I still remember the day when my school's Tech Staff Developer came and delivered a Tablet PC to my classroom. "You're a Tableteer, now!" he said, and sure enough that day changed a lot of how I taught Chemistry to my students. One of the keys to effectively using a Tablet PC is taking advantage of the inking capabilities of the Tablet along with the mobility of the laptop computer. Thus, a wireless connection to the projector is highly desirable and therein lies an interesting conundrum, especially since our school did not have its projectors placed on our network, nor did we have a wireless environment. Instead, we used third party peripherals to address the issue, and for the most part, they've done the job. Today, we take a look at a similar device (the VStream Wireless PC to TV Audio Video Streamer) designed to take that same scenario and apply it to your home, your office, anywhere, really. Read on to find out how you can project your computer onto your HDTV.
Contents inside the box were familiar as we've used these devices at school. You have a receiver unit that connects to the monitor/television, in this case, through an HDMI cable. The other piece is the USB adapter (or the infamous "dongle" as we refer to it at school) that connects to your computer. I was pleased to see the HDMI cable included as the Apple TV failed to include one in their package. There was a CD which contained the necessary drivers for installation. Problem: I was using a laptop that did not have an optical drive. A quick trip to the Diamond Media product website, and I found the required download package with ease. Insert dongle into computer, connect receiver unit to my television, and five minutes later, I was finishing the last of the six step quick start guide. I was soon looking at my computer screen on my 46" Samsung HDTV in glorious 1080p.
Of course, one doesn't want to just look at a static Word document when using an HDTV as your monitor. I quickly fired up some video to see what this device was capable of handling. YouTube videos played fluidly, and one of the best parts of the VStream device is that audio is streaming through the television. I was able to control the volume not through the computer but through the television which takes full advantage of the more powerful speakers. Netflix was next, and after logging in to my account, I was viewing instant streaming videos again without a single hiccup. It's only when I tested out Hulu that things got a little choppy. I noticed a small difference in playback quality between my computer screen and the HDTV, but if I switched to projector only, the differences were no longer noticeable and viewing was more than tolerable. It should be noted that the USB adapter heats up a bit, but hey, you would get toasty too if you were streaming that much data 20 feet across the room. Photo slideshows and streaming audio sites (Pandora, Grooveshark, etc.) all worked without a hitch.