Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System Review

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Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Review and Photo Profile

Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Box - Triple View
Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Box - Triple View. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System is an HDMI connection solution, using WHDI technology, that can accommodate up to five HDMI-enabled source devices.

The way LinkCast works is that you can plug a compact HDMI transmitter into your HDMI-equipped (USB port also required for power) Laptop, Blu-ray Disc player, and the transmitter will send both audio and video wirelessly from your source device to the A/V Base Station that you physically connect to your home theater receiver, TV, or video projector via a standard HDMI cable.

To start off my review of the Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System I want to take you through a short series of up-close product photos.

Pictured on this page is the box that it comes in when you purchase it.

The front of the box shows an illustration of the system and how it can be used.

The center photo shows the box outer cover open, reveals the two main components of the system, the Receiver (the large unit on the top) and the transmitter (near the bottom).

The rear of the package lists some of the features and specifications of the Atlona LinkCast as well as an how the transmitter and receiver connect and work.

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Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Box Contents

Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Box Contents
Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Box Contents. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at everything you get in the Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System package.

Starting on the back is the color-illustrated user guide, flanked on the right side by the wireless LinkCastAV receiver (shown sitting in its supplied stand), with the receiver's AC power adapter shown on the left side.

The additional items shown include USB to mini-USB adapter and HDMI cable, an HDMI swivel adapter (which will be shown in use later in this profile), the wireless transmitter, along with its protective cover (referred to as the AT-LinkCast-HTX), and compact wireless remote control.

The features and specifications of the LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System include:

  • Compatibility with any Home Theater Receivers, HDTV, HD-Monitor, or Video Projector with HDMI inputs, and PCs, Blu-ray Disc players, DVD players, Network Media Players, or other entertainment devices that have both an HDMI inputs and USB port.
  • Wireless transmission technology: WDHI (frequency range - 4.9 GHz to 5.78 GHz)
  • Provides input switching for up to five AT-LinkCast-HTX wireless transmission sources. NOTE: One wireless transmitter is included, addition transmitters require additional purchase(s)
  • Can wirelessly transmit video resolutions up to 1080p (1920x1080 pixels) in either 2D or 3D. Wireless transmission range: Approximately 40 feet.
  • Can wirelessly transmit Dolby Digital/DTS Bitstreams or PCM audio via WHDI transmission.
  • Up to five wireless sources can be accommodated.
  • HDMI and USB cables included.
03
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Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Receiver Unit

Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Receiver Unit
Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Receiver Unit. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a closer view of the AT-LinkCastAV receiver unit and its connection setup.

Shown on the left side is the receiver unit by itself, resting in its stand, which also shows the AC Adapter and HDMI output connections, while the photo on the right side shows the AD Adapter cord and an HDMI cable connected to the unit.

The HDMI can go from this unit to either an HDMI-enabled home theater receiver, TV, or video projector.

04
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Atlona AT-LinkCast-HTX HDMI Transmitter - Two Connection Examples

Atlona AT-LinkCast-HTX HDMI Transmitter - Two Connection Examples
Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - AT-LinkCast-HTX HDMI Transmitter - Two Connection Examples. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

This page shows how AT-LinkCast-HTX transmitter can be connected to a source device, in this case, a Blu-ray Disc player.

Shown on the left photo, transmitter is connected to the HDMI output and USB port (using the USB to mini-USB adapter cable) on the back of a Blu-ray Disc player in its traditional way, while the photo on the right side shows the transmitter, HDMI, and USB connection when using the provided HDMI connection swivel adapter.

The swivel adapter can come in handy if you are short on space behind your source device, or if the HDMI output is too close to other connections, and as a result, may prevent direct connection of the transmitter to the HDMI output.

05
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Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Remote Control

Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Remote Control
Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System - Remote Control. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a close-up look at the wireless remote control that comes with the Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System.

As you can see, this remote is very small. It is important to note that all of the functions of this system are controlled via this remote, so take care not to misplace or lose it.

Starting on the top left is onscreen menu access button, followed by the exit button (which turns off the on-screen menu display), and the source selection button.

Moving down to the center of remote are the menu navigation cursor controls.

Moving down to the next row, are Delete (removes the selected transmitter from the source selection), Add (allows the addition of a new transmitter as a source), and Guest (kind of misnamed - this is actually the LinkCastAV receiver on/off button).

Finally, the button labeled 1, 2, and 3 allow direct selection of up to three wireless sources.

LinkCast Setup and Review Summary

Setting up and using the Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System is not difficult, but it is important that you read through the illustrated user guide so that you are aware of the setup requirements.

The main thing you need to be aware of is that your source device has to have both an HDMI output (for your audio/video signal), as well as a USB port (this provides power to the plug-in transmitter). A USB cable is provided to make the connection from the USB port to the transmitter (as shown in the previous transmitter connection photos).

Since the Atlona LinkCast uses the WHDI wireless protocol, direct line-of-sight between the transmitters and the receiver are not required, but if possible, limiting obstructions, as well as not placing the transmitters and receiver too close to other wireless devices, such as wireless internet routers and phones, is desirable (Atlona recommends at least two feet of clearance). However, it is also important to note that the LinkCast does not interfere with other wireless network devices or phones.

Once you get going, setup is fairly straight forward. Each system comes with a wireless receiver and one wireless transmitter to get you going. You need to purchase an additional transmitter for each source component (up to five sources allowed).

When you add a new transmitter, you need to synch it to the receiver - which can be a little tricky (and annoying) due to the synch button on the transmitter being very tiny and hard to see, let alone push - even if you have good eyesight, a good pair of reading glasses helps, along with a very sharp pencil, pen, or sewing needle end to be able to get into the area that the reset button is located in.

My suggestion to Atlona - make the sync button a little larger, and assigned a red or orange color to it, instead of black, which blends in too well with ​the end of the transmitter. I was provided a second transmitter for this review and it took several attempts to get it to synch up with the receiver, primarily due to the difficulty accessing the transmitter's synch button.

However, despite my difficulty with the synch button, once I had everything set up and my two sources synched to the AT-LinkCastAV receiver unit, the system worked well overall.

For testing, I had both a DVD and Blu-ray Disc player up and running and used the LinkCast to switch between those two sources using the provided remote control. The switching worked. For both sources, the full 1080p resolution image of the Blu-ray source and the 1080p upscaled image of the DVD source appeared on the TV screen. On the audio side, I was able to access standard Dolby Digital and DTS from Blu-ray and DVD, but found that the LinkCast is not compatible with Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams. This means that on Blu-ray Discs, your player will automatically downscale its audio output to a standard Dolby Digital or DTS bitstream for LinkCast wireless transmission.

Another observation I had was that although it was great to be able to switch between the two sources, there was about a three-second delay for the video image from each source to appear on the TV screen, and another second or so delay for the audio to kick in.

I surmise that the reason for this has to do with the LinkCast receiver or the TV having to interpret the changing HDCP codes coming from the two sources. However, despite the delay issue, being freed from the limitation of only being able to access single wirelessly transmitted HDMI source is definitely a step up from previous systems I have used and reviewed.

Final Take

Although not perfect, the Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System is the most flexible and cost-effective HDMI wireless connection unit I have used so far, but improvement is needed on signal access time when switching between two sources, as well as providing easier transmitter sync access button. It would also be desirable to have compatibility with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams.

If you are looking for a way to eliminate long HDMI cable runs within a room, and/or would like to place your HDMI-enabled source devices away from your home theater receiver or TV/video projector, definitely check out the Atlona LinkCast Wireless HD Audio/Video System as a possible solution.

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Additional Equipment Used for this Review

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO BDP-93 and Insignia NS-2BRDVD

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H

TV/Monitor: Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705

Read my previous reviews of devices that provide wireless HDMI connectivity:

Nyrius NAVS500 Hi-Def Digital Wireless A/V Sender and Remote Extender

Cables To Go - TruLink 1-Port 60 GHz WirelessHD Kit

GefenTV - Wireless for HDMI 60GHz Extender