If you have a house with multiple TVs, you’re faced with providing content for each of them. With my cable company, I have to pay for extra lines, plus an extra charge for a cable box and remote control for each line. I’ll need to buy DVD players for each, too. With the the MyWirelessTV Multi-Room Wireless HD Video Kit, Actiontec promises I can stream full HD video from the programming source in one room to the TV in another room without having to run wires. I don’t even have to worry about connecting it to my home’s wireless network, because the MyWirelessTV boxes are paired to use their own wireless 802.11n connection.
Some pictures can be clicked for an enlarged view.
The MyWirelessTV can stream 1080p60 full HD or 3D video to a second TV up to 150 feet away. You simply connect the transmitter to any set top box, gaming console, DVD player, or other device and connect the receiver to any HD display in any location in your home. You won’t need to run wires, drill holes in your floors or walls, or pay the cable company to install an extra line. You won’t even have to worry about connecting it to your wireless network, because the MyWirelessTV boxes are paired together on their own proprietary connection straight out of the box. Actiontec says they use “standards-based compression, transmission, and transport protocols to securely and reliably deliver HD video throughout the home.”
- No interference with existing wireless networks
- Compression: Standard H.264 codec
- Transmission:Wireless Standard 802.11 WiFi
- Content Protection: Standard HDCP 2.0 Encryption
The MyWirelessTV consists of a transmitter box that you’ll attach to your cable box, DVD player, or other source and a receiver that you’ll hook to the HD TV you want to send signals to. As you can see, the boxes are clearly marked so you don’t have to guess which is the receiver. The boxes are approximately 4.4″ X 4″ X 1.25″, and they are made of black plastic. You can see the top has grids for cooling.
The front of the receiver box (on top) has some LEDs to show power, wireless signal, and connection status. There’s also a USB port on the front that is used for firmware updates. The transmitter box (bottom) also has the same status lights, and it also has a sunken reset button. The transmitter has a miniUSB port; you’ll need to use the included USB-to-miniUSB adapter to install firmware updates. Both of these boxes have a sync button. They come paired from the factory, but this can be used to pair up an extra receiver (optional purchase) with the existing transmitter so that you can transmit the same signal to multiple TVs in your house. You can also pair a receiver with multiple transmitters if you have multiples in your home connected to various media sources.
You’ll notice that the back of these boxes are again plainly identified so you don’t have to waste time trying to get things hooked up only to later realize that you had hooked the receiver to the media source. The receiver has the reset button on the back. You’ll also hook up the AC power adapter (included) and IR blaster receiver here. You’ll also notice that the only output is through an HDMI cable. You’ll be surprised to know that Actiontec actually includes two HDMI cables with the MyWirelessTV.
The transmitter also has connections for the AC adapter and an IR transmitter. (You’ll notice the receiver’s connector is surrounded by a green box. One of the IR blasters has a green plug, so you’ll know which blaster goes with which box.) Again, only HDMI connectors are used. You’ll connect the HDMI cable out of your cable box, DVD player, or the like to the HDMI input port. If you have a TV located by the media source, you can also connect the HDMI Out to TV to your local HDTV. The box will pass signals through to the local TV with this connection.
If you are installing the transmitter and receiver in the same room – say the living room with the TV above the fireplace and the cable box in the shelving in the corner – you won’t have to use the IR blasters. They are needed if you are installing the two boxes in different rooms.
The backs of the boxes have a lot of cooling grids. You’ll also notice rubber feet that keep the box raised off the table and some slots that can be used with screws (not included) to mount the boxes on the wall. Installation instructions say to avoid putting these boxes on top of devices that generate a lot of heat on their own.
The MyWirelessTV comes with two IR blasters, 2 HDMI cables, two AC power adapters, a miniUSB-to-USB adapter, and a remote control. This is not a universal remote control; it only allows you to access setup features with the receiver box. There’s no setup functionality for the transmitter box. Anything that needs to be done is accessed through the receiver.
I wanted to try the MyWirelessTV because I have a house with three TVs but only two cable connections. I don’t have a cable connection for the TV in my bedroom, and I don’t want to pay for a third line. I started out by hooking the transmitter box to the HD cable DVR in my living room.
Setup was very simple. I connected the transmitter to the power, attached the HDMI cable coming from the cable box to the HDMI Input connector, and the IR blaster. Because I do have a TV in the living room, I used one of the supplied cables to connect the HDMI Out to TV to my living room TV. When powered up, the power status light started blinking and eventually came on steady.
I next went to my bedroom and hooked up the receiver box. I used the second supplied HDMI cable to connect the box to an input on my TV. When I powered the box up, the power light blinked then came on steady.
I wasn’t quite finished with the installation yet. I had to position the two IR blasters. Actually, Actiontec calls the green-tipped one the IR extender. It will collect signals from the remote control and send them to the IR blaster connected to the transmitter. These little devices have sticky backs, so they can be “glued” in place. Instructions said to place the IR extender connected to the receiver beside the IR receiver on your TV. I didn’t want to do that, so I attached it to the leg of the TV stand I’m using in the bedroom. You can see it just under the MyWirelessTV box in the above picture.
The IR blaster attached to the transmitter has to be placed so it’s facing the IR receiver on the front of my cable box so it can shoot the signals I send from the bedroom to the cable box. This was a bit difficult to do. I finally had to attach the IR blaster to the inside of the glass doors in my media cabinet. I don’t care for this look – it looks like a bug is on the glass of my cabinet door.
As I mentioned earlier, the included remote is only for accessing setup functions for the MyWirelessTV. I had to bring the cable box’s remote control into the bedroom. I turned on the cable box, turned on my bedroom TV, and selected the proper input. I immediately had a sharp, clear picture. The TV in my bedroom is only 720p and the cable box is 1080p, but the video worked.
You’ll notice I said the video worked, but there was no sound whatsoever on my bedroom TV. There was also a picture on my living room TV, but it also had no sound. It would also sometimes display an error screen about an unsupported video format. The troubleshooting information in the installation brochure didn’t help, so I went online for help. The FAQs at Actiontec said that installing the most recent version of the firmware to both the transmitter and the receiver might help. I updated both boxes and tried again. I still had a picture but no sound.
Further investigation at Actiontec revealed this info: “Certain Cable/FiOS Set top boxes and DVR boxes are limited to only 1 downstream HDCP (high-bandwidth digital-content protection) device that they can connect too. This means that devices like MyWirelessTV, A/V Receiver, or Google TV, (HDMI repeaters/switches) that are strictly adhering to the HDCP requirements cannot legally pass video to the display. You can call your Service Provider and describe the “HDMI repeater/switch” related issue, and request a free firmware update. Or “As an alternative” you could also request that the Service Provider replace the HD Cable or FiOS STB/DVR box, with a model that can support repeater mode.”
Apparently my cable company doesn’t see the need to support me streaming their content to another TV for free, because nothing I could do would allow my bedroom TV to receive both a picture and sound. I don’t have a DVD player connected to the bedroom TV, so I decided I’d try the MyWirelessTV with the Blu-ray player in my living room setup.
I just switched the HDMI cable from my cable box with the HDMI cable coming out of my Blu-ray. I decided I’d recycle the power on both boxes, too. After the handshake between the boxes was completed, I had the home menu from the Blu-ray showing up on my bedroom TV. So I had a good picture, but I had that before. I started the disk playing, and I was very happy to hear sound, too!
I watched 2012 on Blu-ray, and I watched carefully for glitches during playback. I didn’t notice any problems with the video, but I did hear a couple of audio glitches that lasted a fraction of a second. Most of these occurred after the bedroom door was closed.
I have a small house, so there’s no way I could put the two boxes 150 feet apart. However, my house has very thick plaster walls with wood lathe and metal mesh under the plaster. My interior walls are about 3.5″ thick. I had placed the two boxes almost as far apart as they could go in my house, since the living room is in the front left corner of the house and my bedroom in the back right corner. I was very pleased with the quality of the transmitted signal.
I have had to recycle the power on the two boxes a couple of times to re-establish the connection, though. Not during playback, but on different days.
As I mentioned, there are setup functions available on the receiver. There aren’t many functions, though. The Select Source box can be seen in the previous picture that also shows the main menu from my Blu-ray player. If you have multiple MyWirelessTV transmitters in your house, you can select the desired one from the list. I have only one transmitter, so I don’t need to use this function. If you do have multiple transmitters or receivers, you use the Configure menu to connect them, and you can give them a name to make them easier to recognize in the list.
In general settings, you can select the menu language. Although the units are paired, you may find their selected channel interferes with something else in your house/setup, so you can have the units select another channel in here, too. You can also choose a latency mode. To quote Actiontec again, “MyWirelessTV is based on Cavium Network’s Super Low Latency (SLL™) technology, which offers the industry’s lowest compression latency for full HD 1080p60 H.264 encode and decode. The result? You can enjoy superb quality, interactive HD applications throughout the home. For example, watch live TV, share a multi-player game between rooms, or surf the Web on any display no matter where the computer is.“. You can see on the screen in the above picture, Theater Mode prioritizes video quality while Game Mode prioritizes speed. I am not a gamer, so I chose Theater.
As a note about gaming, you can use a computer with an HDMI output as the media source for the MyWirelessTV. You’ll be able to use the HDTV as a monitor while you surf or game. I didn’t try this out, as I have absolutely no interest in using my TV as a monitor.
The last menu in the setup screen is Advanced Settings, where you can see information about both your receiver and transmitter box. You’ll also find the “reset to factory settings” option here, too. At the bottom, you’ll see a bar chart that shows signal strength. This is very convenient for fine-tuning the placement and orientation of the boxes. You can adjust them to improve your signal strength using this graph as your guide.
I like the Actiontec MyWirelessTV. It didn’t work with my cable box, but it’s not at fault for my cable company crippling output from my set top box. It worked great with my Blu-ray player, and it was nice to watch a movie in there. It’s the only way I’d be able to watch a DVD in there, since I really don’t have room for a player in the bedroom. I would be happiest if it would work with my cable box and with my DVD player, but as the Stones said, “you can’t always get what you want”…