Today we’re taking a look at Airtame, a wireless HDMI tool created by a team of Danish developers who began development as a crowd-funded IndieGoGo campaign. The fact that they’ve actually brought a product to market is a rarity amongst these kind of crowd-funded projects that usually go under or suffer from interminable delays.
Airtame had its delays, too, but it now has its device (which retails for $299 but can be had for $200 as of writing) in the hands of its beta testers who are mostly people who funded the project originally or people that preordered like me. So, the first caveat is that: it’s a beta right now, so not everything works perfectly. That having been said, let’s take a closer look:
What it Does
The Airtame device is a small dongle with a male-HDMI end and a female micro-USB port for charging. You plug the device into a display and power the device with the supplied USB cable, either into a USB port directly or into the wall with the provided converter.
Once it’s up, you connect to the device using your computer, tablet, or phone’s WiFi. The network name and password is displayed on the screen to help you out. Once you are connected, you use the Airtame software (available on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows) installed on your device to mirror your screen onto the display. That’s it.
The greatest thing about Airtame is that it can broadcast its own signal to your device directly. That means that there are no frustrations with getting access to an existing wireless network or creating your own. The second best thing, however, is that Airtame comes with a second wireless antenna so that it can connect to an existing network. That means you can have Internet access while presenting, yay!
The software also allows you to adjust the Airtame’s network settings so that it can be optimized for live demonstrations (low latency) or for video playback (low packet loss). You can even customize the settings yourself to achieve the balance you want.
Also, since it is HDMI, the device passes audio to the display as well.
In its current form, the lag between your computer and the display is quite high. Even when connecting straight to the Airtame and using the settings optimized for live presentation, there is about a 1 to 2 second delay in the video signal. This means that if doing a live presentation, the presenter has to look on the computer screen rather than the display, which can be a little obnoxious.
I’ve also experienced some issues getting proper resolution when connecting to projectors. This is a fundamental issue if you intend to use this in different rooms with different projectors or TVs. You just don’t know if Airtame will play nice with the display until you get there.
Lastly, there’s been a bug in the software where you cannot connect to a WiFi network with certain types of security settings. This, too, is a big deal if you intend to travel with your device.
Right now its hard to recommend this product for anyone else but early adopters. It works, but it still has some big bugs to work out.
Still, assuming Airtame works the kinks out, this could be a great product. AppleTV can do what Airtame does, but it’s six times as big and only works natively with Apple devices. Chromecast also performs similar functions, but doesn’t allow screen mirroring in all applications and is not device agnostic.
So, right now my Nyrius Aeries Pro continues to be my go-to device for presenting wirelessly. That might change, however, as Airtame matures and fixes some of its current bugs. We’ll see.