June 17, 2007 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Wireless connection to LCD projector?

I can buy any number of USB-powered doodads to let me do some basic stuff -- right arrow, etc. -- wirelessly on my laptop from a distance. Is there any similar item that would allow me to connect a laptop to an LCD projector within a small distance of about 20 feet or so, so that no wire has to run between them? The projector is an Infocus, about a year old.
posted by megatherium to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
There are some IBM-branded projectors with a built-in wireless projection mechanism, but I haven't heard of a stand-alone version.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:38 PM on June 17, 2007

Sending a right-arrow command to a computer or projector only requires an extremely small amount of data -- as little data as any of the letters in this sentence.

A picture, on the other hand, is worth a thousand words. Typically, computers refresh the image 60 times per second. Needless to say, processing 60 thousand words a second takes quite a bit more processing power and wireless bandwidth than the letter or two a remote control takes.

That's not to say it's not possible. Something like the Avocent Longview does what you want, but it's not a $40 doodad (they're around $700 depending on the model). You can hook up a full computer to the projector with a wifi connection, and use it as a virtual display using VNC, although it's doubtful you'll get 60 frames per second out of it, and you're still talking several hundred bucks. You can hook up a cheap 900mhz video transmitter, but the image won't be high resolution (think VHS, not XGA) -- your powerpoint may be unreadable.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 1:11 PM on June 17, 2007

Depending on what you are doing, you don't need 60 frames a second. If you are showing a static presentation, then just being able to do a full screen refresh in a second or so may be good enough. 802.11g wireless would probably be fast enough for that.

I know some of the mass-market network hardware vendors have offered stuff like this in the past. The only current option I found is this one from D-link. I think it runs $200-250. I doubt you'd find anything capable of 1024x760 for much less, no matter how it was implemented.
posted by Good Brain at 2:14 PM on June 17, 2007

Here's something on Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2006/01/19/the-wireless-vga-extender-eliminates-some-other-wires-too/. I've worked with these a few times, and there are drawbacks. Bascially, these things create their own 802.11 wifi network, running between the base station and the receiver. They're susceptible to interference, and the ones I've used have limited resolution and refresh rates. The quality is okay, but hardly worth the hassle. You'd have an easier time placing a tiny PC with all wireless remotes close to the projector.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:16 PM on June 17, 2007

My office has an Epson projector with built in wifi. It works, but forget about playing video, or even .ppt animations, unless you're happy with about 3 fps. It's an interesting feature that nobody uses.
posted by Steve3 at 4:09 PM on June 17, 2007

I bought the Avocent Longview that I EAT TAPAS mentioned above for the conference room at work. I had to pull it out because there was a lag between moving the mouse on the PC and the mouse moving on the projector. Very annoying, and people refused to use it. I ended up putting a 50' cable in with an amplifier instead.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:28 PM on June 17, 2007

If you end up thinking about moderately long VGA cables, you can apparently get excellent results from shielded Cat 5.
posted by flabdablet at 1:14 AM on June 18, 2007

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