A Real-Life Comparison 
between using a Wireless HD device
 and a Wired solution

January 6th, 2011

by Barry Lieberman
 Advantage Plus Marketing Group, Inc.

Overview of Requirements

My vision was to set up flat-panel TVs in two rooms that would allow my family to watch full HD television, have Internet access, Blu-ray DVD viewing, and PC access using those TVs. The front room would have a Samsung 55" 8000 Series flat panel TV with 5.1 surround sound. I wanted that TV to be able to double as a PC monitor, an on-demand movie display (Internet Streaming), Blu-ray display and, of course, display full HD TV from our DVR. Then the game room would have a Samsung 46" 8000 Series flat panel TV. That TV would also have access to the same PC, Blu-ray player, its own digital HD cable box, and on-demand movie display (Internet Streaming). That room would also have 5.1 surround sound. Lastly, I wanted all the source equipment housed in a "media" closet. The media closet includes the following equipment:
  • 1 Cox/Motorola HD DVR
  • 1 Cox/Motorola Digital HD Cable box (non-DVR)
  • 2 Pioneer 5.1 surround sound or better Pioneer HDMI (3D ready) Receivers
  • 1 Samsung 3D Blu-ray player
  • 1 HP Media PC
  • 1 WD World Edition NAS device

The Challenges

The front room TV is located 65 feet in a straight line from the proposed media closet. But to run wires the distance is approximately 125 feet because you have to go up to the attic which is above the second floor, across, then back down. The game room TV is only 25 straight feet from the media closet, but again, because of the need to run the cables up and over, the cable run is 75 feet. In addition, we are looking at multiple media/input sources so multiple Cat5/6 runs would be needed for each.

Why not Experiment!


Front Room Experiment - WIRELESS for the Front Room (a longer distance)
 Game Room Experiment - WIRED for the Game Room
  • Install a Cat 5/6 HDMI Extender
  • 2 Cat 6 cable runs
  • Run speaker wire
  • 1 Cat 5 cable run
  • Samsung 8000 Series 46" LED Flat Panel Display
  • Installation & clean-up Time

Front Room Installation


approximately 4 hours
  • Wireless HD set-up and test
  • Run speaker wire & test
  • Route power & mount TV
  • Clean-up
    • Patch small holes where speaker wire enters & exits walls
Installation Cost to me
ItemCost
Wireless HD Kit$500
Speaker wire – 125 feet$120
Labor for speaker wire run & route power $150
Articulating TV mount$280
Labor to mount the TV$75
Labor to patch & paint$75
TOTAL$1200
What is working using the Wireless HD Kit
  • Full HD from DVR
  • Blu-ray player full HD
  • Infrared (IR), which allows me to use native remotes where the viewing happens (on my nice new U-shaped couch potato sofa)
  • Direct broadband Internet access through the Wireless HD device to the router/hub
  • Very clean with only 1 cable to hide – the HDMI cable from the Wireless kit to the TV
  • Incredibly reliable
    • Has been running non-stop since June 2010 (6 months)
    • Resets within minutes when power is lost
    • Seamless change of source using native remote control in the viewing area
    • If any source, such as the DVR, fails then re-starts of the Wireless HD comes up within minutes with no adjustments necessary
    • What is not working
      • 3D from the Samsung 3D Blu-ray player
      • 5.1 surround sound still needs to be direct wired
      • A very slight latency on audio with cable TV, unnoticeable with Blu-ray.

      Game Room Installation
approximately

      10+ hours
      • Route and run 2 Cat 6 cable runs for HD
      • 1 Cat 5 cable run for Internet access
      • Run speaker wire & test
      • Route power & mount TV
      • Install, configure & test extenders with all sources -
        • Ordered, tested and returned 3 vendor's extenders
        • Found 1 extender that works semi-consistently
      • Clean-up
        • Patch & paint 3 holes created for Cat5/6 runs
        • Patch & paint holes where speaker wire enters & exits walls
      Installation Cost to me
      ItemCost
      Cat 5/6 extender$300
      Speaker wire – 75 feet$60
      2 Cat 6 and 1 Cat 5 – 75 feet each for a total of 225 feet of cable$100
      Labor for speaker wire run & route power$150
      Labor for 2 Cat 6 runs & 1 Cat 5 run of 75 feet$200
      Articulating TV mount$280
      Labor to mount the TV$75
      Labor to patch & paint$225
      IR extender$50
      TOTAL$1440
      What is working using the Wired Cat5/6 HDMI Extender Kit
      • Full HD from DVR
      • Blue-ray player full HD
      What is not working
      • 3D from the Samsung 3D Blu-ray player
      • 5.1 surround sound still needs to be direct wired
      • No IR integration, I had to purchase an IR extender
      • Large number of wires behind the TV to hide
        • Three Cat 5/6 cables
        • HDMI cable
      • Direct hardwired Internet connection from TV to router/hub
      • Un-reliable
        • Whenever power goes down the system has to be manually powered off, the settings changed and then I have to get the extender kit to sync
        • The above also occurs anytime the DVR needs to be reset (cable boxes/DVRs need to reset whenever there is a cable provider glitch)
        • Oh, and it took testing 4 vendor's "guaranteed" 100 ft extenders to find one that “kinda” works

      Summary

      The IOGEAR Wireless HD Kit from the start has been truly "plug and play." It has been 100% reliable over the longer distance and through more walls than the "wired" solution. Actually, we used it to test the displays before we actually started the tests or did any of the wiring in the game room. Installing the IOGEAR Wireless HD Kit saved me $240 for a longer run with no mess. If I had been willing to keep the audio receiver in the front room and implemented fully wireless audio & video from the media closet, I could have saved a total $585 versus the wired game room. I suggest you investigate the IOGEAR Wireless HD Kit for these reasons:
      • It IS reliable.
      • It IS flexible.
      • It IS a clean solution
      I am not saying to stop doing wired installations. I am advocating that wireless HD can strongly complement what you are currently doing. Plus, open doors to installations where the physical factors make wired solutions difficult, such as long runs, multi-story runs, through masonry and more. There are many people who would love the "media closet" idea if they knew you were NOT going to be ripping open their walls and creating that mess, and that you can do the install, be out in 4 hours and for less money than wired. With a wireless solution, you have the opportunity to gain business that you did not have in the past. In the same day, you can complete 2 jobs and almost double your profits. Your liability is lower since you are doing less demolition and patching repair work. As of now, this creates a wide-open new market for you. Isn't it time you get in front of the pack as opposed to just being in the pack or following the pack. I only wish I could run figure out how to get the 5.1 surround sound audio speaker feed split out of the HDMI, then I would not have had to run any cables by using wireless speakers. Maybe you can figure out that piece of the puzzle. If so please let me know in the blog comments.



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IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.