Wireless video to a projector?
July 19, 2011 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Is 802.11 b/g/n wireless fast enough to use to watch movies?

I'm considering getting an Epson PowerLite 1775w, primarily because of the wireless capabilities. It would be totally great to be able to watch movies wirelessly on, for instance, Hulu or Netflix.

I'm not terribly concerned about getting a high resolution, but I am concerned about images freezing up.

From what I can tell, it uses 802.11 b/g/n wireless. I'm not totally sure what that means, and I'm definitely not sure whether or not it's fast enough to transfer data wirelessly from my computer for video, even at a low resolution. Is it?

There were a some older questions about this kind of thing, but I thought enough time had passed that maybe technology has changed.
posted by hapticactionnetwork to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I stream Netflix, Hulu, you name it over wireless all the time.. Even network storage streaming HD content is fine. B is the oldest technology if I recall right with a 10Mb/s thoeretical throughput, which means you'll get 6 in a reasonable situation, which is fine - though if I was getting new equipment I'd want g / n, which it seems to have. MORE than plenty.
posted by mbatch at 5:37 PM on July 19, 2011

You will be fine. The weak link speed-wise will be your primary connection to the Internet. You shouldn't have any issues otherwise with that router streaming video.
posted by donovan at 5:37 PM on July 19, 2011

Best answer: Yes, it is. 802.11b has a top speed of 11Mbit/sec, though you'll probably only really achieve speeds in the 4-5Mbit/sec range. The highest quality Netflix connection needs between 2-3Mbit/sec. 802.11g operates at a nominal speed of 54Mbit/sec and 802.11n well over 100Mbit/sec. Again, your actual throughput will likely be no more than half that, but even a "slow" g connection is going to be an order of magnitude faster than you need to stream video.

Your main problem will not be speed, but the reliability of your connection. Wireless is still a bit wonky when compared to hard-wired ethernet, and certain homes are better for this sort of thing than others. You may have no problem. But some houses are built like ersatz Faraday cages and play merry hell with wireless transmissions of all sorts, be it WiFi, cell phones, and even regular cordless phones.

Your other main issue is going to be range. Setting up a router at one end of the house and your viewing system on the other can be problematic for b networks, though g and n tend to be better at this.

If you're having a problem with wireless in your house in either capacity you probably already know this. If you aren't, you'll probably be fine.
posted by valkyryn at 5:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, your network speed is going to be as fast as the slowest "leg" of the network -- for most people, their internet connection is only a few Mb/sec, much slower than basic wireless speeds. My Roku is on my wireless network, and in the year we've owned it watching SD video, I can only think of twice that it seemed to lag due to network slowdowns. If you've got other things eating up internet bandwidth (somebody else listening to Pandora, downloading torrents, etc.) you may end up getting slowed down at the bottleneck, too.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:14 PM on July 19, 2011

We have an 802.11n network with a router (that Comcast gave us and we are going to replace it) and (when the router works fine) we have no problems with Netflix at all, and even streaming stuff from my iMac to the AppleTV to watch, say, episodes of Leverage works just fine.

(hm, reminded now I wanted to post an AskMe... thanks!)
posted by mephron at 7:52 PM on July 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everybody, great answers all around. I marked valkyryn's as best 'cause it had Mbit/sec numbers for comparison.
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 8:24 PM on July 19, 2011

Though netflix streaming is only a few MB/sec, decompression is not happening at the projector, it's happening at the PC, which is then connected to the projector using the 802.11b/g/n module.

I don't know what that consists of or how the information is streamed, but it's completely dependent on the codecs used to transmit the video signal from your PC to the projector, which has nothing to do with any of the upstream feeds. I wouldn't be surprised if only minimal compression is used on the native 1280x800 output (roughly 720p if you're looking for the equivalent HD type), and I would be cautious in assuming you could stream video at 802.11b or even g speeds.

in summary, the projector supports some sort of wireless streaming from a dedicated 'presentation' PC, it has no native support for netflix etc. I would be cautiously optimistic in getting quality streaming video over the link.
posted by defcom1 at 9:28 PM on July 19, 2011

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