3 Ways to Cut the Cord
If you’re tired of having the projector or monitor in one place because the school has spent a fortune to wire classrooms with fixed cabling, Intel’s WiDi standard can help put these devices where they can do the most good. Think of WiDi as the latest extension of WiFi networking that connects a computer with a monitor and you get an idea as to its worth in the digital classroom.
Short for Wireless Display, WiDi requires a WiFi network, something most schools already have, to work. There are WiDi notebooks from Dell, Toshiba, Sony and others that have the hardware for wirelessly sending images to a screen built in, making their VGA and HDMI connectors obsolete.
At the other end of the WiDi equation, Belkin, DLink and Netgear sell the equipment needed to receive the stream of video at a monitor or projector from the notebook. Capable of high-definition video, the system has a range long enough for the typical classroom.
Looking more like an alien flying saucer than a piece of educational gear, Belkin’s ScreenCast TV adapter can link a WiDi notebook to a television set or projector across a classroom. On top of full 1080p HD video, it can work with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and has a slew of connectors, ranging from HDMI to Composite video connectors. It costs $130.
By contrast, DLink’s DHD-131MainStage adapter is less expensive at $120, but adds classroom creature comforts like a simple one-button connection scheme so that teachers don’t waste valuable instructional time. The system adds the ability to connect two screens at once, extending a PC’s screen so that you can drag an item from a connected notebook to a projector or monitor.
At $100, Netgear’s Push2TV PTV2000 brings all the technology together at the best price of $100. The system provides the ability to play DVDs, nose around the Web or just show a math lesson on the big screen – all without a cable in sight. It can handle 1080p HD programming and comes with the cables needed to connect the Push2TV to a monitor or projector.