The WiCast was born as a result of efforts to reduce the amount of clutter and wires required to connect and stream content via devices. This ‘wireless’ device enables users to use a transmitter – receiver combination to view content from their laptop, Blu-ray player or camcorder on an HDTV or a projector; all while eliminating direct contact using wires. This may sound like a lot of fun, but is it as functional as recreational? Let’s find out.
A brief visualization
Design and Build Quality
There’s not too much to delve into, out here really, except that they’re two glossy black boxes with the ASUS and WiCast branding on top. The transmitter and receiver have the same connectivity ports – a power slot, an HDMI slot and a mini USB slot. They also have the power LEDs and the WHDI LED that blinks, if there’s no connection and stays stable, if a connection is made. In case you’re troubleshooting, you might find the LEDs on the receiver section a little hard to see, but that’s a minor concern.
A small footprint
In the package, you get two AC adaptors, a USB power Y cable, A Velcro band, a pouch, and two HDMI cables along with the transmitter and receiver unit. Quite a lot of wiring for a wireless unit, eh? The transmitter weighs 110 gram, while the receiver weighs 160 gram. Plus, both the devices have got a relatively small footprint, so it won’t look too bad sitting next to your HDTV or laptop.
The transmitter and receiver
The EW2000 works on the Wireless Home Digital Interface technology that allows streaming of up to 1080p video and 8 channels of audio with a latency period of less than 1 ms. The transmission distance is a cool 10 meters (or 32 feet), but the important thing to note is that there has to be line of sight. The transmitter requires a modest 4.75Watt of power, while the receiver requires 10 watts. The device has an operating frequency from 5.15 to 5.85GHz and a data rate of 3Gbps, which pretty much sums up the specifications part.
Quite a few cables for a 'wireless' device
Setting up the EW2000 is quite easy. Plug-in the adaptors on both the devices, connect the HDMI cords to the respective peripherals and you’re good to go. No software installation or any kind of tweaking is required. But hey, so many connections for a ‘wireless device’?
Alternatively the transmitter can be powered by the USB Y cable as well. They’ve given a really short HDMI cable, though, so in case you need to connect it to your CPU and put it on the desk at the same time, you’ll have to get another HDMI cable. Anyway, that’s just the features, and with this device it’s the performance that really matters. Let’s check that out in the next section.
We tested the transmitter and receiver at various distance points to gauge differences in latency, stutter and transmission of image quality. When the two devices were placed in the same vicinity, we saw absolutely no loss of image quality and 1080p videos were streamed flawlessly on our HDTV. Projecting the screen also worked extremely well and even mouse movements were extremely smooth. As we widened the distance to approximately fifteen feet, we saw a slight change in the quality of the images being displayed on the screen, but nothing of major note.
How it works
Even with obstructions in the room, and not a real ‘direct line of sight’ there wasn’t any kind of lag or stutter. The real problems, however, started kicking in when we placed the two devices in different rooms, separated by a thick wall. Frames started appearing on the screen and there was a lot of stuttering, which changed to zero streaming on the TV, after a while. So, to sum it up, you can’t take the receiver and transmitter too far away from each other, or you’ll just break contact and either have poor streaming, or absolutely nothing.
In terms of audio performance, there was barely any difference when we streamed audio content on the TV, but obviously the TVs speakers come into consideration here. Nevertheless, latency wasn’t an issue even while browsing and using Windows via the WiCast, which is definitely a plus point.
Worth a buy?
The Asus WiCast EW2000 is currently selling at a price of Rs.8,500 (MOP). It works fairly well, besides the slight distance issues we had. The main drawback, however, is the price tag. For those wanting to have a wire-free experience browsing content on their HDTV or viewing videos, pictures and audio, the WiCast makes for a great device.
It even makes for quite a good geek gift, but at that price it’s still quite an expensive buy, considering how a few wires might just get the job done for you. But, to reiterate, if the pricing isn’t a concern, then look no further than the WiCast for your streaming needs.
Published Date: Mar 07, 2012 04:26 pm | Updated Date: Mar 07, 2012 04:26 pm