Projector Server Lets You Stream PC And Video

Written by Dave Jansen     11/08/2009 | 06:51 | Category name i.e.WIRELESS & NETWORKING

In order to make boardroom presentations easier, you may want to invest in a projector server like the Edimax WP-S110 allowing multiple people to stream their desktop or videos without having to set up individual PCs. However, while this is clearly a device aimed at the office, it also has applications in the home as well. It may be called a "projector" server but it can be connected to any display device meaning you can set it up with the TV in your lounge room and watch videos from any PC in the home.


We tested the WP-S110 with multiple PCs running a variety of operating systems.  The  manual claims that it is compatible with Windows XP and Vista so we tried it with both.. Unfortunately our main testing PC runs Vista 64bit and while it connected to the projector, it refused to work properly.  If you are running 64bit, the video playback will work perfectly but you won't be able to see the PC desktop. Running XP and Vista 32bit, it worked perfectly.

Setting up the server is extremely easy.  All you need to do is connect it to your network, either by LAN cable or wirelessly and log in.  It supports B, G and N Wireless protocols. When you first turn it on, the welcome screen gives you very specific instructions on how to connect.  Once it is connected to your network, all you need do is log in via a web browser by entering the WLAN address of the unit.  Once you log in, you are asked to download a 1.5MB file which allows the server to do its magic.  Once logged in, your desktop is displayed on the TV or projector screen.  This is all you need to do to run things like PowerPoint presentation or whatever you like.  However, if you want to watch videos, you need to switch it over to video mode for optimal performance. When multiple users are connected to the server, you can switch between each PC using the remote control. 

In video mode, your movies are shown on screen once you press play on the PC.  We tested it with standard resolution files as well as some HD movies and had no problems at all.  It supported DivX but didn't allow flash videos in .flv format. WMV and AVI also displayed correctly. While it can be used in the home to watch movies, there are other devices on the market that do that just as well, if not better.  However, like media players such as the WDTV and TiVX, you can also plug a USB memory stick directly into the server and play media files directly. 

The WP-S110 can be connected to a display device either by VGA or HDMI.  If you connect via VGA there is also a 3.5mm jack for PC audio as well.  HDMI streams audio automatically.  The only issue we really had when connecting the device was that it requires you to set your desktop to the same resolution as your screen.  When it comes to HDMI connections, if you are displaying to a 1080p device and your PC can't display at 1080p, then the image will not display correctly.  With VGA, you can go into the admin of the server and specify a resolution so that the server and PC match but with HDMI this option is not possible. 



We would have liked to have the option to connect a mouse and navigate or play video from the server instead of having to use the PC. This would make the server PC free and it would be an excellent way to do presentations or use in the home.  Since you have to have the PC with you while using the device, this makes it ideal for laptop use but unless you have multiple users in a meeting, there is little reason to not simply connect the notebook directly to the screen/projector.

Allowing users to navigate their PCs from the server would mean that in the office, all they would need to do before a meeting is log in to the server.  It would also mean desktop PCs in the office could be used for presentations too.  It would also make it more versatile in the home as well as you could use it to surf the PC, use the web or watch media from the lounge without having to bring your PC with you. 

Despite this, it works as intended as does the job well.  For multi-user presentations, this is a great tool but if you are only using one PC, it will be quicker and cheaper to connect it directly to the screen.

 

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Easy to Set Up, Works brilliantly, HDMI or VGA connection, Wireless N compatible

Cons:

HDMI is tempermental, Cannot navigate directly from the server