Have you ever tried using a wireless projector? You should. It’s almost as convenient as a cellphone. Many pockets or pico projectors also double as wireless projectors, by the way. With that said, there are also wireless versions of the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), DLP (Digital Light Processing), or LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) projector.
Wireless projector technology has improved to the point where it’s possible for you to project presentations or watch movies on the go in case you wish a large audience to see such things with you, versus you watching something on a laptop on your own personal time.
What Are Wireless Projectors?
A wireless projector is able to connect wirelessly or remotely to computers, tablets, DVD or BD players, cable or satellite boxes, or other sources of media with the help of a receiver in order to project whatever movie, clip, TV show, channel, or user interface on the projection screen or wall. It does all this without one wire plugged in. It uses radio frequencies and the like in order to projection presentations, documents, videos, video games, and so forth from as far as a hundred feet away. To wit:
- How Wireless Projectors Receive Information: How these wireless projectors go about receiving info varies from model to model and brand to brand. There are a variety of technologies at play here. This includes the following:
- USB Dongle and Wireless Card: USB dongle that serves as a wireless transmitter of signals that is received by the wireless projector, which in turn could be making use of a built-in wireless card.
- Smartphone or Tablet Remote App: There are also projectors that use a smartphone or tablet app to control it or connect it to other devices while the app serves as a mediator of sorts.
- Wi-Fi Network: Some projectors connect to streams or other devices through a Wi-Fi connection or by setting up wireless LAN. They can also display documents and presentations through a Wi-Fi connection to your smartphone or cloud computing.
- Wireless Projector Conversion or Upgrades: You don’t need to throw away old projectors with HDMI, DVI, or VGA cables that are incompatible with your rig or display devices. Even without adapters, you can still use them. You can convert them into wireless projectors if you want. There are things like wireless converters that give you a cable-free HDMI solution. They connect to any HDMI device and enable you to move your projector around all over the house.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Going Wireless
When shopping for wireless projectors, you should be able to know what you’re looking for as you browse through the complete selection of them. Every type of wireless projector has its own respective pros and cons.
- Built-In Wireless Capabilities: If you’re thinking about upgrading to a wireless projector then you should be aware that the priciest ones are the ones that are made to be wireless in the first place. They kind of work like cellphones in that you have to plug them in. They may or may not have batteries so that you can bring them with you in your bag or briefcase like a laptop. The priciest ones are usually this type but they’re at least assuredly wireless from the get go.
- Pros: You don’t have to convert your projector into a wireless one. You’re assured that the device is wireless and you won’t risk wasting your money on a converter that doesn’t work. Rather than upgrade go wireless from the get-go.
- Cons: Projectors with built-in wireless capabilities tend to be quite expensive. Maybe it’s cheaper buying a modern projector with Wi-Fi connection capabilities since every house has Wi-FI nowadays.
- Projectors with Wireless App Capabilities: You can use an app to connect your Wi-Fi to your cable box, smartphone, PC, or DVD/BD player. Projectors tend to have wireless functionality limited to viewing documents or simple images, so don’t expect to be able to stream Hulu or Netflix on the projection screen via your phone unless the projector is specifically designed to be wireless. Turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control for your projector for good measure.
- Pros: It’s also more affordable to get a free app or buy an app that handles Wi-Fi-based connections between your media player and your projector. As long as you have Wi-Fi Internet you’re good to go, especially if it’s a projector from manufacturers like Apple.
- Cons: You might have issues relating to compatibility and signal strength. Wi-Fi is infamously choppy, especially when you’re dealing with a signal in a dead spoti n your home or something.
- Wireless Upgrades for Non-Wireless Projectors: You can make your old HDMI, DVI, VGA, or DP projector into a wireless one as long as you’re able to buy a transmitter and receiver for them that works. Just plug the transmitter on the media player, plug the receiver on the projector, and then if they’re compatible you’re good to go. You can wirelessly connect the two with dependable clarity, even though wired connections tend to offer better connections as a rule of thumb.
- Pros: It’s much less cheap to go for the wireless upgrade and many a vintage or non-wireless device could be converted given that you have the right hardware for the job. Just put in the transmitter on the device and the receiver on the projector.
- Cons: There are connection quality issues you might be worried about. Furthermore, it’s not an assurance or a given that your standard projector is even compatible with the converter upgrade. You have to check.
Why Go Wireless?
Upgrading your older cabled solution to a wireless one can be quite complicated or unnecessary. Do your research on your type of projector. Maybe it’s the kind that easily connects to the Internet so you can just as easily link it with your smartphone or laptop to mirror their screens and play their video or audio. Otherwise, you might need to link devices to your projector with a transmitter and receiver combo package.
- No More Cables! It cannot be emphasized enough how beneficial it is to go wireless and not have to work with HDMI or coaxial cables. Your computer, DVD player, game console, or cable box should be able to connect to your projector and share their screen info to it as long as it’s Wi-Fi ready or as long as you have bought a good wireless hardware upgrade for your standard projector appliance.
- Amazing Convenience: Wireless anything is convenient. You can place the projector any way you wish as long as it’s within reason and its fans and filters have enough space to run. You won’t have to deal with spaghetti wires or octopus connection so cable management is now limited to, at most, the wire you use to plug the projector in the socket. It’s amazingly convenient and turns your device into something mobile and transportable. You won’t have to fumble through spaghetti wires any longer.
- Shorter Transitions Between Presenters: You won’t have to plug and unplug projectors to computers one after the other every time multiple presentations are taking place. Presenters can connect to multiple computers in a snap without having to restart or get drivers for anything. Everything is easier and faster. A projector with a built-in wireless card can connect to projectors of the same brand or require an app to connect to other brands of (compatible) projectors. You need hardware to connect a non-wireless projector to a computer though.
- Superior Compatibility and BYOD-Friendliness: Most 21st Century computers or phones can connect to the Internet. Therefore, it makes sense to get a BYOD-friendly app to allow you to wirelessly connect devices to your projector or vice-versa. The ones that don’t have the Wi-Fi chip or wireless connection can instead be converted into a wireless device with the help of a transmitter and receiver type of wireless upgrade combo. Bythe way, BYOD means “Bring Your Own Device”.
Types of Wireless Projectors
There are two types of projectors that could benefit from going wireless. There’s the home theater one and the business presentation one. You can technically put in an educational projector in there, but usually, they’re just projectors you can take to your classroom and range from video to business projectors anyway. At least with the two ones they’re classified by aspect ratio and screen size.
- Home Theater Projectors: Home theater projectors or home projectors are the ones designed to work in home theaters or home cinemas in your den or living room. They’re characterized by their lower contrast ratio, brightness, and resolutions ranging from 720p to 1080p HD as well as 4K UltraHD. They thrive in the darkness or with the blinds closed. They also work better with videos than presentations since they’re designed for the 16:9 aspect ratio.
Some home theater projectors even have 3D functionality, as in the case of the Epson PowerLite 3020e. Wireless projection technology is beneficial to home projectors even though cables are almost unavoidable in a home entertainment center because it allows you more mobility to watch your movie. It’s easier to solve keystoning and non-centered screens without using keystone correction or lens shift as well when you can move your projector any place you want.
The key aspect of a home theater projector is its ability to handle video smoothly with little ambient lighting around. Therefore, maybe going the wireless router isn’t necessary with this type of projector since you’ll be limited to watching your movie on the big projector screen or your home theater. You’ll have to close the curtains or blinds of your house in order to watch your movie elsewhere. Also, if you want mobile personal viewing, a laptop is better. A group of people prefers watching in a home theater regardless of cable presence.
- Business Projectors: A business projector is distinct from the home theater projector because of its slightly different aspect ratio of 16:10 instead of 16:9. The resolution is also slightly different but close to what a 1080p or 4K home theater projector is capable of projecting because it’s usually hooked up to PC workstations and notebook PCs, otherwise known as desktops and laptops. In other words, they’re for office-use with the computer user interface.
They’re best used for multimedia content. Aside from movies played by the media player app of the computer, it’s also capable of projecting graphs, pie charts, and other bits of information presented in slideshow form. Those extra pixels are for the extra mount of screen real estate needed for all those PowerPoint Presentations or Infographics that a given office employee is supposed to present.
The screen resolution is especially high depending on the type of business projector you’re using such as XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) and SXGA (1280 x 1024 pixels) as well as WXGA (1280 x 800 pixels) and WUXGA (1980 x 1200 pixels). They’re roughly equivalent to the video projector’s resolution of 1080p (1920 × 1080 pixels) to 4K (from 3840 x 2160 to 4096 x 2304 pixels). These projectors should also be bright enough (in terms of lumens) to be visible under ambient light or even daylight.
Wireless Projectors FAQ
Every wireless projector is different and uses new technologies that have no existing protocols. Your best bet when shopping for such devices is to gather as much information about them. If it’s a wireless converter, you might need assistance in setting it up. If it’s a built-in wireless projector, you should read the instruction or user manual on how to use them with your HDMI flatscreen TV or HDTV.
With that in mind, here are the most frequently asked questions and queries that customers have when it comes to getting a wireless projector of their own. Read through them and see if your own questions regarding wireless tech in projectors have been answered through this FAQ.
- Are There Wireless Projectors for Home Theater Use? Yes, there are wireless projectors for home theater use such as Epson Home Cinema 3600e and the Epson HC5030 UBE. Although you might wonder what the point of going wireless is on a mostly wired home cinema rig with all sorts of matrix switchers and splitters, it’s actually quite convenient to have a wireless transmitter and receiver available so that you can have a third or fourth option for media display devices on top of monitors and HDTVs.
- Can You Add Wireless Capabilities to Your Non-Wireless Projector? As covered in the section above, it is possible to convert your non-wireless standard projector into a wireless one with hardware. The price for conversion ranges from $50 to $1,200. There are cheaper alternatives available for wireless projectors that involve tapping into existing networks. The more expensive ones involve plugging in a transmitter and receiver to link the projector to a media device like a laptop or BD player.
- Can You Tap into Existing Networks in Order to Make Your Projector Wireless? If you have an advanced, modern projector it should have the ability to link into Wi-Fi or other existing networks. It’s these devices that require you to download software to your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Your device will serve as the middleman remote control or control hub. Some Apple or IOGear devices even include two boxes that enable you to stream HD videos wirelessly between the receiver and projector outright that don’t include software outright.
- What Are Projector Apps and How Do They Work? There exist apps that enable you to gain wireless functionality out of your projector because many such projectors have operating systems that are compatible with such apps and smartphones are built for them. Search for wireless apps on Apple’s App Store or the Android Market for more details. Keep in mind that the best apps work best with modern pricey projectors with Wi-Fi connectivity in the first place.
- What Are Transmitters and Receivers? You can upgrade a projector that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi or wireless capabilities by plugging into them a receiver on one end then plugging the transmitter on the media player end. Instead of using the Wi-Fi connection as a middleman, the transmitter—usually a dongle or USB stick—is plugged into the console, cable box, computer, media player, or some other source device in order to transmit the signal to the receiver plugged into the projector. It’s easier if the projector has a wireless connection chip though.
Do You Want A Wireless Projector Now?
If you wish for a wireless projector now, you’re in luck because manufacturers such as Epson, Panasonic, NEC, Hitachi, BenQ, Christie, and so forth all have wireless projectors available. They range from vintage projectors that you can convert into wireless ones with a transmitter and receiver wireless kit, the ones that you can turn into wireless projector care of a special app, or projectors specifically developed to be wireless.
You should be enthusiastic about getting a wireless projector in light of how convenient it is. Sure, they’re mostly of the pico projector variety so that you can take them with you anywhere like a smartphone. However, there are also those that allow your BD player or game console to connect to it remotely wherever you are in the house in case you want to drag your projector around like a laptop in order to watch Game of Thrones while eating dinner or something.