2011-05-14

Quick review: ASUS Wavi wireless HDMI/USB

Asus Wavi is an affordable wireless HDMI product (approx 190 euro in Finland). It uses WHDI and also promises wireless USB and cross-room transmission. It looks very similar as Asus WiCast that lacks USB and smaller advertised range.Reviews about WiCast HDMI capability seem to match well to this product.

As most of the information about this device is limited to press release data  I would like to share of my experiences based on a short experiment.

There are two main issues I discovered: the way how USB support has been implemented and the range across concrete walls/floors.

USB support

USB support requires drivers. Drivers are only provided for Windows (XP, Vista, 7) -- Linux or Mac OS are not mentioned. I only tried Windows.

Not all USB devices are supported. Manual mentions Do not connect a USB flash drive to your WAVI receiver. It also lists only Asus mouse and keyboard models in supported devices section. Fortunately a standard mouse seems to work fine. On the other hand a webcam did not work so perhaps the bandwith is very limited.

USB devices do not appear under any USB hub in Windows device manager (appear under Location 0).

It may be just easier to buy a wireless keyboard/mouse package where the range is adequate and no drivers are required.


Wlan under the hood of wireless USB


It seems that the receiver (the TV end) is an wlan station and that the transmitter (the computer end) is a wlan receiver. It looks like it automatically creates an WLAN network with WPA2 encryption and 10 letter (seemingly) random password. From the device manager it seems that is's possible to configure the channel to be used.

Windows shows other WLAN networks in range, but an attempt to connect to one fails.

The documentation does not mention anything about WLAN - just about the HDMI transfer technology (WHDI).

Range


Up to 25 meters (within line of sight) and cross-room transmission are part of the product promise. Unfortunately as always obstacles reduce the range.

Across concrete floors it seems that in my example the range is ~3 meters. With an additional concrete wall in between and the range is down to ~1,5 meters. On the same floor at least with one wooden doors closed a range of 10 meters was easily achieved. Probably more.

Based on on-screen display signal quality >50% is needed. One review of Asus WiCast suggests that HDPC picture (such as Blu-ray, PS3 games) may result even shorter range. Also WiCast reviews suggest that N-class wlan networks intereference may also cause reduced range as they operate in the same spectrum.

Even if you get picture and sound they may not be perfect. It seems that with poor signal (50-70%?) the quality of the picture may be downgraded. Even with perfect picture and sound the USB may not work well, keyboard presses get duplicated/lost and mouse movement is jerky.

Overall impression

If you have a line of sight or not much concrete in between, Asus Wavi delivers very good quality picture and sound (based on brief test with 1080p picture + stereo). If your video source is in another floor then this might not be very suitable product. I haven't found any better product on the market at least within my budget.

Asus has taken some shortcuts in the USB implementation and has failed to mention some of those in the documentation (especially on their website). It's a bit difficult to recommend the USB support as there are wireless mouse/keyboard combos that don't require drivers and deliver similar range (and thus support others than current Windows versions).

I'll return the unit and revisit the idea if I ever purchase a projector. In my case even 3 meters was too long a distance.

Please leave a comment.

(Disclaimer: these are my personal impressions without any warranty. I have not really used the device - just briefly tested it).








8 comments:

jerry said...

Interesting. It uses WHDI technology, and I saw many good reviews on the quality and range. Concrete walls are always problematic, in my home it wifi just doesn't go through one of them. got to your link from WHDI facebook page. see the other comments there.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/WHDI/171922529516461

Michael H said...

Well I just received the setup (kit).
I haven't got a picture yet maybe do to missing hdmi output from my laptop.
I thought I could use the usb port for testing the picture/sound first but it seems that it does require a HDMI port. There was a faulty power supply so I changed that and I do the pretty blue lights for connection but for now that's all

Michael H

Mika Fonsén said...

Yes, the HDMI connection is required for the picture.

Anonymous said...

Both blue LEDS are on both the receiver and transmitter.
When I select the HDMI source on the TV, I get a message on the screen "Connecting.....signal strength 60%...."; but soon after, the TV screen goes black (blank).

Can anyone assist?

Mika Fonsén said...

Let me try:

1) try moving Wavi units closer together. 60% may not be enough for picture.

2) Make sure you are not sharing a black screen. Your TV becomes a second display. You need to make sure you have something visible there either by cloning your primary display content or by moving some application there

Anonymous said...

Can we use it on other HDMI device, such as PS3 or Blu ray player?

Mika Fonsén said...

I didn't try this but according to documentation (as far as I can recall): yes you can.

I don't remember the exact HDMI version though.

Do remember that you need to be able to control the device somehow. At the time of testing the USB port required a Windows PC. PS3 controllers usually are wireless so for basic use cases this might not be a problem.

Anonymous said...

hi to all..i've bought one of this but with a mouse and keyboard wireless (one of them compatibility list) nothing happen..asus don't answer me about this..i'm very disappoint about this..nothing write about this kind of problem on them manual..I thought that asus was a professional company but it's not right.