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Audio/Video Guide: Cutting the cord

Go wireless so that you can pack up and take your home theatre anywhere, easily
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First Published: Sat, Jun 01 2013. 12 08 AM IST
The Violet3D is ideal for a home set-up
The Violet3D is ideal for a home set-up
Updated: Sat, Jun 01 2013. 12 47 PM IST
Whether you’re looking for extra portability or easier set-up, wireless gadgets are the way to go. This is particularly true when it comes to setting up a home theatre—normally, you have to live with a room filled with criss-crossing wires, for audio and video both.
We’re starting to see a new wave of wireless devices, which are able to deliver greater portability and ease of use without requiring a big sacrifice on quality. So if you want a wireless cinema experience, check out the following gadgets:
VIDEO
BenQ GP10
While this projector is being marketed as an office projector, at one-third the price of the BenQ W1500, it offers great value for money even for home use. The BenQ GP10 is an ultra-light, full-size projector weighing just 1.5kg, and capable of making a clear 160-inch screen from a distance of 8ft.
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The GP10 uses LED technology, so it’s smaller and lighter than most projectors, and has a life of 30,000 hours before you need to change the bulb. The image is clear, with a good contrast ratio—the colours are not as deep as a full-price projector, but unless you’re watching Blue-ray discs, the quality is definitely acceptable.
What’s particularly cool is that the projector can accept a wireless dongle—it connects to any device with an HDMI out, using Wi-Fi, so you can easily set it up with your laptop, media player or even some smartphones and tablets. This means that it’s portable—and also really easy to set up. Just place it at a suitable location, and the video source could even be in another room.
That’s not all though—the GP10 is also loaded with playback options. So it comes with a detachable DVD player, and also has an SD card slot, to store movies, pictures or presentations. It can also play movies that you have stored on a USB drive, and since it comes with two built-in 3W speakers, you can use it as a stand-alone playback device when you’re on the move.
Available for Rs.59,990, the BenQ GP10 offers amazing value for money, and delivers in image quality too.
ANDROVIEW HD POR 316 Android Pico Projector
This is, at first glance, too small to be taken seriously. The tiny device can easily fit in your pocket, but with the right lighting, it’s also good enough to get an 80-inch screen from a distance of 6ft.
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The device has a built-in battery to give you 90 minutes of viewing time; if you want to use it for longer, you have to carry the charger as well.
What’s more interesting is that Portronics has loaded the projector with Android, and a Wi-Fi radio. This means that you can not just load and play content directly from the projector, but also visit websites such as YouTube to stream video easily; or install your favourite video app from the Google Play store.
With 8 GB of built-in storage and a slot for a 32 GB microSD card, the Androview is both versatile and powerful. The image quality is good, though it does depend hugely on getting a dark room to work with.
At Rs.28,999, it’s a little expensive, but the versatility and ease of use make it worth checking out.
AUDIO
Violet3D
These wireless speakers, created by Bangalore-based Snap Networks, are easy to set up, deliver clear and loud audio, and don’t cost the earth.
The speakers are a 5.1 surround-sound set, with wireless connectivity between a receiver unit (that takes the audio input from your source) and the speakers. The speakers themselves are fairly unique-looking, and despite their small size, they deliver good, clean sound. The result is a little bass-heavy, but in India that’s something most customers prefer.
But what’s really cool is that the Violet3D doesn’t need to be set up as painstakingly as a traditional surround-sound system. The receiver can adjust the levels for each speaker automatically depending on its placement—it uses a separate microphone that comes with the system, and a sound-check programme to adjust levels for perfect surround sound; better yet, it does this wirelessly.
In terms of pure audio, there are definitely better solutions available; at Rs.65,000, this system falls between the entry-level sets from Philips and Sony, and the high-end sets that are available now. The ease with which you can set it up, or move it from room to room, though, is undeniable, and makes the Violet3D a great value-for-money buy.
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile speaker II
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The SoundLink II looks like an old-fashioned radio but delivers the big sound from a small package that Bose is famous for. The design is pleasing in an understated fashion, but it’s really amazing how loud that little box can get without distorting the audio.
The battery life lasts for around 3-4 hours, which is enough to comfortably use on the go, and though it’s a little heavy, the speaker is compact. Whether you’re listening to music or watching a movie, the speaker will impress.
Also, while it’s got an audio input jack in the back for older devices, the SoundLink II can go fully wireless, streaming audio over Bluetooth. At Rs.20,138, it’s a great buy.
Logitech UE Boombox
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The Boombox is a large wireless Bluetooth speaker that delivers amazing sound. The aluminium body looks stylish and feels tough, but it’s not just about the design—the Boombox is both loud and clear, and delivers 6 hours of battery life. The design, particularly the big blue buttons on the side, is eye-catching.
Purely in terms of audio, the Boombox is a good option, coming close indeed to Bose’s offering. In terms of design, it’s equally good-looking in a completely different way, but it isn’t as easy to carry.
It’s certainly not going to replace a proper desktop speaker, but if you’re looking for something to pair with the Androview, for example, then the Boombox is a great choice, though, at Rs.21,995, it’s a little expensive when compared to the Bose SoundLink II.
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First Published: Sat, Jun 01 2013. 12 08 AM IST
More Topics: wireless | audio | video | home theatre | benq |