Bigstream review: Bigstream

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MSRP: $119.00
2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Bigstream is a wireless audio/video transmitter for Apple devices such as the iPhone or iPad. It doesn't require a home network for operation and is very easy to set up.

The Bad The Bigstream suffers from interference issues, discoloration, static, and other annoyances. It only works with a composite cable connection, so there's no way to stream high-res HD content. Lastly, the big dongle that plugs into an Apple device is bulky and gets in the way.

The Bottom Line While it sounds like a great device on paper, the Bigstream suffers from numerous performance issues that ultimately make for a below average experience.

5.0 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 5.0

Sure, there are a handful of wired solutions for getting audio and video off an Apple product like an iPhone or iPad and playing content on a TV or receiver. Only up until recently with the introduction of Air Play have users been able to stream content wirelessly, though the process requires Apple TV and a local home network.

Apple does offer a Digital AV adapter for the iPad that outputs through an HDMI port, but with wireless connectivity becoming ever more popular, being able to ditch any sort of physical connection is certainly the preferred method.

One of the first entries into the arena of third-party wireless streaming devices for Apple products is Bigstream, an easy-to-set-up product that can transmit content from various compatible Apple devices.

Priced at $100, Bigstream uses a set of dongles to wirelessly transmit audio and video without the need for a local home network. However, while we like how it sounds on paper, in practice Bigstream comes up short in a number of different areas. We used an iPad 2 for our testing of the Bigstream system.

Setup
As we just mentioned, setting up Bigstream is simple. A rechargeable transmitting dongle plugs into your device, which instantly pairs with a receiving base that must be positioned next to your TV and a power source. Transmitter and receiver need to be set to the same channel (there are three). Finally, a composite break-out cable from the receiving base is connected to a TV. And you're done.


Both the transmitter and receiver need to be set to the same channel.

The transmitting dongle has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasted throughout the two weeks of our testing without the need for a recharge. An included USB cable can be used to power and recharge the attachment.

Performance
While we were delighted with how easy it was to set up the Bigstream, we can't say we were thrilled with its overall performance.

For starters, we felt a composite connection was a little behind the times. Of course we weren't hoping for HDMI (right now, that wireless technology is just too pricey), but at the very least a component connection capable of transmitting an HD signal is almost prerequisite in this time of high-resolution phones and devices like the iPad and iPhone.

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