Schools attempting to wire older classrooms for projectors or large screen monitors over the summer are faced with one big problem: the cables for video and audio never seem to be where they need to be. Rewiring a classroom can easily dwarf the cost of the projector, but Warpia lets you unwire it by connecting any recent PC with a projector or TV with no fuss, muss or wires.
Warpia’s USB PC to TV Audio/Video Display Adapter SWP100a is a little long-winded but can link a PC to a monitor, TV or projector in a classroom wirelessly. Based on the USB Wireless 1.0 standard, Warpia takes advantage of Wisair’s WSR 601 chip to stream high-quality audio and video over thin air.
Warpia comes with a small USB radio that’s the size of a memory key and transmits whatever is on the host PC’s screen. The larger receiver goes near the projector and its radio can be aimed the received vertically or horizontally. There’s also an AC adapter for the receiver and a CD of software.
The system can handle resolutions up to 1,400 by 1,050 in 32-bit color and CD-quality audio. On the downside, At the moment Warpia is for PCs only and will work on neither Macs nor Linux computers. There is beta software for Macs that can be downloaded.
The way it works is that the teacher’s computer uses Warpia to send an audio-video stream over a wireless link in the 3.2- to 4.8GHz range. With 128-bit AES encrypted security, adjacent classrooms won’t interfere with each other. As data moves through the system, a green light blinks on both the sender and receiver.
Set up was surprisingly easy and quick with automatic application loading. After 15 minutes of the software setting itself up, Warpia worked on the first try and transmitted audio and video from a Satellite L555 notebook at 1,280 by 768 resolution to an Epson PowerLite Presenter as well as an LG 47-inch TV-monitor.
There’s the choice at the receiver end between using a VGA port and separate audio cable or an HDMI port that carries audio and video; Warpia supplies none of the necessary cables, however.
I prefer using HDMI because of its simplicity but there still aren’t that many classroom projectors that have this port on them. Both worked well, with excellent audio synchronization as well as rich and sharp color that looked as good as the original.
Teachers can mirror or extend the host PC’s screen, accelerate the video stream and adjust things like the channel it is broadcast on. Those with big classrooms will be disappointed, however, because Warpia has a range of only about 14-feet, at 1,280 by 768 resolution. That’s less than half the system’s spec. At that distance, the sound drops out first and then the video freezes, but once you’re back in range, the system reconnects automatically.
To extend the range, you can reduce the video’s resolution and color depth, which created a solid 25-foot connection at 800 by 600 resolution and 16-bit audio, which should be just fine for most classroom purposes. On top of that, Warpia’s receiver can be placed anywhere, from screwed into a wall to the space above a drop ceiling, to bring sender and receiver closer together.
In short, Warpia does digital magic by invisibly linking a PC with a projector or TV for the typical classroom.
+ Wireless audio-video connection
+ Good quality
+ Uses 128-bit security
+ VGA or HDMI connection
- Limited range
- Receiving end requires AC outlet
- PCs only