HP Wireless TV Connect

Summary:There are plenty of ways to stream content you watch on your PC so you can enjoy it on your TV screen. Intel is pushing its WiDi system, but while many new notebooks support it, very few include the adapter you need to plug into the TV.

There are plenty of ways to stream content you watch on your PC so you can enjoy it on your TV screen. Intel is pushing its WiDi system, but while many new notebooks support it, very few include the adapter you need to plug into the TV. If you're going to go out and buy a box to do the streaming anyway, the Wireless Home Digital Interface standard, WHDI, might be the best bet. It uses the same 2.4GHz band as Wi-Fi, but with a more efficient protocol.

 

HP's Wireless TV Connect is a small, neat box that attracts dust and fingerprints to its shiny surface

Wireless adapters using the latest generation of WHDI chips are just coming onto the market and they're smaller and neater than previous models. HP's new £169 Wireless TV Connect is a good example, the main component of which is a neat but absurdly glossy little 3-inch-square box that you connect to the HDMI port on your TV and plug into the mains (the power socket is actually a Micro-USB port and you can use it for firmware upgrades in the future). Eventually we'll see PCs and tablets with WHDI built in, and adapter cases for phones, and they'll be compatible with this receiver, but to use it with your PC today you plug what looks like an oversized USB stick into the HDMI port on your PC. This is a little less neat as you need to run a cable from it to a USB port for power as well, and the cable may be a little short if your ports aren't conveniently close to each other.

The WHDI adapter itself isn't cumbersome, but you'll need a USB port nearby

Turn on both PC and TV and the image from your PC screen should appear without any setup required to pick the correct HDMI port as the source. If you have more than one WHDI-enabled device (which at this point means you have an adapter connected to another PC) you can use the arrow buttons on the receiver box to bring up a source menu to pick a different device from which to stream to the TV.

Video quality on TV depends on what you're playing on your PC; 720p content on a large screen may look a little fuzzy, but 1080p video streamed from YouTube looked great on a 32in. Samsung LCD TV. The playback on-screen is a fraction of a second behind what's on the PC, but video plays smoothly, with excellent detail and no artefacts. If you don't want to see the video in a window, just make it full-screen on your PC and that's what you see on the TV screen.

It's not cheap, but WHDI in general and the HP Wireless TV Connect in particular is very simple to use and you get great quality. It should also be futureproof. Once you have more WHDI devices, the only extra feature you might want would be a remote to switch WHDI sources rather than walking over to the HP receiver, but with only one adapter in the box that's unnecessary at this point.

Mary Branscombe

Topics: Reviews

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