I was able to test out the Imation LINK Wireless Audio/Video Extender previously mentioned in my article 14 Awesome Gadgets For Your Christmas Wish List. We had a scenario arise at work where using this would be a much better solution than running a 20′ VGA cable to a wall-mounted HDTV. The Veebeam did seem to have more features for nearly the same price but the Veebeam driver wasn’t listed as being compatible with Windows XP whereas the Imation is. (Not that I blame them but it’s important for this setup.) Here are the details I gathered from my testing of the device.
The box is pretty sleek with a lift up lid to show the shark fin receiver antenna and the USB transmitter. Far too sleek for an online purchase.
One Imation device at $135 includes the USB 2.0 transmitter, the receiver, the AC adapter, an HDMI cable, a CD with the drivers, and a quick start guide.
The antenna includes the drivers on it like a USB flash drive so there really is no need for the CD from what I’ve seen. In addition, there are updated drivers available at: http://www.displaylink.com/support/downloads.php In addition, there are also Mac OS X drivers and you can request a silent .msi installation package for the driver, useful for IT Administrators.
The receiver has a VGA output and an HDMI output in addition to a 3.5mm audio output jack.
The Quick Start guide is pretty straight-forward and includes some troubleshooting tips but I think most people could figure it out without the instructions.
To get everything running on a computer that’s never used the Wireless USB transmitter before.
- Boot up computer.
- Plug in transmitter.
- Follow on-screen instructions to install the driver if auto-play is enabled.
- Restart computer and remove transmitter.
- Log into Windows.
- Plug in transmitter. Default setting of Extended desktop should appear on second monitor/TV.
Once the computer has the driver installed, it’s just a matter of plugging in the transmitter and the second monitor will work as you last had it configured.
You configure your second monitor through a simple system tray icon. You can set the second monitor to be an extended monitor or a mirror. You can also set whether it extends left, right, above, or below your main monitor.
If you click the Advanced… option from the system tray icon, you’ll land on the Windows Display Properties window which actually shows the Imation transmitter as a third monitor.
I tried to run it through the gamut: full screen PowerPoint, web browser, and VLC while playing a video worked great. I did run into a problem trying to run YouTube or Hulu in full screen on the second monitor. Even mirrored, the video would play fine on the laptop’s display but would freeze on the TV. I updated to the latest version of Adobe Flash and that problem went away. Full-screen video worked great.
I walked out of the room to at least 30 feet and couldn’t go any further to try testing the range but the video continued playing in sync and it didn’t break the signal.
My only caveats would be battery life and heat. I’m not 100% certain about the laptop I was testing with but I had to run and get its AC adapter after just over 30 minutes of testing. The other concern is that the Wireless USB transmitter did get fairly warm during use. Not hot enough to be immediately worried but just enough concern in the back of your head about the longevity of the device.
All in all though, it’s pretty cool. I think it will make for an easier process than even hooking a projector up to a laptop. It would be even better if Windows would automatically provide the driver but it shouldn’t be that difficult for anybody to set this up as long as they have administrator access on the laptop or PC they’re trying to use the Imation LINK with. It also looks better than the long VGA cable.