Alastair Grigg - Education
Alastair Grigg – Videopro Business Centre: Education

During my time in the AV industry (nearly 5 years), I have occasionally been asked whether it is possible to connect to a projector using wireless technology and if it is something that Videopro would recommend.

The ability to connect to a projector wirelessly provides a few potential advantages from price considerations (eg: if cabling doesn’t need to be run to the projector, money can be saved on the installation) through to convenience (wireless technology will allow teachers and students to connect to a projector from anywhere within the classroom).

Wireless Projection

Recently, the question of wireless connectivity is occurring with more and more regularity and I believe it’s happening for a number of reasons.

Firstly, wireless technology in general is becoming more and common. In the IT world, no manufacturer would sell a computer without wireless capabilities built into it. Devices such as tablets and mobile phones all have wireless as a standard feature in all but the very entry level models.

Secondly, wireless technology is becoming more prevalent in the AV industry. At a consumer level, we’re seeing wireless capability being built into some televisions and as each range update comes along, wireless is being built into more and more of them. Predominantly, the wireless technology in these is used for basic streaming (which usually requires a bit of IT proficiency and/or some trial and error), but it also gives you basic access to certain applications, YouTube being a classic example of one such application.

From an audio visual integration standpoint, higher level projectors have actually had wireless capability built into them (or available as an additional option) for many years. Traditionally, we’ve always highly recommended staying away from wireless and going with a wired connection. A wired connection is easier to use, less likely to suffer from drop outs and they don’t have the streaming limitations (in relation to video) that wireless does.

So, in September 2011, are projectors ready to make the leap into the exciting realms of the unconnected?
From our experience, we still believe that a wired connection is the way to go, especially from a contingency point of view. Schools that have the resources to deploy and maintain wireless connections to projectors could certainly consider doing so, to give the end user a bit more flexibility in how they use their projector alongside a traditional wired connection.

However, wireless technology is improving as a whole and those improvements are filtering their way into the AV industry. With faster wireless speeds becoming available, the ability to stream higher quality content is becoming a reality. We’re not quite there yet and I’ll reiterate that a wired connection is still my recommendation, but next month I’ll provide a summary of a device that we can supply and that can be used with an existing (or new) projector of any brand. The device allows teachers and students to connect wirelessly and break through some traditional classroom boundaries.

Until then, don’t throw out that trusty VGA cable, just yet!

If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me at a.grigg@videopro.com.au or call me on 1300 VIDEOPRO.

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