Bigstream review: Bigstream

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.

Alas, the composite wire is what we're left with and therefore netted less than desirable picture quality results. Since HD video cannot be sent across composite wires, all of our high-res content was dropped down in resolution.

After testing playback in three different environments, we found each unique climate rendered average or below results. Whether it was unwatchable static, interference, audio/video sync issues, or discoloration, nothing seemed to play back as we hoped. We'd occasionally get 5 to 10 minutes of watchable content, but sooner or later something would interject.

The only functionality that seemed to work reliably well was the slideshow in the photo app, though discoloration ran rampant here, too. Again, this was three different rooms with three different televisions. To be sure it wasn't our iPad 2 acting up, we also used an iPhone 4 in two out of three rooms--with no change in performance.

Finally, we think it's worth noting that the transmitting dongle that attaches to your Apple device makes the product bulky and awkward to hold, especially the iPad.

It's extremely difficult to recommend a product that performed so unreliably in our various modes of testing. At $100, the Bigstream is expensive and its ease of use is severely overshadowed by a laundry list of annoyances, shortcomings, and glitches.

While the Bigstream can boast that it trumps an Apple TV/AirPlay combo on features and functionality, having a reliable product is clearly more important. Not having to depend on a home network is a nice luxury, but the end result isn't worth the price of admission.

Perhaps wireless Apple device connectivity is still too expensive in its current form, which is why we would still recommend Apple's Digital AV connector for iPad owners. At $40 it uses an HDMI port to send HD content, though you'll be tethered by the length of the HDMI cable you supply.

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Where to Buy See All


Part Number: Bigstream Released: Apr. 15, 2011
MSRP: $119.00 Low Price: $49.95 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Apr. 15, 2011
  • Type Streaming adapter
  • Functionality Content streaming
About The Author

Jeff has been at CNET for more than five years covering games, tech, and pop culture. When he's not playing ice hockey or pinball, you can catch him live every day as the host of CNET's infamous daily show, The 404 Show and every Friday in CNET's first-ever tech comic, Low Latency.