AVLABS AVMagic

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AVLABS AVMagic

Pros

  • Easy to set up, three RF channels, easy to use

Cons

  • Image quality loss, audio only 2 channel stereo, no AV-out

Bottom Line

When it's plugged in, it just works. It's good for someone wanting to watch an AV source, like cable TV in another room on another TV.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 2 stores)

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The AV Magic uses a technology developed for computers--802.11g wireless--to link one AV unit with another. It's a wireless replacement for AV cables.

It's easy to set up, using power and RCA plugs, although it can also accept SCART and RF connections. The receiver unit is connected to a television or stereo for playback; the transmitter is connected to an AV source (a DVD player, set top box or a computer with a TV output, for example). The transmitter also has a remote extender--just stick it near the remote port for your AV source and you can use the remote with the AV Magic receiver. A switch on the back of the units allows changing between three wireless channels; pick the one that gives the best reception.

Many people will employ the AV Magic so that a second television in another room can use an AV source, such as a VCR, DVD player or set top box. Picture quality is better than typical reception of free-to-air channels, but not quite as good as the original, and the audio signal is plain old two-channel stereo, so it's not really aimed at the big screen or surround sound setup.

The AV Magic's best feature is its simplicity. There's no software configuration to perform, no wireless networks to create, no choices to be made about audio or video formats or storage. When it's plugged in it just works. Manufacturer AV Labs says you can also add other receivers to the mix.

That simplicity has a few trade-offs. The transmitter has AV-in ports but no AV-out, so the AV source needs spare video and audio-out ports. Because there's no configuration of the wireless signal--including security--if your neighbours have an AV Magic setup, you'll need to cooperate to avoid watching their Gilligan's Island reruns (and changing channels at the most inopportune times).

The price is right, however, and it's a cost-effective alternative to buying another DVD player or set-top box.

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