Posted on December 15, 2020 By Philip Boyle
Presentations can be incredibly stressful whether you’re the presenter or the one being presented to. Isn’t it enough that you have to deal with creating and delivering a presentation that is engaging and clearly communicates your ideas? Maybe you’re the client watching your vendor wrangle with your conference room’s AV system. These scenarios are real and most of us have been on both sides of this conference table more times than we’d like to remember. How many times have you arrived early at meetings hoping to make sure the AV system is working, usable, and not going to kill your presentation before it starts? Don’t even think about trying to present from your tablet or smartphone.
The folks at Panasonic recently announced the TY-WPS1 wireless presentation system as a solution for making these, and so many other painful scenarios, a thing of the past. Panasonic calls Its solution PressIT. PressIt will make presented in the modern workplace as easy as plugging in a USB dongle and pressing a button. PressIT is an innovative solution that makes collaboration incredibly simple by removing the complex technical component out of the equation.
Wireless presentation solutions have been slowly growing over the past few years. Companies like Barco, Vivitek, and BENQ, which we’ve written about on Projector Reviews, have wireless presentation systems available. So what is a wireless presentation system? Think of it as an HDMI cable that easily connects to your projector or display, only there’s no cable. The focus of wireless presentation systems has been to eliminate the problems of dealing with conference room technology. A table full of cable. Getting the projector to see your PC or mobile device. Video without sound. These are just a few of the problems that plague presenters on a regular basis. Panasonic’s PressIT is the newest entry into this growing product category.
The TY-WPS1 comes with everything you need to have a problem-free meeting. At least as it relates to technological problems. The basic kit comes with a receiver (TY-WPR10), 2 button transmitters, a 5V DC power adaptor, various mounting brackets, and assorted cables. The back of the TY-WPR10 receiver features an HDMI out, RJ45 Lan port, a USB Type-A connector, a power button, and a 5V DC input for power. Whether you want to set it on the table, add it to an AV rack, or mount it on the back of a display or on top of a projector Panasonic gives you what you need to make it happen.
Panasonic has a long history of creating solutions designed to improve the meeting and collaborative spaces. Panasonic was on the cutting edge of integrating MHL into their projectors over a decade ago in order to make them able to cast content from smartphones to their projectors.
Connect the transmitter to power and HDMI to the display.
Plugin the button transmitter.
Connect to USB for power and HDMI to send content to the receiver.
Press the middle of the LED light. The light will turn green from white and you are ready to start presenting.
Panasonics PressIT wireless presentation system takes away the worry about the tech and lets you focus on the presentation.
Setting the PressIT up was really straight forward. All I had to do was plug it in, connect the receiver to my display via HDMI and turn it on. The two included button transmitters come paired, from the factory to the receiver. All I had to do was connect the transmitter to my laptop’s USB and HDMI out and I was ready to go. The WPS1 receiver supports HDMI CEC so within a few seconds of powering it up my display turned on and set itself to the correct HDMI input.
Panasonic has done a good job-making setup on the PressIT intuitive but if you run into any issues there is a detailed product manual in the box. In addition, the device initially displays a quick setup guide on your display to get you going. Nice.
I decided to see how easy it was to run a presentation from my PC. Once I plugged in the USB Type-A connector and the HDMI connection to my PC the transmitter started blinking red then quickly turned white indicating that pairing was successful. I pressed once in the middle of the now white LED indicator, the LED turned green and my PC screen appeared on my display. An important note it took less than three seconds from the point I plugged in the button to a picture appearing on the screen. This speed is significantly faster than has been written about other similar devices.
The Panasonic PressIT system offers two different types of Button Transmitters. The TY-WP2B1 is the model that comes with the basic system I am reviewing. These transmitters are designed with a PC in mind. They power off of a USB Type-A port and send video wirelessly from the HDMI connection on the PC. Should your PC’s HDMI out and USB ports be on opposite sides of your computer Panasonic includes a USB extension cable in the basic kit.
Panasonic also makes a USB-C Button Transmitter, TY-WP2BC1 that will be shipping in 2021. This button is designed for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are designed to both supply power and signal from the USB-C connection.
Both USB transmitters have their own full-size USB port built-in. This port can be used to connect for power or can accept a standard USB drive that holds a copy of the base station’s pairing information. This could come in handy should someone bring their own unregistered PressIT button transmitter. This is useful should you want to place the transmitter in another location where it might not be accessible, like an AV closet or mounted on top of a projector.
The Panasonic PressIT takes the difficult tech out of the presenting but there are times that some users will want a higher level of control over the device. For users like IT managers, the PressIT provides access to its advanced controls almost identically to today’s wireless routers. There are many reasons that you might want to access PressIT’s more advanced controls.
Since the PressIT creates a local area network your IT group may want to hide the device’s SSID from people within the base stations 90ft range. Like any router, the PressIT will allow you to control advanced functions like SSID, Passwords, Broadcast Channel, and more. The advanced controls allow you to set the maximum number of button transmitters that can be used at one time (8, 16, 24, and 32). You can also review PressIT history information and, like a router, even completely reset the device back to factory settings. If needed you can have total control of your PressIT.
The base station creates a 5GHz local area network so there’s plenty of bandwidth. The image from my PC looked as good as if I had plugged my laptop directly into the display via an HDMI cable. I tested a variety of website content starting with Projector Reviews. From there I moved onto movie services like Netflix and HULU. There was a little latency, about a second, between the video on my PC and the video on the display. Everything sent to the projector ran very well with no audio sync issues or stutters. The picture looked excellent, displaying at the full resolution of my laptop (1920 x 1080). The PressIT picture looked the same as if I had a physical cable plugged directly into the display The button transmitters can send up to 1080 60p to the receiver and the receiver can display a 4K image, on a 4K display, made up of 4 of the 1080p transmitted images onscreen. In order to simulate multiple users sharing one transmitter button, I unplugged and replugged the button several times to simulate the passing of the transmitter between multiple presenters. This also performed flawlessly. The picture consistently appeared within a second and at no time did my computer have any issues such as glitches or frozen screens.
My test rig is connected to a stereo soundbar so I was interested in finding if there was any difference in audio quality between a direct connection and the PressIT connection. For this test, I used uncompressed audio files. My soundbar has an HDMI audio in so this was the input for a direct connection from my PC and then through the PressIT. The PressIT transmitter encodes all audio signals as compressed H.264/AAC for Wireless transmission to the receiver so no surround but very good sounding stereo. I actually couldn’t hear a difference in sound quality between a direct cable connection and the PressIT wireless connection. Audio quality was very good with the PressIT once again sounding just as good as the direct connection.
In addition to the CEC selecting the right video input on my display, I was pleasantly surprised that my windows PC auto-selected audio over HDMI. I’ve attended many meetings where I had to manually select my computer’s audio out setting after connecting to the meeting room AV. Your experience may be different than mine depending on your PC or Mac’s sound settings.
As I stated at the top of this review Panasonic is not the only company offering this type of solution. Pricing among the four companies that make this type of solution similar price for a base station and two transmitters. At first glance, you might think that they are all the same but I encourage you to look closer because there are differences.
The Panasonic PressIT supports up to 32 simultaneously connected button transmitters. The price premium brand in this space only supports 8 connections max.
Panasonic supports up to four users on the display at one time, each at full HD resolution and together outputting 4K resolution (this requires a 4K display to fully realize this pixel density). Which four users appear on screen can dynamically be changed from any of the up to 32 button operators.
USB Pairing allows you to easily add new buttons for presentations.
Presentor lockout mode allows users of the Panasonic PressIT system to stop any other buttons that are accidentally activated from interrupting your presentation.
Compatible smartphones and tablets using iOS or Android can be used as presentation devices. Some of the other solutions available in this space do not support mobile devices with button transmitters. PressIT offers dedicated USB-C button transmitters for compatible mobile devices.
Panasonic PressIT supports the Intel Smart Display Module program that will allow PressIT button transmitters to connect directly to a Panasonic SDM compliant display or projector. PressIT transmitters can directly connect to other manufacturers that are part of the Intel SDM partnership that have Panasonic’s SDM card installed. Panasonic will be shipping their Intel SDM compliant receiver card in 2021.
I would recommend this product for your conference room, collaboration, and meeting spaces.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Panasonic PressIT is an incredibly useful tool that can allow you to spend less time troubleshooting why the projector can’t see your PC and more time focusing on your presentation. But how does it stack up to the competitors? I found PressIt incredibly easy to use. The quality of the wirelessly transmitted content, both video and audio were impressive. Setup was fast and operating it was very intuitive. Panasonic has created a solution that not only competes but does more. Features like an increased number of simultaneous users, presenter lockout, and the benefits of being part of Intel’s SMD compatible network of products makes it very easy for me to recommend it to you.
I would recommend this product for your conference room, huddle space or class room.
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