Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 review: Gigabyte SkyVision WS100
The Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 connects an HDMI-ready device and an HDTV wirelessly, cable-free, and with no lag.
If you want to quickly sync a laptop's screen or connect your game console to an HDTV from a few feet away, generally you need an extra-long HDMI cable. There's a much better way, however, and that's the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100.
This is a kit of two adapters that can connect to each other using WHDI wireless technology, allowing you to forgo the long physical HDMI cable that generally connects a playback device and an HDTV. And in my testing, the quality of both video and audio of the wireless connection was virtually the same as when you use a cable for the connection, making it a great accessory for those who want to cut down on cables and have more flexibility in terms of equipment placement for their home entertainment systems. The kit also comes in handy for offices, in case you want to quickly connect a laptop to a big screen for presentations, gaming, or what have you.
The kit is not perfect; it works only with HDMI-ready devices, so you can't use it to connect a computer without an HDMI port to a TV. Also, both of the adapters require external power, and, finally, at $150, it's rather expensive.
That said, the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 is still one of the best among its peers and is definitely worth the investment.
Design and ease of use
WHDI is one of a few existing mainstream wireless display technologies, and is the direct competitor to Intel's WiDi. Both technologies allow users to wirelessly connect a supported device to a big-screen TV and deliver audio and video signals, just like when the device is connected to the TV using an HDMI cable, with the same signal quality.
WiDi has the advantage over WHDI since it's now a built-in feature on many laptop computers. WHDI, which is developed mainly by Amimon, however, generally offers better signal quality with virtually no lag detectable by human eyes.
Like with all wireless technologies, unless your devices have built-in support for it, you'll need adapters. The Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 is made for those situations in which both the HDTV and the playback device, be it a laptop, a game console, or a Blu-ray player, don't support WHDI. As long as both devices have an HDMI port, you can use the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 with them.
As I mentioned earlier, the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 comes with two adapters: one is the receiver that connects to an HDTV; the other is the transmitter that connects to the playback device.
The receiver is a small, squarish unit that measures 3.7 inches by 3.2 inches by 1.3 inches. It has one HDMI port and one Micro-USB port. You do need a short HDMI cable (included in the package) to connect the receiver to an HDMI port on the TV. After that, connect the receiver to the power using a standard USB power adapter (also included), and one end of the connection is ready.
The transmitter is about the size of a large thumbdrive; on one end is a male HDMI port. On the side, it also has a Micro-USB power port. There's a standard Micro-USB cable included that you can use to power the adapter using a USB port on the playback device. If the playback device doesn't have a USB port, you can use a standard USB power adapter, such as one for a tablet or smartphone, to power the transmitter. Now you just need to connect the broadcaster to the playback device's HDMI port, and within a few seconds the playback device and the big-screen TV are connected, just like when you use a long HDMI cable. Another benefit is that now you can move the playback device around, as long as it's within the supported range, which even went behind walls in my testing.
That said, there's not much to setting up the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100, other than plugging in the adapters into the HDMI port of the respective devices and the power. Similarly, the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 comes with a small manual and a CD that contains the text of the full manual.
In my trials, it worked with virtually all HDMI playback devices and HDMI-enabled TVs and LCDs. The receiver can support multiple transmitters, and you can add more by using the home and two navigation buttons on its front. Since the kit doesn't come with a remote, you do need to use these buttons again when switching from one source to another. Still, though, it's an easy way to add more wireless playback devices to the TV.
The Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 worked exactly as expected in my testing. I tried it with a 40-inch Samsung LCD TV and a few playback devices, including a laptop, a desktop, and a
Despite the 10-meter (about 30 feet) range listed in the specs, in my testing, I was able go farther than 100 feet from the TV and the signal between the receiver and the transmitter was still reported as strong. Basically, you don't really need to worry about the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 in terms of range at all.
The same can be said for picture and sound quality. I tried playing back movies at 1080p with high-def DTS sound and wasn't able to detect the difference when the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 was used and when an actual HDMI cable was used to connect the TV and the playback device. Game performance was good, too, without any lag at all.
My only concern was that the transmitter got a little hot after an extended amount of use. However, it never became alarmingly hot and cooled down immediately when I took it out of the HDMI port. Overall, the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 offers excellent performance.
With great range and excellent sound and video quality, the Gigabyte SkyVision WS100 is a great alternative to a long HDMI cable, and gives you the much-needed flexibility for a crowded home entertainment system.