GrandTec Ultimate Wireless review: GrandTec Ultimate Wireless

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MSRP: $149.99

The Good Quick and easy way to send video and audio signal wirelessly; includes cables.

The Bad Poor image quality; only composite video available wirelessly.

The Bottom Line The GrandTec Ultimate Wireless offers some potentially useful video-conversion ports in its base unit, but the wireless output is composite video only, which greatly limits its appeal.

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4.5 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 4

The GrandTec Ultimate Wireless presents itself as a solution to a vexing problem: how to get media files on your PC up on your television screen. Most solutions, from running long cables to using a media extender to putting a PC right next to your TV, are either physically awkward or functionally inelegant. The $149 GrandTec Ultimate Wireless teases us with a potential solution--simply sending your main PC's audio and video output wirelessly--but the actual implementation leaves a lot to be desired. It's useful only to a select few with specific signal-routing and conversion needs.

Getting content, especially media, from the PC to the TV is a problem with many potential solutions, none of them perfect. Media extenders, including wireless models such as the D-Link MediaLounge DSM-520, have their own proprietary menu systems and often are limited in the kinds of media files they'll transmit (try streaming a protected iTunes file, and you'll see what we mean). The more specific subgroup of Media Center Extenders, for use with Windows Media Center, at least offer the familiar MCE interface, but they are even more limited in some ways: wireless Media Center extenders generally won't play videos other than WMV files.

Instead of bothering with that, GrandTec promises to simply take your video and audio output and send it via a 2.4GHz wireless transmission to any TV. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea, especially combined with the box copy, which promises S-Video, composite, and VGA outputs, but once you delve into the actual hardware, the real story is somewhat less impressive.

The GrandTec Ultimate Wireless consists of two parts: a base unit and a receiver. The base unit is actually a capable video transcoder, taking standard VGA signals and outputting them as composite, 9-pin RGB (useful for European SCART connections) or S-Video signals. But to take advantage of those outputs, you'll need to connect your TV directly to the wired base unit. If you want to take advantage of the included wireless receiver, you'll be stuck with a single composite video output (that's the standard old yellow cable that many still use to hook up everything from DVD players to PlayStations). The wireless receiver also supports stereo audio connections.

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