We received a demo unit of the new Optoma WHD200 HDMI Wireless Transmitter/Receiver this week, and I was able to take it home and give it a good home theater test.
First – the setup… We have multiple rooms and devices, but wanted to test it going from our main components in our family room upstairs, to our movie room downstairs. The transmitter which has 2 HDMI “in” ports was connected upstairs to our AppleTV and our Cable Box. The HDMI “out” port was then connected to the local TV upstairs. This was so we could watch the same thing in both rooms at the same time, which is a plus as well as a downside depending on your situation, but more on that later.
Downstairs is our Epson projector with a 120” Vapex screen and standard RCA audio receiver, blu-ray player setup. The Optoma Receiver was set up with these components in our entertainment center and connected to our switcher which connects to the audio receiver which then outputs to the wireless transmitter connected to our projector. Still with me? … it’s a lot of components but it works well for our setup, as our projector is ceiling mounted 10-12 feet away from our components and screen, and using the wireless transmitter allows us a cleaner looking setup. Instead of being tied down to cable lengths and constantly looking at wires everywhere, we instead have the projector mounted to the ceiling and all the components are now happily together in the front of the room at the optimal remote location for the receiver and blu-ray player.
Ok, back to the Optoma wireless setup… The transmitter as I said was placed upstairs at our main viewing area and the receiver was placed downstairs – the signal had to travel not only through a floor but about 24-30 feet besides that to the receiver. Now, the Optoma WHD200 does say it will transmit up to 100 feet, but with wireless networks and walls in the way, it can have interference – which we personally experienced with other similar wireless transmitters – so we were skeptical at the start.
Now for the actual test… the household movie choice of the night was a throwback to the classics of the 80’s – The Blues Brothers. We wanted to see if it would handle the quiet and louder scenes as well as speaking parts to musical numbers. There was absolutely no problem or issue. No latency that we could see – everything looked clean and the sound was right on, no delays – if you didn’t know better you would have thought we were watching a dvd/blu-ray right there downstairs.
One movie is never enough, and you have to please the toddler in the house as well – so the old favorite, Brave, came back out. This is actually a great movie to test pretty much any home theater device on – animated films in general are good for that, but specifically we like Brave because it has lots of movement and incredible colors, so you can see pretty quickly if something is off. And again, no issues, the entire wireless system performed beautifully.
Ok, more on setup and the device… the WHD200 comes with standard RF dongles to receive signals from your remotes etc. The RF dongles stayed upstairs with our main components and we took our main Logitech remote downstairs with us to the WHD200 receiver to run content from the devices upstairs. Again, we had no issues with receiving the signals or content playing. Another little test we did was using one of our iphones as the remote for the AppleTV. We were downstairs with the WHD200 receiver and the AppleTV is again upstairs with the transmitter. Even using the iphone remote app didn’t have any delay in the signal or remote actions. Impressed we were…
Overall, the WHD200 sets up easy, simple plug n play operation. It is a great value retailing for $219 and with present technology and devices, works better than other similar products we have tested. For us this means we don’t need to invest in another AppleTV for the movie room, or get a third cable box for that room – presently we were disconnecting one from upstairs for every get together and big game broadcast. So a small one time investment will save us over time. And yes, we are buying one for our house and should have it in time for the start of football season.
We also did an in house test here at the office with a blu-ray copy of Iron Man (a favorite for demos here) and again, no issues or latency – it performed beautifully. You wouldn’t even know that the blu-ray player was not in the same room, or even on the same floor of the building.
We did not have a game console handy to test in either situation though for latency and delays, but if it performs this well normally, I doubt gamers will have too much trouble.
Lastly, I did want to mention a surprise when turning off the devices. A previously tested device had a 2 minute delay after the receiver shut off or went to sleep, and would cause the main unit to do a cycle as well, since it needs to move from a transmit state to a pass-through mode. The delay actually caused us nightmares during sports because missing even a few seconds can mean you missed the biggest play of the game… I know – tragedies here… but when turning off the WHD200 receiver, the transmitter cycle to pass-through mode lasted all of 5 seconds, maybe – it was quick! I was sitting there jotting down notes to write up our review here and saw the TV screen go to blue while the transmitter cycled, and by the time I could say, “Oh yea, the transmitter has to cycle” it was already done and the movie was playing again. Yes, still a small delay, but nothing like I expected.
If there is a minor complaint, it would be the bulky size of the ac adapter to plug into our power center. Which is really not a complaint, since it was about the same size as most other units on the power center… but I wanted to point it out – its not a small plug in, so leave space for it
I did go back and ask Optoma about expansions and if they will be offering any – and at this time it looks as though they will not be selling expansion kits, but the unit is expandable.
Until next time –