In terms of audio, the Wireless HDTV Link can support digital audio at up to 3.072Mbps AC-3 in addition to DTS audio. In our real-world testing, we were able to successfully broadcast 5.1 Dolby Digital from both our Xbox 360 game console and PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player.
We tested the transmitter in two situations, one transmitting a game console and Blu-ray movie from across a room, and the other transmitting both devices to an adjacent bedroom.
During our testing, we were surprised to see that the Philips system did not lose connectivity a single time. In addition, we were very pleased with the overall picture quality in both the same-room testing and adjacent bedroom scenarios. According to Philips, the Wireless HDTV Link can work up to 66 feet and we were able to maintain a solid connection at 60 feet and through a wall. Sure, the picture quality isn't exactly what it would be with a hardwired HDMI cable, but the difference is certainly negligible.
As we mentioned, we put the Wireless HDTV Link through two real-world testing environments. During same-room testing, our only complaint was that the system could not control our devices like the Sony DMX-WL1 or Gefen EXT-WHDMI (both offer room for an IR blaster). Instead, to control a Blu-ray player from across the room, we had to aim our remote control at the device. An IR blaster would have been ideal here, though you could opt for an RF remote (such as the Logitech Harmony 900) to get the job done as well. This would involve adding the Philips IR codes on your remote so that you could properly switch devices when the receiver needs to broadcast from different inputs.
Our second round of testing had us broadcasting a video signal from a game console and a Blu-ray player from an entertainment center area to an adjacent bedroom. Impressively enough, the signal stayed strong throughout our full week of testing. Even more remarkable was the system's capability to provide virtually lag-free gaming across the two rooms. We tested the multiplayer mode in Modern Warfare 2 (a game that's not forgiving of lag) using a wireless controller in the same room as the TV, controlling a game console in the other room, and did not observe any discernable delay between the controls and the onscreen response.
While testing in this environment proved successful, we were a bit concerned with a few details. First, if you're planning to use the system for this kind of scenario (broadcasting from your entertainment center to an adjacent room), you will be unplugging a lot of wires every time you want to use it because you must have the source device plugged into the transmitter. A way to bypass the transmitter would be best here, but we'd imagine such a request would fatten up the device in addition to a possible price increase. Just know that while the system can work in this situation, it's not ideal. We'd definitely recommend the Wireless HDTV Link in the same-room environment or if you're trying to get a professional feel to your home theater experience with something like a wall-mounted HDTV.
Wireless HDMI isn't cheap and the Philips ranks among the most expensive in this product category with its competitors sitting in the $400-$600 range. Priced at about $800, it's tough to justify the expense just to eliminate a few wires. Even though we enjoyed the connectivity of up to four HD devices, we would have liked to have sacrificed one of the component connections for another HDMI port--the Sony DMX-WL1 has four, for example.
As the technology cheapens, we'll have an easier time recommending it to a mainstream customer. For now, the Wireless HDTV Link should only be sought out by home theater buffs where wireless HDMI technology is a must. Even though the Philips is arguably the most easy-to-use and best-performing device among those we've seen, an IR blaster, extra HDMI ports, and cheaper price on the Sony DMX-WL1 offers more value.