When we first read the press release issued by IOGear to promote its Wireless USB to VGA Kit, we were particularly intrigued by the potential of a product that would wirelessly send video from a PC to a TV at a distance up to 30 feet, imagining applications of gaming, watching video, viewing photos and more without the need to shift a computer within reach of a television or invest in a media PC/streamer.
On paper it seemed ideal for the job by today’s standards, capable of up to 720p HD quality or up to 1680 x 1050 resolutions using a choice of frequencies between 3.1 and 4.8GHz. The package consists of a USB-dongle and a VGA-interface control box, both of which sport wireless antennas, with the former connecting directly to a PC and the latter a compatible VGA port on a TV.
Extension cables are supplied for easy installation and a double-sided strip helps to mount the control box semi-permanently behind a TV for a relatively tidy setup, though it’s worth noting that a dedicated mains power cable is also required here.
A combination of supplied software and a series of LEDs on each unit helps to confirm whether a connection is successfully made and you can also adjust the resolution and orientation on the source device, but despite a well-considered start it wasn’t long before we ran into problems which, ultimately, threatened to totally undermine the usefulness of the product.
Despite being assured that a stable video signal was being sent between the two units, a lack of an on-screen image and no obvious solution resulted in a series of calls to technical support, with the end result being a general conflict with ATI Catalyst software and no further helpful information as to how to resolve this. Obviously an inherent issue of this nature could affect a large proportion of potential users so it’s far from ideal, but unfortunately the problems didn’t end there.
After some software tweaks and further tests with additional PCs, through which we finally achieved a mirrored or extended desktop image, we found signal stability to be heavily influenced by both the distance and clear line of sight between the source and destination. This occurred within 10 feet of the 30-foot maximum quoted range and although clear line of sight seemed to improve things, at this point those looking to benefit from performance outside of these restrictions can walk away.
For those who are still with us, let us state that after testing with a couple of games and some HD video content, signal quality was intermittent at best and only reached a desired level of quality when we switched to standard definition files. Gamers and HD fans can, therefore, also walk away now.
If anyone is still left reading, it seems as though we have narrowed down the capabilities of IOGear’s USB to VGA Kit to those who want to send a signal containing nothing more demanding than standard definition video a relatively short distance (around 10 feet) and ideally with line of sight between the two devices.
This pretty much leaves us with business use, so for Powerpoint presentations and similar applications it could well do a useful job. Unfortunately, so could a VGA extension cable, and at around a tenth of the price. So try as we might, we couldn’t find any particular reason to recommend this as a high-tech alternative.