Getting PC content onto the more communal view screen of the living room TV has always been a challenge. Media Center PCs, which plug directly into your home theater setup, are cumbersome and necessarily tethered to a single location; media streamers and hubs only work with a subset of content, and can't handle games or social networking. Plugging your laptop directly into the back of a TV isn't always convenient, especially if you want to still access the keyboard and touch pad at the same time.
One solution worth looking at is wirelessly transmitting the video output from your laptop to any nearby television or monitor. Two current laptop-focused choices in this area are Intel's Wireless Display and wireless HDMI boxes such as the Asus WiCast.
We've been reasonably positive about Intel's Wireless Display technology since its introduction earlier in 2010, but the platform has a handful of major issues keeping it from being a tool mainstream users will embrace.
If you're not familiar with WiDi, it's essentially a technology built into select laptops running Intel's latest CPUs and chipsets that allows the laptop's display to be wirelessly duplicated on a remote screen (say, a big-screen TV). Though the transmitting hardware is built into the laptop itself, the receiver is a small box that retails for $99 and plugs in to the HDMI port of your TV. The big problem with WiDi is that there's perceptible lag between the laptop and TV, making it fine for set-it-and-forget-it video playback, but useless for gaming or real-time Web surfing. It also can't play certain kinds of DRM-protected content, such as Blu-ray, and the current version tops out at a 720p resolution signal.
The Asus WiCast system solves many of those problems, while injecting a few of its own.… Read more