Warpia StreamHD SWP120A Review

1. Introduction

Warpia launched its newest PC to TV 1080p 5.1 surround sound streaming solution just a couple of weeks ago and demoed it for the first time at CES 2011 show. I was looking for a while to find a solution to stream the video output of my laptop to the big screen TV, something that would work well movies but for basic Web browsing as well. As soon as Warpia StreamHD SWP120A went on sale at Amazon for $159, I jumped to buy it and, receiving it two days later I put it to the test. The results are described in the current review.

2. Unpacking

Warpia StreamHD SWP120A comes packed in an attractive box with the internal components arranged in two layers. The upper layer contains the software CD and the actual transmitter / receiver devices. The bottom layer contains the power adapter, the HDMI cable and the optical audio cable in case you need a separate audio connection (when your receiver for example doesn’t have HDMI inputs but your TV does)

3. Technical Specs

Based on the official technical specs, SWp120A should support full 1080p video. If you check Warpia’s website you see that they declare 1080p support in one place and Up to SXGA+ (1400×1050) resolution in a different place so their description is rather confusing (they might have corrected the description meantime). I decided to go with Amazon’s description at this point.

  • Wireless Protocol: USB UWB radio wireless (USB-IF certified)
  • Outputs (video base): HDMI, optical SPDIF, 3.5mm auxiliary
  • Wireless Range: 30 feet, line-of-sight
  • Wireless Streaming: up to 1080p video (1920 x 1280), up to 5.1-channel audio
  • Color Depth: 32-bit
  • Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7

4. Setup and testing platform

Important: Install the drivers before plugging in the video transmitter.

My test machine is a Blu-ray equipped notebook  with Core 2 Duo CPU p8600 at 2.4GHz running Windows 7 Professional. The platform matches Warpia’s speed requirements which are as follows:

  • Windows-based PC with an available USB 2.0 Port
  • Operating System: Windows XP, Vista (32 or 64 bit), or Windows 7.0
  • CPU & Memory Requirements:
    • Running Windows XP:
      • For full screen video streaming up to 1080p: Intel Core2 DUO 1.8Ghz CPU with 1GB of Memory
      • For Internet browsing, pictures, office use, etc: Intel ATOM 1.6Ghz CPU with 512MB of Memory
    • Running Windows Vista or 7:
      • For full screen video streaming up to 1080p: Intel Core2 Duo 2.4Ghz with 2GB of Memory
      • For Internet browsing, pictures, office use, etc: Intel Core Solo 1.6Ghz with 1GB of Memory

Installing the drivers was simple enough although a rather long process. I have to admit I have never seen a product requiring so many new drivers to be installed although I certainly understand why they are needed. Check the following screenshots for the full list and form my test hardware / software configuration.

After the driver installation finished, I plugged in the transmitter and in a matter of seconds I had video on the big TV. My laptop was already set-up for 1080p since this is its native resolution.

5. Web browsing quality

You won’t be able to see form the pictures but for Web Browsing the picture quality is excellent, very clean and crisp including while watching photos. The lag is below 0.2 seconds and by no means relevant. If your intended usage is office / browsing the Warpia TrueHD lives up to its name.

6. Video quality

I performed several tests streaming video from  various sources as Netflix, YouTube, local content in several resolutions, etc and aggregated the results in the following table.

Video type Results and comments
640×480 YouTube Good quality TV output, image and sound in sync, reasonable lag
720p YouTube Good quality TV output, image and sound in sync, reasonable lag
1080p YouTube, stereo sound Soft image, stuttering, fewer color shades, image and sound in sync, slightly higher lag but under 0.5 seconds
Netflix HD Soft image, stuttering, fewer color shades, image and sound in sync, slightly higher lag but under 0.5 seconds
Local Blu-ray rip, 5.1 surround sound Soft image, stuttering, fewer color shades, image and sound in sync, slightly higher lag but under 0.5 seconds

As you can see from the table, I had big problems with 1080p image streaming while anything at 720p and lower produced a good experience. If you need to have 1080p video, I would say the  Warpia StreamHD SWP120A doesn’t provide. If you are happy with everything under, you will enjoy the adapter.

7. Conclusions

Warpia StreamHD SWP120A is a capable adapter providing a very good experience under all but the most demanding conditions. Easy to install and use, the output is available on TV as soon as your computer boots up. Because it only requires an USB connection it is compatible with a large variety of laptops as long as they match the minimum hardware specifications. The image is high quality with accurate color reproductions. However, if you bring it to the max and try to stream 1080p video, in my test it did not deliver the best of experiences.

I also need to add that the receiver runs rather hot and I wonder about long term reliability.

8. Photo Gallery

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