InFocus LiteShow III Wired, Wireless Networking Presentation Adapter Review
May 2011 -Art Feierman
Although the most obvious appeal of the LiteShow III wireless device, is for road warriors doing presentations in larger rooms where they would otherwise need to carry perhaps 20-30+ feet of cables. With LiteShow III, you can use your computer's wifi to transmit to the LiteShow III sitting by your projector or other display. This LiteShow III will hook up to your display by short VGA cable (the usual computer cable).
The LiteShow III can make a lot of sense as well in a more permanent setup, such as a classroom, where it may make sense for both its capabilities and the potential to simplify wiring. Yes, the LiteShow III can also transmit audio, although an audio driver needs to be installed.
InFocus LiteShow III Overview
The LiteShow III is a small box, with a pair of adjustable antennas. It doesn't have a whole lot of connections - afterall, besides feeding it power from a very small "power brick" (it draws very little power). The LiteShow III can receive data from your computer by wireless or wired transmission. There's an RJ-45 jack (standard wired networking) connector, but I suspect most will be using the device wirelessly with projectors. Wired likely may be viable for closer displays - such as an LCD monitor or LCDTV, which, of course, this InFocus LiteShow III.
Support for displaying up to four sources at one time (at the click of a button), makes the device appealing, and a strong play for computer labs, classroom projects requiring collaboration, and a quick way of simply going from one presenter to another in a boardroom, conference room or training room.
InFocus LiteShow III Performance
The LiteShow III works really well for basic presenting. There is a lag, that under most circumstances tends to be between a fraction of a second (say 1/4 second) and a full second. Most of the time it seems to be that shorter timeframe.
Note, however, that some display oriented functions, like screen savers kicking in, can take many seconds, and the ensuing screen saver display (from my Mac) is very slow, and jerky.
When, however watching normal video, say a YouTube video, or something lurking on your PC, the overall screen's lag time isn't bad, but the video gets very choppy, updating only every several frames, instead of smoothly.
Panic not, that's probably fine if you need to do a short 10-20 second video, but not for anything where timing and smoothness is key. The InFocus LiteShow III, however is also capable of streaming video (and audio).
In the image below, viewing the space.com site, and selecting a video to run, you can see the split screen of the video below (STS-71). Look to the bottom of the image, however, and you can see the top of the laptop display. It's very dark, but under close inspection you can see tha the images are slightly different. This is due, to in this case, the computer's display being several frames ahead of the LiteShow III/projector.
Doing the video streaming is a whole different story, and it worked great, and smoothly. Since I couldn't see the streamed video on my laptop display, no way to tell about any lag since nothing to lag against, so no issue under normal circumstances.
Shown to the right is the the main Menu for the LiteShow. It can be placed anywhere on your screen and stays on top where you can get to it. Fortunately it's small so you can put it in a corner... In a pinch you can also Hide it, but default is for it to be where you can quickly get to it.
Looking at the menu, note that at the moment the normal mode is being used. You have the blue icon with the 4 numbers. Right now, it's set for one display source to fill the whole screen, but click on, say #1, and the source ends up in the upper right quadrant, occupying only 25% of the total area...
Above, the LiteShow III directing the data from my Mac computer to only fill the upper left quadrant (1).
In the image above, the LiteShow III was set back to the center Play button, so above you can see the setup filling the entire screen, not just one quadrant.
Looking back again at the menu, if you were to click on the lower left tab, that would take you to a slightly different menu, for the video streaming. At the top right you can click on the menu for basically your setup choices, relating to things like passwords
There's also some additional support for Powerpoint presentations that will you allow to run Powerpoint computer free. This is handled by using their provided PtG converter software, also on the USB installation thumbdrive.
Also of interest, while you will likely install the various software for the LiteShow III, you can actually run the LiteShow III right from the token. That means you can pass that token (the USB thumbdrive) from one computer to another, in a hurry, and not have to install the software. Talk about convenient in the middle of a group presentation, when someone else has something to share.
InFocus LiteShow III Highlights
- Replaces using cables between your computers, (or network) and your display device (projectors or others)
- Works with individual computers or direct to network
- Supports computer free Powerpoint presentations
- Can stream video (smoothly)
- Allows your computer to run at a different resolution than the display device, or you can have (one button), the InFocus LiteShow III reset your computer's display to match
- Almost all software (including "extras" already loaded on Token (usb thumb drive)
- You can present from a computer using the USB token, without installing the software from the token (great when in a hurry getting a new "presenter" up on the screen
- Lag times exist for normal use of the LiteShow III, but when fast video is needed, you can directly stream to the LiteShow III
- LiteShow III can interface with a computer with Token in USB drive, even without having to install the software - perfect when in a hurry
Specs for the InFocus LiteShow III
Click for the full, pdf LiteShow III user manual.
- MSRP: $299
- Wireless XGA resolution supports multiple resolutions including WXGA
- With / Without password protection (admin controlled)
- Can display up to four computer sources at once
- Able to stream video (and audio): Supports these and more: MPEG1/2, DivX(3.4.5), XviD(MPEG4), H.264, WMV9, MP3, WMA
- Easy setup (USB thumb drive into PC or Mac)
- Weight: 8.1 ounces (229 grams)
- Dimensions: 5.3" x 5.5" x 1.3" (excluding attennas)
InFocus LiteShow III Projector Special Features
Display 4 Sources at a Time
OK, true, I never tried four at once, but I did install the software on two computers, and had no trouble putting up two images side by side, using half the screen (total). It seems It is quadrant based, I couldn't hook up two and have each with half the screen. Still, it works as intended, besides, two only, would not be an efficient use of the "desktop" space, but no, you can't have one occupy, say, 75% of the screen and another 15 or 25%.
Standard Network or Wireless
Your call! You can just plug your network into the back of the LiteShow 3, or approach it wirelessly from any computer with wifi. We do not run a hard wire network here, so we only worked with the LiteShow 3, talking to it wirelessly from some laptops.
If you wish to transfer audio as well as video to your display, there's an extra step or two of setup There is a software driver you need to download and add to the provided USB thumbdrive, that has the standard driver. This is the only extra hassle I encountered, and a minor one at that. You will find a stereo mini audio out jack on the back of the LiteShow III device.
LiteShow III Documentation
Whether you refer to this InFocus network adapter as the LiteShow III, or LiteShow 3, the documentation is really good. There are a whole bunch of functions we didn't get to test, but I was truly impressed that in almost all of those seemed very well documented, and easy to understand.
Auto Wifi Detect and Connection Profiles
Wifi detect - not a surprise, but like your laptop, look and it will tell you what wireless networks are available, so you can select the right one. If you are typically working with only one display (such as a projector in a board room or classroom), you can set up a profile of how you want them to work (resolution, etc.).You can save multiple connection profiles as well, if you typically work with several different, but known display devices.
Resize or Not: LiteShow III Sources
My two laptops support 1440x900 and 1280x800 as their respective native modes. Since the LiteShow III is primarily an XGA device, you can let the LiteShow tell your computer to switch to XGA so what is on your display (via LiteShow) is exactly the same as your computer screen.
Or, since that rearranges my desktop, etc. I prefer not to. No problem, you choices are: a) automatically match the computer display to the LiteShow, b) keep your computer in native resolution, or c) have the LiteShow ask you each time.
Custom Start Up Screen
Just as many projectors allow you to put in a custom start up screen (or one that shows when there's no source), so does the InFocus LiteShow 3. Great for your company logo, or a timely announcement (Welcome to the Infocomm Show) , or whatever floats your boat.