Asus WAVI review
Asus's WAVI is a clever idea based on a new wireless technology called WHDI, which stands for Wireless Home Digital Interface (although the "HD" part will probably be confused with "High Definition"). This lets you transmit at 3Gbit/s over the unlicensed 5GHz band - the same band used by 802.11n routers - and has very low latency, so it can even handle mouse and keyboard inputs without lag.
WAVI consists of two boxes: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter sits next to your PC, and connects to it via USB and HDMI. The receiver sits next to your TV and plugs into its HDMI port, and it has two USB ports. Once everything's connected and you've installed a driver on your PC, you switch both units on, change your TV's input to the HDMI port, and your PC's screen appears on your TV.
Not everything went without a hitch, however. The drivers on the included CD were out of date, so we had to download newer ones from Asus' site. We had problems getting the USB pass-through to work with our wireless keyboard and mouse set as well as a wired mouse, even with the new drivers. More worryingly, we found that the signal was too weak for a stable picture even at 15m. In the same room at a distance of about 10m, the signal was at around 80%, but we didn’t have any judders or lost frames.
Picture quality was great, though. Up close, we noticed some ghosting around the mouse pointer, but watching a 1080p film we noticed no lag or other artefacts. Game graphics were fine too, but we expect hardcore gamers will notice lag in their mouse inputs - or at least they'll use that excuse when they lose.
Our main concern however is the price. At £160 the WAVI is a very expensive way to get the contents of your PC displayed on your living room TV, and there are far simpler ways of doing this. Many people will have an Xbox 360 or PS3 in the living room, and some even have a media streamer, so multimedia content - films, photos and music - should already be accessible over your network. Some new TVs even come with networking and DLNA support for direct access to network shares.
The only unique thing the WAVI enables is remote PC gaming on your large TV, and there's a lot to be said for bringing immersive PC games onto a larger screen. Thanks to its (slightly unreliable) keyboard and mouse support, the WAVI is a unique proposition, but it's still a very specialised device.
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