Asus WiCast EW2000 review: Asus WiCast EW2000

6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.
  •  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Easy wireless HDMI streaming; works on any laptop (or other HDMI-enabled source); streams Blu-ray movies.

The Bad Clunky; requires power cables; image quality is average; Blu-ray streaming requires you to turn off the laptop display.

The Bottom Line As an alternative to Intel's built-in Wireless Display, the Asus WiCast is both easy to use and works on nearly any laptop--but it's also cumbersome and includes some DRM limitations.

Don't Miss

Getting PC content onto the more communal viewing screen of the living room TV has always been a challenge. Media Center PCs, which plug directly into your home theater setup, take up space and are necessarily tethered to a single location; media streamers and hubs only work with a subset of content, and can't handle games or social networking. Plugging your laptop directly into the back of a TV isn't always convenient, especially if you want to still access the keyboard and touch pad at the same time.

One common-sense solution is to find a method of wirelessly transmitting the video output from your laptop to any nearby television or monitor. Current laptop-focused choices in this area include Intel's Wireless Display and wireless HDMI boxes such as the Asus WiCast W200 and HP Wireless TV Connect (the latter two being essentially identical).

We've been reasonably positive about Intel's Wireless Display technology since its introduction earlier in 2010, but the platform has a handful of major issues keeping it from being a tool mainstream users will embrace.

If you're not familiar with WiDi, it's essentially a technology built into select laptops running Intel's latest CPUs and chipsets that allows the laptop's display to be wirelessly duplicated on a remote screen (say, a big-screen TV). Though the transmitting hardware is built into the laptop itself, the receiver is a small box that retails for $99 and plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. The big problem with WiDi is that there's perceptible lag between the laptop and TV, making it fine for set-it-and-forget-it video playback, but useless for gaming or real-time Web surfing. It also can't play certain kinds of DRM-protected content, such as Blu-ray, and the current version tops out at a 720p-resolution signal.

The Asus WiCast system solves many of those problems, while injecting a few of its own. The system, which sells for $199, consists of two boxes--a standalone transmitter and receiver--instead of Intel's built-in transmitter and external receiver. This lets you use it with nearly any laptop that has an HDMI port (as well as other devices such as an Xbox 360) but also creates a less-than-portable bundle of hardware that must remain tethered at both ends.

The transmitter is about the size of a small external hard drive, whereas the receiver is larger, about the size of a Wi-Fi router. Both units connect via HDMI cables to your laptop and monitor, and both require power. The receiver must be plugged in via an AC adapter; the transmitter can use an AC adapter or get power from a double USB plug. In either case, you end up with a lot of extra wires and hardware hanging off your laptop.

Don't Miss

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Asus WiCast EW2000

Part Number: EW2000-NA

MSRP: $199.99

See manufacturer website for availability.