I'm a huge fan of wireless HDMI, which is why I was excited to first see the Peerless HD-Flow HDS100 HDMI system at CES in January. For many, such devices can save a bundle in terms of wiring or, rewiring your room. We have, in the the past looked at a competitor to the HDS100. That was the Gefen system we reviewed a couple of years ago, and which I used, personally, in my last house. The HD Flow has multiple names - just to keep us confused. It is the HD Flow, but it is also the HDS100 (model number), and it even has a name: itrio (all lower case). The thing is, although the itrio name is integrated into the cases of the transmitter and receiver, Peerless pretty much sticks to referring to these devices as HD Flow or HDS100. Just more of a challenge for those searching google for info.
HD-Flow HDS100 Wireless HDMI Device Highlights
- HD Flow is a lossless system. As with HDMI cabling, it should neither add, nor take away anything from the picture quality
- While it is primarily a device for wireless HDMI, it does accept other signal types, including composite video, and analog PC, as well as stereo audio (and full surround, of course, over HDMI) and transmits them to the receiver
- 2 HDMI inputs
- 2 available wifi frequencies
- Can output HDMI, component video, analog PC or composite, plus audio
- LAN interfacing - yep, they work wired, as well as wirelessly
- Additional receivers can be added up to a total of four
- Range: excellent – passes though several walls – read our experiences below
- Remote pass-through – Control content when sources are in a different room
- Remote control for switching sources…
- Compatibility: Lacks HDMI 1.4a, so is not directly compatible with Blu-ray 3D, nor does it support frame rates above 60fps. Not for 3D apparently
- The sub-$400 price point makes it a very tantalizing, and likely cost saving device both for single and multi-room layouts, by saving on opening and refinishing walls to run cables.
Viewsonic provided product shots showing the transmitter (left) and receiver (right) on the included plastic stand that let's them sit upright. Note, the stands are iffy. I used the devices horizontally. The weight of cables easily unbalances the units when standing up. True, they look cuter in vertical position, but horizontal is far more practical.
Peerless HD Flow itrio HDS-100 Wireless HDMI - Overview
No more cutting open all those walls to rewire, or wire. There are just sometimes when the cost of opening up walls, running wires, and sealing them up, repainting, etc. just gets ridiculously expensive, or too time consuming, or just too much hassle. In such cases a wireless HDMI solution can be your ticket to simplicity and savings.
The HD Flow HDS 100 starts out as a single transmitter and receiver combo, but you can add on up to 3 additional receivers for a multi-room system.
While moving signal from room to room isn't new - set-top boxes are allowing many these days to record and store TV content on one set-top box and feed it to other TVs hooked up to their boxes - that solution works only for their "TV" content. What if you want to play a Blu-ray disc in a player in one room, so that you can watch on a TV without a player, in another location? The only current solution for non-satellite, non-cable content seems to be extremely expensive video server systems, such as Kaleidescape's servers which are way into the many thousands of dollars.
The idea behind the HD Flow is to deliver your content - up to 1080p, over HDMI, wirelessly over distances that can cover most or all of a home.
As it turns out, the HD Flow hds100 really does accomplish that.
There is one issue that usually comes up, so I'll address it now. Consider:
You want to push a movie off of your Blu-ray player, into a different room to watch. The immediate issue people ask, or without asking, diss this this type of product, is inability to control the source. People incorrectly assume they can't. What if you want to pause the movie? Your infra-red remote for your Blu-ray player needs to be in the same room as the player, not in the room where you are watching.
One clever feature of the HD Flow is that you can point your remote of your cable box, satellite box, or Blu-ray (dvd) player, at the receiver in the room you are watching, and the transmitter receives the commands and can feed them to your Blu-ray player, DirecTV box, etc. We know, we tried it. It works. One of our Eureka moments with the HD Flow! The HD Flow's transmitter has an IR output jack. Think! You know those little IR transmitters that people have been using when their gear is hidden in a cabinet, etc.? They've been around for at least a decade for when there's no line of site that IR remotes require. Plug that into the transmitter, and it has three IR "fobs" for lack of a better term. One for my Panasonic Blu-ray player, one for the DirecTV box, and one for whatever other toy I want to try out. (My PS3 uses Bluetooth RF and can pass through walls, though the range isn't near as great as the HD Flow's. Also there are work arounds - IR control options for the PS3.