When I first saw the NETGEAR 3DHD product on the showroom floor of CES, there was the device sitting on the table and a video playing on a screen. I was confused as to the nature of the device; was it a wireless HDMI solution? The product model is 3DHD, with 3D, HD 1080p, video, etc. plastered all over the packaging, and the product name is 3DHD Wireless Home Theatre Networking Kit. As we spoke with a Netgear representative, it became clear that this was not a wireless HDMI implementation but an 802.11 networking solution. To put it in clear terms, despite the 3D buzzwords plastered all over the box, to the technical user; this product is a network bridge device.

NETGEAR isn't wrong to focus some of their 802.11 products directly at multimedia applications, as moving video wirelessly and reliably to high definition TV sets is a feature that many people are looking for. For cost, ease of use, and superior reliability, it is always recommended to simply run a cable. Sometimes however, a wireless solution is the only answer. Maybe you rent and your landlord doesn't want any holes punched in the walls, or maybe there is more complexity and cost in getting the wiring in the wall or across the house than by simply using a wireless solution.

NETGEAR's whitepaper documentation identifies bandwidth and interference as the two major challenges to getting reliable, bandwidth intensive video applications to work properly over wireless. To get the required amount of bandwidth, the 3DHD utilizes 4x4 MIMO antenna technology. MIMO systems offer significant increases in data rates, range, and reliability by exploiting the spatial dimension associated with the multiple antennas. The 4x4 MIMO configuration provides two extra transmit antennas for beamforming, which allows significant focusing of the energy in two directions. This is done to improve reliability as well as to reduce interference with existing wireless systems, steering the energy directly in the required direction. We are eager to see if the technical features built into this product provide any advantage over other 5GHz networking devices.

Unboxing and Setup
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  • ChronoReverse - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Why do the positions of the tested devices vary across each chart? It would be much better if the NETGEAR 3DHD was always the first one in each graph.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    It's a glitch with the multibar charts in our engine. Sorry.
  • Slash3 - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    30 seconds in MS Paint's cut/paste can reverse the positions. :)
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    30 seconds in the graphing engine. Then save that image from your browser onto your drive. Open that image up in Paint (or more likely, Photoshop). Then rearrange the bars so that they're in the positions you desire. Don't mess up the text or the spacing of the bars. When you're done, save the file, upload it back to the server, and then modify the HTML to reference the appropriate file. Yeehaw! I'd guess more like 5 minutes. Now do that for every graph you want to modify.

    I'll make a note to our engine guy that sorting of multi-series charts doesn't work. Then hopefully we can get that fixed for the future. Having done manual creation of charts in the past, though, I can tell you that it isn't even remotely fun. In fact, the old graphing engine was seriously one of my least liked parts of writing articles. The new engine is worlds better, but it isn't perfect.
  • LeftSide - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Wow, I wireless device that is reliable, has consistent throughput, and is easy to set up. This is a first.
  • danjw - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    You mention that for short range there were lower priced options that performed just as well for wireless HDMI, so which ones are those?
  • nubie - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    I think he meant that the other devices it was compared to, not HDMI links.

    If you needed to go one room over, or through one wall or floor, the other devices reviewed were faster.
  • Kyser Soze - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    It's testament to the quality of anandtech's site that they check throughput on various levels of emotional content in films. No other tech sites offer this service. I for one am looking forward to finding out if some stuttering occurs during the Shawshank Redemption, but not, for instance, in Attack of the Clones.

    Can my old netgear handle romantic comedies?
  • queequeg99 - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    This is a pretty funny comment. Did the author intend to refer to a detailed scene with lots of movement?
  • Exelius - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    If you're somewhat technical, just pick up a pair of compatible wireless devices and load them with DD-WRT, then set one of them up in bridge mode.

    I have a pair of 5 year old Linksys WRT54Gs that I have doing exactly this. Throughput isn't spectacular by ethernet standards (averages about 30 mbps) but it's more than enough to stream 720p Netflix to my PS3. The devices are about 50 feet apart and cost me about $300... 5 years ago. They can certainly be found for less now. Bonus with DD-WRT is that you can basically "overclock" the wireless radios and operate them with a higher signal strength (though be careful; heat quickly becomes an issue and the case on one of my devices is warped from high heat output in a poorly ventilated area.)

    I'm sure this solution is easier to set up, but honestly, it's a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Any self-respecting tech nerd should be able to set this up in an hour or two and enjoy the fruits for years. That said, wireless links can be finicky and a pain in the ass to diagnose when things go wrong, so wired is always preferable even when speed isn't a factor (it doesn't get screwed up by using the microwave.)

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