Review: Belkin ScreenCast AV4
The Belkin ScreenCast AV 4 is a device that will allow you to connect your HDMI components (max of four) to your HD TV wirelessly. It is impressively small compared to some of its predecessors, i.e. Sony’s and Pioneer’s first solutions to wireless AV. The box contains one receiver and one transmitting unit with the corresponding power supplies. A remote control is also included with a RF-splitter, which connects to the AV components, and a bonus HDMI cable.
Instructions are included for those who want to mount the device, and set up of the ScreenCast AV 4 is straightforward once all your HDMI devices are connected. The receiver will automatically start looking for the transmitter once it is switched on and includes buttons if this times out. There is also the option to rename devices with some preset names provided, which allows easy tracking of all the devices connected.
The ScreenCast claims it can transmit 1080p and Surround Sound 5.1 – this was tested using a Sony PS3 and provided some impressive results including some fast paced frames per second and realistic surround audio. There was no fault in the quality as the PS3 worked as if it had not been separated from the TV. It was able to transmit the games crystal clear through the airwaves, so gamers will not need to worry about lag.
It claims to work within 30 metres line of sight and 10 metres through barriers, which we tested just to make sure. The verdict? It was able to transmit with the PS3 in another room about five metres away through a wall with someone standing in the way, however, moving it another metre further resulted in a few connection issues. Switching between devices can be done with the remote control included and it takes up to 10 seconds to swap between devices on the same transmitter. The receiver can be paired with up to eight other transmitters, which will probably increase the time it takes to change sources. Placement of the receiver is crucial, as it is responsible for the IR signals to the transmitter.
As an HDMI-CEC compatible device, it means that your HDMI-CEC enabled devices can control each other i.e. the television can control the home theatre. However the functions are limited when powering off – turn off your TV using the TV remote and the home theatre will also go into standby mode and vice versa. This is a bit of a setback as you will need to use all the remotes of all your devices instead of just cutting down to one, which is the point of the HDMI-CEC feature.
- Little set up required.
- Small footprint.
- Sends all remote signals.
- Can work through simple barriers including a wall.
- Remote extender.
- Can change the source on the back of the transmitter.
- It claims to support more transmitters to the family, but not more receivers.
- Receiver unit needs to be positioned correctly in order to work with the remote.
- Home theatre has to be connected to the TV if you want sound from all your devices.
- HDMI-CEC is limited to standby mode only.
The ScreenCast AV 4 is a great solution for those who like to hide all their components in a cupboard or shelf. It is also a great solution for someone who wants their components at hand so they don't have to move around the lounge e.g. changing the disc. For a typical lounge set up, it is unlikely to have any major connection issues.
The uncompromising transmitting quality means you can still enjoy that HD1080p to its full potential wirelessly, and of course the 5.1 Surround Sound audio. Setup is straightforward as it is almost plug-and-play style. If you have more than four HDMI devices, you can also have another seven additional transmitters (purchased separately) that can be synced. It would be great to see an option to have another receiver, so then you could have an option of which room you would like to use the devices in. And of course, like all your other components, you should keep them in a ventilated area as it does produce some heat during use.