitter and Wireless HD Video Receiver so you will have a hard time mixing them up. Let’s start with the transmitter. On the back, you will see a port to connect the AC adapter, two HDMI ports, one for the HDMI input, and one to go out to the local TV if there is one. Also located on the back is an IR transmitter jack so you can control the source devices.
Now for the receiver; just like the transmitter, it is clearly labelled. On the back, you will find the HDMI output jack that will connect to your remote display and a power jack for the AC adapter. Each device has is equipped with a front-facing USB port, which is required for firmware upgrades.
There is no information about the USB ports in the Quick Start guide but you will find the complete manual on the company’s website. There were no updates available at the time of review, so I didn’t need to go through that process.
Otherwise, you’ll find everything you need to connect the kit is included in the box, even the HDMI cables.
Getting Up and Running
I started at my source. I am using a notebook to stream from my media server. I connected one HDMI cable from my notebook to the HDMI input on the back of the transmitter. I next attached the AC adapter and the green power light on the front illuminated. The Link light blinked green.
Next, I moved to the projector and attached the second HDMI cable between the HDMI port on the receiver and the HDMI Input on my projector. I connected the AC adapter and after 10 seconds or so the transmitter and receiver automatically linked and my notebook screen was displayed via the projector.
Out of the box, I noticed that the resulting image was quite good. I am not able to tell the difference between a hardwired connection and the wireless connection. The deployment was as simple as it could be, with no issues encountered.
A menu button on the front of the receiver gives you access to settings such as the software version, a handy signal strength meter, language options and a selection of video modes, including Theatre and Game modes, which subtly adapt the video output. There is also a pairing option but since I was already paired it was grayed out.
You navigate the options by pressing the Menu button to advance through the choices, and the Select button to make your choices. Odds are you won’t need to enter the settings menu very often – perhaps only to check the firmware version and the signal strength, and quite possibly to switch between theater mode and game mode.
Using the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2
The Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit works seamlessly. Once connected, just select the HDMI input you wish to view and that is all there is to it. If you use the IR transmitter and receiver you can even remotely control the channel, volume, pause, play and so on. I was able to switch between the various HDMI inputs and connect to the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit signal every time.
I played with the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit as an extension of my Notebook screen. This is not something you will want to do on a regular basis because there is a brief latency when trying to use the mouse, making it frustrating to navigate around the screen. I hope Actiontec can find a way to address this latency in the future via a firmware update, so the kit can be used to connect to a projector for meetings, demos, training and so on.
For media, I tested streaming a movie from one of my online subscription sources. The picture was pretty good but not as good as a hardwired connection. On a 10 ft screen, every slight variation in resolution will be visible. Next up was streaming a Blu-ray from my Oppo 103D Blu-ray Player. I chose a recent release to have the best possible source quality. Once again the picture quality was not as good as a hard-wired connection, but it was actually better than I expected. However, I did encounter ghosting during scenes with rapid motion, so while the wireless connection offers you some freedom, there are compromises to be made on quality.
In terms of range, I was able to receive a very good signal about 50 ft inside the house with the MyWirelessTV2 easily able to send video through walls. I attached the receiver to a 32 inch HD TV in our living room and the picture and sound were actually excellent. I tried to stretch the connection to about 75 ft and the performance started to degrade, while at 140 ft, I was unable to connect. That was an expected result.
Despite some quality compromises, the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit does a pretty good job of sending video and audio wirelessly to a TV or projector from a source of your picking.
Don’t expect the picture to be as good as a hard-wired connection – especially on a really big screen. For business use, the inherent latency can frustrate those seeking to drive a replacement/larger display for presentations.
But, if you are looking for a way to push AV to an average-sized TV, that has no easy way to connect to a source, you will find the MyWirelessTV2 is a great way to tackle the job. You can find the Actiontec MyWirelessTV2 Wireless HD Video Kit for $178 at Amazon.