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Geek Gifts 2011: VIZIO Universal Wireless HD Video and Audio Kit

The VIZIO Universal Wireless HD Video and Audio Kit can connect up to four devices to a single display showing 1080p resolution images with true surround sound.

There is a technological revolution taking place in your family room that you may not have noticed. All of your multimedia equipment is going wireless. One of the more mature technologies to transform into a wireless incarnation is video in the form of WirelessHD 1.0. With the VIZIO Universal Wireless HD Video and Audio Kit you can connect up to four devices to a single display showing 1080p resolution images with true surround sound. And the process is about as painless as plugging in a standard HDMI cable.

Specifications

Courtesy of Costco

  • Model Number: XWH200
  • Wireless Frequency: 60 GHz
  • Maximum Throughput: 4Gbps
  • Wireless Link Latency: 2ms typical
  • Operational Range: Up to 30ft In-room - Non line of sight
  • In-cabinet Capability: Yes (depending on cabinet material)
  • Industry Standard: WirelessHD 1.0
  • HDMI Support: HDMI 1.4a (3D) with CEC
  • HDCP 2.0 Content Protection: Yes
  • Transmit Adapter Inputs (Rear): 4 - HDMI with HDCP
  • Transmit Adapter Output: 1 - WirelessHD 1.0
  • Transmit Buttons/Controls: 1 touch capacitive button - HDMI input selection toggle
  • Receiver Adapter Inputs (Rear): 1 - WirelessHD 1.0
  • Receiver Adapter Output: 1 - HDMI with HDCP
  • Price: $180 (purchased at Costco)

What I like

What I don't like

  • Another remote: Because the VIZIO Universal Wireless HD Video and Audio Kit can accommodate four devices, you have to be able to choose which device is active and that requires another remote control. I don't know about you, but I am just about buried in remotes.
  • A little expensive: Costco is currently selling the VIZIO system for $179.99, but just last month it was $200. I suspect that the price of this system will continue to drop as we approach the holiday shopping season, so look for some bargains.
  • Switching devices: Okay, this is not really an issue I mind, but it seems to annoy some people: When you change which device is transmitting a signal to the display, there could be a delay of up to 30 seconds. For me, the average delay was about five seconds, but it can take longer to negotiate the connection, which may require you to exercise some patience.

Geek bottom line

Courtesy of VIZIO

The VIZIO Universal Wireless HD Video and Audio Kit works great. It will connect four devices with HDMI out to a single HDMI display as if you were just plugging in standard cables. This wireless signal gives you options when deciding where to locate your multimedia devices.

And since someone always asks: Yes, you can transmit the signal through walls and cabinets. I was able to project a wireless signal from the living room through a wall, through the refrigerator and the kitchen, and through another wall to the display. Your experience may differ depending on what is between the transmitter and the receiver, but it is possible to have them in separate parts of the home.

Geek Gift Score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ***
  • Geek factor: *****
  • Value: ***
  • Overall: ****

For more reviews of tech gadgets, gizmos, games, and books, download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2011.

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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