on July 18, 2011
We recently got a widi-enabled laptop and we purchased this adapter in order to be able to watch streaming movies on our TV as well as playing some computer games (not very heavy-duty ones). The bottom line is we are quite pleased, but there were some setup issues which I will detail first, in order to help people who ran into the same problems.
When we first set the controller up, the picture was very low quality (not HD) and the audio didn't work. The documentation was not very helpful and after trying everything we could think of, we called Netgear's support line. They were very nice and did their best to help us, and eventually after a reset to factory settings everthing seemed to work (HD quality picture and working audio). We used the device for a few hours (worked perfectly), and then because we don't have enough HDMI ports on our TV, we disconnected it in order to connect another device. Next time we connected it, we had the same problem: no audio, no HD, didn't work until we did a factory reset. This repeated itself a few times, but we have now figured out what the issue is:
If you turn on the PTV while the HDMI cable is disconnected from the TV, or if you disconnect the HDMI cable from the TV while the PTV is on, then it will have trouble both recognizing that the TV is HD and have trouble with the audio, and will not properly recognize these unless you do a factory reset.
So, before the first setup, FIRST connect the HDMI cable, THEN turn on the PTV. Then if you want to disconnect the HDMI cable from the TV, make sure that the PTV is OFF before you disconnect the cable, and that it stays OFF until you have reconnected. Doing things in this order appears to have completely solved the technical problems for us.
So, now that we've dealt with that annoying issue, on to the actual review:
Once it connected, the PTV seems to work almost flawlessly. We were able to stream things from HULU and Amazon-direct without any difficulty and in very high quality (the only choppiness that occured was a result of the internet connection downloading the movies, not the WiDi connection). I especially liked the WiDi widget (downloadable from Intel's website), which allows you to stream one application to your TV in fullscreen, while still using your computer for other applications (so I was able to watch a TV show from Amazon in fullscreen HD on my TV, while at the same time using my laptop to check my email, chat etc., without these coming up on the TV).
When we played a computer game (Secret Files 2), there was some flickering until we changed the game's graphic settings to a lower refresh rate (40 instead of 60). Since then, the game has worked perfectly.
So far, in about 15 hours of use, the WiDi connection got disconnected twice, both times because Windows had some urgent message (so not because of a problem with the WiDi itself). This seems reasonable to us, as it is very easy to reconnect.
So, bottom line, the setup difficulties were a bit annoying, but now that we have figured them out, we hope they won't bother us any longer.
The product itself is great: we've really been enjoying being able to watch shows and movies as well as play computer games on our widescreen TV without sending annoying wiring across our livingroom. The video quality and sound quality have been absolutely great. So, overall, we are very pleased with this product, but it would have been nice to avoid the technical issues initially.
UPDATE (July 2012): Again, just to help people who may be having some problems - over the past few months we had some technical issues with this product - the sound and HD refused to work frequently and we often had to plug and unplug the cable a few times to get it to work. Then we suddenly hit on the idea to try a different HDMI cable (duh!) and since then it has been working flawlessly. Just thought this may be helpful to people.