Philips Wireless HD Net Connect (SWW1890/27) Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Easy setup; Works instantly; Long range

The Cons

Large receiver; Expensive; Runs hot

Verdict

The Philips Wireless HD Net Connect lets you wirelessly stream 1080p content from your laptop to your TV with no fuss, but it's too expensive.

As more and more people cut the cable cord, they're looking for new ways to get the best Web content right on their TVs. One way to do that is a set-top box like Roku or Apple TV, but you're limited to whatever channels or partners are included. With the Philips Wireless HD Net Connect, you can wirelessly stream anything on your PC--from 1080p online video and Blu-rays to the latest 3D games--all with no latency. You just plug the transmitter into your laptop, plug the receiver into your PC and you'll be good to go. But is this do-it-all kit worth $249?

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Design

Like HP's Wireless TV Connect, the Philips Wireless HD Net Connect's transmitter is essentially a large dongle. Measuring 3.2 x 1.2 x 0.7 inches, it's about the size of a large pack of bubblegum, and the top and bottom are vented. On one end is an HDMI plug, and on the side is a miniUSB port. (The transmitter requires USB power to operate). A small blue light on top indicates the device is working.

The Philips Wireless HD Net Connect receiver is quite large. At 7.7 x 5.75 x 1 inches, it's about four times the size of HP's Wireless TV Connect, and takes up the same amount of space as a router. It's so large that Philips even includes screws and anchors to secure it to a wall. It seems a real waste of space, considering that the device only has two ports on the back (HDMI and power) and just a small power and status light on top.

In addition to a USB-miniUSB cable for the transmitter, we like that Philips includes an HDMI cable to connect the receiver to a TV.

Setup and Performance

Getting the Philips Wireless HD Net Connect up and running was straightforward. We first plugged the transmitter into our Sony VAIO F's HDMI port, then plugged the USB cable from the transmitter into the notebook. Then, we connected the receiver via HDMI to our Samsung TV, and powered it on.

Like HP Wireless TV Connect, the Philips Wireless HD Net Connect uses WHDI (Wireless Home Digital Interface) technology, which lets you beam signals with less than a 1-milisecond delay, and has a data rate of about 3GBps. The receiver immediately recognized the transmitter, and in less than a minute, our notebook's display was mirrored in all its 1080p glory on the Samsung TV. From there, we could play anything we liked, just as if there was a wired connection.

We popped in a Blu-ray of "Iron Man" and enjoyed the rich visuals and audio through the TV, with no latency whatesoever. It worked well in every display mode: extended, cloned, and on just the TV. Unlike previous generations of wireless streaming technology, we could watch a Blu-ray both on the laptop and the TV at the same time. However, unlike like HP's Wireless TV Connect, the Philips HD Net Connect doesn't support 3D content.

Gaming was just as satisfying on the Philips Wireless HD Net Connect: We were able to play "Batman: Arkham City" at 1080p, and saw no lag when moving Catwoman around, beating up goons with her whip. If you have console game controller that has a USB connection, such as the one for the Xbox, you can sit back and enjoy the action instead of crouching over your laptop.

Although Philips only rates the device for a range of 23 feet, we were able to move 50 feet away, and didn't see any stuttering.

A note of warning: Both the transmitter and receiver get very hot. After having it plugged in for about half an hour, the transmitter measured 130 degrees. The bottom of the receiver was even worse: 144 degrees.

Verdict

The Philips Wireless HD Net Connect delivers what it promises: Streaming 1080p content, be it games or movies, with no lag from your notebook to your TV. However, at $249, this kit is almost $100 more expensive than HP's Wireless TV Connect, is about four times as large, and can't stream 3D content. Unless you're wedded to the Philips brand, look elsewhere for your HD streaming needs.

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Author Bio
Michael A. Prospero
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor
Michael A. Prospero has overseen reviews on Laptopmag.com since 2007, focusing on producing the most thorough and authoritative mobile product reviews. After receiving his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia in 2003, Mike worked at Fast Company. Prior to that, he worked at The Times of Trenton, George and AlleyCat News.
Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on
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Size Transmitter: 3.2 x 1.2 x 0.7 inches; Receiver: 7.7 x 5.75 x 1 inch
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Company Website http://www.usa.philips.com