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Eminent iTrio EM7100 Wireless HDMI sender review

Jim Martin
3 Jul 2010
Eminent iTrio EM7100 Wireless HDMI sender
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
399
inc VAT

Streams 1080p reliably without delay, but the compression leads to quality degradation. For this much money, we'd expect better quality.

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Wireless HDMI has yet to materialise as a standard, but Dutch company Eminent has released the first kit we've seen that allows 1080p video to be streamed up to 30m without wires.

Rather than use ultra-wideband, the EM7100 uses a more familiar technology: 802.11n. Sensibly, it has 5GHz radios to avoid interference with the wide number of 2.4GHz devices in people's homes, including existing wireless routers and WiFi products.

We tested the kit up to around 20m, and up to 15m with one solid wall in the way and never had any issues with signal strength. However, when it came to scrutinising image quality, things weren't quite so rosy. Watching our usual test discs and scenes from Blu-ray movies including Casino Royale, it was obvious that compression was being used to transmit the video. In scenes with little movement, it was much harder to detect any degradation in quality, but when things became more hectic, artefacts were plainly visible, even on our 37in 1080p TV.

For example, during the Parkour scene where Bond chases the villain across a construction site, details in fine textures such as the pile of sand and the chain-link fence were missing. The full-screen explosions also became very blocky and, while such effects are usually very short lived, we'd expect better from a kit costing this much. Artefacts and jagged edges weren't quite as noticeable on 720p and SD video, but most people will use a kit like this for Blu-ray and other Full HD video.

One thing that didn't suffer was lip sync - audio remained in time with video even if the audio was routed to an AV amp while the video was sent wirelessly to an HD TV. If you want to send audio wirelessly, bear in mind that the kit's HDMI 1.1 ports don't support Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio - they can carry only Dolby Digital and DTS.

The kit does more than simply replace an HDMI cable, though. The transmitter has two HDMI ports, plus Scart and VGA inputs. It means you can connect four devices and use the credit card-style remote to switch between them. A VGA to component adaptor is bundled, so you can connect devices that use this standard such as older Xbox 360 consoles and HD camcorders. A potentially useful feature is the ability to select video and audio sources separately, so you could send video from HDMI1, and audio from the Scart input if you so desire.

Although Eminent doesn't officially support their use, both units have Ethernet ports which allow you to send video via a cable. This defeats the whole point of a wireless kit, though, so we're not really sure why they're even present.

If you absolutely have to send HD video wirelessly and don't mind the drop in quality, you might be able to justify spending this much on the EM7100. However, it may not cost any more to pay a professional to run HDMI and power cables in your walls, hiding both at the same time and retaining full quality video.

Details

Price£399
Rating**

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