Nyrius WS54 Wireless HDMI Kit Reviewed
By: Adrienne Maxwell,
HTR Product Rating
- 2 Stars
- 3 Stars
- 2.5 Stars
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If you're looking for a way to wirelessly transmit a 1080p video signal around your home, Nyrius has a variety of options. As a company, Nyrius is focused on connectivity solutions: wireless HDMI, Bluetooth, smart home control, etc. Nyrius recently introduced its lowest priced Wireless HDMI kit, the WS54 ($169.99).
The Nyrius system wirelessly transmits over the 5.8GHz frequency, using the 802.11a/b/g/n protocol. The website lists a maximum distance of 100 feet, but that's when you have line-of-sight between transmitter and receiver. Multi-room transmission distance will be less. The WS54 will transmit up to 1080p/60 video (but not UHD) and stereo PCM or Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
The WS54 kit consists of matching transmitter and receiver units that measure about 3.25 by 3.25 inches. The transmitter features one HDMI 1.4 input to accept a single source, as well as one HDMI 1.4 output that allows you to pass that video source through to a nearby display device.
The receiver unit includes one HDMI 1.4 output to connect to a display device. Both boxes have IR ports, and the package includes two IR extender cables, which when utilized allow you to control an IR source from another room using the source's remote. You can buy additional WS54 receivers for $99.99 each; the system supports up to four receivers.
Setting up the Nyrius system is very easy. I began by connecting the receiver unit to a Samsung UN65KS9800 TV in my family room. Then I went up one floor level to my living room and connected the transmitter unit to my Dish Network Joey set-top box, also passing through the HDMI signal to another older Samsung TV in the living room. The Nyrius boxes power up pretty quickly; and, by the time I walked back down to the family room, the receiver had already locked on to the Joey's signal and was playing video and audio through the TV.
Because the Joey set-top box is controlled via an RF-based remote, I didn't need to use the IR extender cables. I just took the Joey remote to the secondary location and executed commands without issue.
Over the course of my review session, I mixed and matched a variety of sources and displays. I used a Dish Network Hopper and Joey, an Amazon Fire TV, an Apple TV, and an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player--with TVs from Samsung, LG, and Panasonic and a BenQ HT6050 projector. I never experienced any problem pairing the different devices. Each time, the Nyrius receiver locked on to the transmitter's signal quickly, whether the resolution was 1080i or 1080p.
Obviously, since the WS54 transmitter only has one HDMI input, you're limited to connecting one source at a time. (You could route multiple sources through an AV receiver's HDMI output, but that would require a more advanced control system. For this review, I did basic one-to-one auditions.) Nyrius offers the more expensive ARIES Home+ package for those who want to connect two HDMI sources to be transmitted around the home.
Like the Joey set-top box, the Amazon Fire TV and the Apple TV use RF-based control, so I didn't need IR extenders to control those boxes, either. Only the Oppo Blu-ray player required IR-based control, so I set up the IR extender cables as shown in the WS54's owner manual and was able to control the player without issue.
In the performance arena, the best word I can use to describe the WS54 is inconsistent. The level of detail in the wirelessly transmitted signal is very good. I viewed content on 65-inch or larger screens throughout my tests, and all the sources looked clean and crisp, with no color smearing. I didn't experience any complete signal dropouts, where I lost the picture entirely, and the audio signal was stable.
The consistency problem comes in the area of video stutter, where the picture would suddenly start to skip. Even when I used the WS54 as an in-room setup to send the signal between the source and a projector about 13 feet away, I saw skipping at times. As I moved the receiver farther across the house from room to room, the skipping grew more common and distracting. What usually happened is that the system would go a long stretch of time being perfectly smooth and stutter-free, then it would suddenly encounter some type of interference and stutter quite a bit for a few minutes. Sometimes it would fix itself; sometimes, I would have to go restart the transmitter.
Another area of inconsistency was in 3D Blu-ray playback. Sometimes the WS54 system would successfully send a 3D Blu-ray signal, and sometimes it wouldn't. Even using the same Blu-ray player/TV combo, I would get 3D pass-through with one disc and not another.
Also, when I used the WS54 as an in-room solution between projector and source, lag was a concern. Nyrius says the latency is about 150ms on average, up to 500ms. In my case, the video signal was clearly behind the audio signal. When I replaced the WS54 with a long HDMI cable or used the DVDO Air3C wireless kit (which is designed specifically for in-room use), the video and audio synced fine.
• The WS54 is very easy to set up, and I experienced no pairing problems between various sources and displays.
• The system works through walls and boundaries.
• The transmitter unit includes an HDMI output to pass through the signal to a local display, and you can connect up to four receiver units.
• IR extender cables let you control your source device from another room.
• The WS54 system performance was very inconsistent. Video stutter was a concern, especially at longer distances, and I could not get the WS54 to consistently pass a 3D Blu-ray signal.
• The transmitter only has one HDMI input.
Comparison & Competition
When looking specifically at wireless HDMI solutions that can send content around the home, one competitor to the Nyrius WS54 is Actiontec's MyWirelessTV2 ($150), which has a stated distance of up to 150 feet. I reviewed the original MyWirelessTV a couple years ago and found it to deliver a reliable signal. The MyWirelessTV2 comes with a remote and has more customization options than the Nyrius, like the ability to enable a game mode to reduce latency.
Another option is the IOGear Wireless HD Digital Kit, which has a stated distance of up to 100 feet and has two HDMI inputs and a remote to switch sources. It carries a higher price tag of $249.95.
If you only need an in-room wireless solution, check out DVDO's Air3C for $189. It delivers stable, uncompressed video, works with 3D Blu-ray, and doesn't require exact line of sight.
The Nyrius WS54 wireless HDMI kit is an affordable way to wirelessly distribute an HD video source to a secondary location in your home. At the end of the day, though, the WS54 was simply too inconsistent for my needs. Now, I've got an awful lot of Wi-Fi devices in my home, and I experience a lot of Wi-Fi interference issues; so, perhaps this type of wireless HDMI kit is just not a good fit for me. And that's the issue to keep in mind with any wireless transmission system--every environment is different, so every experience is different. If you like the WS54's features and price, give it a try--just make sure you buy it from a place with a good return policy.