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CNET First Look
Asus WiCastThe Asus WiCast does more, at higher resolutions, than Intel's Wireless Display, but also requires multiple external hardware boxes and A/C adaptors.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the ASUS WiCast system. It's sort of their own proprietary version of Intel's Wireless Display. If you remember wireless display, that's from Intel built into certain new laptops that have Intel's latest CPUs and chipsets in them and that has some transmitting hardware built into the laptop and then you get this $99 receiver that you plug into your TV and you can send the screen from your laptop to your external monitor like a big TV or something like that. Now, the downsides to Intel's version is that there's some lag built in so you can't really do real time stuff like gaming and the screen resolution tops out at I think 720p right now and, of course, you can't transmit copy protected things like Blu-ray through it. In this version which is very similar to one we've seen from HP that should also be coming out soon, it's a little bit clunkier. You have to get an external transmitter which we have right here, hook it into your HDMI output from your laptop and plug it into the wall or powered from another USB power port on your laptop. Then you have to take the separate transmitter, plug it into the wall, and then also connected by HDMI to your big screen TV but then you get the image duplicated here and unlike Wireless Display, it's pretty much essentially real time. There's no perceptible lag there. We've been able to play games on it and watch Blu-ray on it which may make up for the kind of clunkier hardware that you have to get to use this system. Right here, we have a video game set up. The game is playing on this laptop. The signal is going out from the HDMI port to the transmitter right here. Wirelessly going to the receiver which is then plugged into the HDMI port on this TV right here and as you can see, I am playing this game with no lag, in real time, and I can actually do it without being screwed up because there's lag between the two computers. Now, on this example, we're doing something else you can't do with Intel's Wireless Display. We're taking a Blu-ray equipped laptop and sending that Blu-ray signal out, again, through the transmitter to the receiver to this external TV right here and, of course, you can do it in full 1080p resolution while Wireless Display I think tops out at 720p right now. Now, in order to do this, there is one small workaround, you can't have, because of copy protection, the Blu-ray playing on the laptop display and the external display simultaneously. You have to go in and turn off the laptop display in order to play it here. Now, the image quality. You know, it's pretty good, if not as good as if you plugged a Blu-ray player directly in. There is a little bit of compression, signal degradation, but, overall, not a terrible experience. The ASUS WiCast, like the HP version which, again, looks a little bit different hardware wise but essentially it has the same features, goes $199 and, for that, you get the transmitter and the receiver. Of course, you have to supply your own laptop and big screen TV. I'm Dan Ackerman taking a look at the ASUS WiCast.