Thinking about upgrading to a wireless projector? Before going out to buy a new and pricey one, consider making your old VGA, DVI, or HDMI projector wireless.
There’s no need to throw out an old projector just because it uses VGA, DVI, or HDMI cables. This Wireless Projector Guide will go over a few of the reasons why.
First, let’s talk about the perks of going wireless. After that, we’ll share how you can make a projector wireless using Airtame’s cableless HDMI solution. Then, we’ll cover the different types of wireless solutions you can choose from.
It’s one thing upgrading from an older cabled solution to a newer cabled solution, but quite another making the jump into wireless. It can seem complicated and perhaps unnecessary.
When you consider the perks of going wireless and how easy it is to do, however, you might change your mind.
Going wireless means you won’t need any cables between your computer and the projector in order to share your screen. That means you and your guests no longer have to fumble around with a tangle of wires. If you still need convincing, take a look at our cables vs. Airtame comparison article.
Less time plugging and unplugging cables means that getting through multiple presentations is easier and faster.
If you choose a wireless solution, like Airtame, that uses software to connect your source device to the projector, presenters won’t even have to leave their desk in order to switch presentations from one computer to another.
With cables, you have to make sure to have a cable and converter for each type of computer or phone. You’ve experienced this issue before, right? Even with several adapters on hand, you risk that there will be someone who cannot connect to the projector because they don’t have the right adapter.
With the Airtame app, you can mirror your screen to multiple projectors from one computer, so long as each projector has an Airtame plugged in. This is a great option for large lecture halls that have multiple projectors and projector screens in one space.
Convinced that wireless is the way to go? Let’s go over how to turn your current cabled solution into a wireless one.
There are a range of wireless adapters available that can convert your current cabled projector into a wireless one.
With Airtame, making your projector wireless is easy. Plug Airtame into the projector’s HDMI port, download the app on your computer, and connect the Airtame to your WiFi network.
Your projector doesn’t have an HDMI port? Luckily, Airtame works with your VGA and DVI ports with the use of an adapter (pictured below).
Many older projectors still in use were made with VGA technology. By now, VGA is an outdated technology compared to newer digital standards like HDMI. However, this doesn’t mean you need to throw out a projector that works.
A VGA to HDMI adapter is all you need to use an older projector with Airtame’s wireless technology. Airtame’s VGA adapter doesn’t plug in directly into the projector, but instead uses your projector’s VGA port to connect. Read more about how adapters work with Airtame on our help page.
With DVI projectors, you can also use a DVI to HDMI adapter to convert your old cabled projector into a wireless streaming solution.
The process is the same as described above: Connect the DVI adapter to your projector’s DVI cable, and then connect to the Airtame device. With this simple tweak, your projector is ready to go wireless.
If your projector has an HDMI port, it can connect to many devices with a cable and adapter. However, the hassle of connecting your devices to cables still remains. To get cableless HDMI, use Airtame’s HDMI to HDMI adapter.
Connect the HDMI adapter to your projector’s HDMI cable, and then connect Airtame device to the adapter.
💡 Keep in mind that most wireless adapters require an electrical outlet for power. 💡 If you use Airtame and your projector can provide 5V and 1A, it might be possible to power your Airtame through the projector’s USB port.
There are lots of options out there when it comes to projectors. This is a quick go-to guide on the popular types of wireless projectors.
First, there are 3 main uses for projectors: home theater, office, and education. In this section, we’ll focus on key differences between home and office use.
Projectors designed for home theaters come with some swanky features that are really not needed in a work or school environment. For example, Epson’s popular PowerLite 3020e projector comes with 3-D functionality.
What is important in a home use case is that the projector can handle video smoothly.
A home theater environment is usually smaller and has less ambient lighting, so the projector does not need to have especially high brightness levels. Of course, this all depends on the ambient lighting in an individual environment. Check out this impressive guide to lumens by the Projector People here.
A projector for office use has a different use case that affects the features you’ll need.
For offices, streaming from computer and mobile devices to the projector screen is the main use.
It’s important to choose a projector that can handle multimedia content. Since video is not the primary focus, screen resolution does not have to be especially high. In most cases, a resolution of 1024 x 768 px is enough for those in the back of a larger room to see the finer details of a presentation.
That said, there also tends to be more ambient light in an office setting, which means you’ll need higher brightness levels (i.e., more lumens).
Now that we’ve gone over the main difference between home and work use, it’s important to know the different types of technology used in wireless projectors.
Most wireless projectors on the market use a transmitter and receiver system. A transmitter, such as a USB stick or dongle, is plugged into your computer (or other source device) and the projector has a built-in WiFi chip to act as a receiver.
The benefit of this is that you do not have to download any software on your computer.
For example, Roku’s streaming projector SPR 1000 is made for home-use to stream media subscriptions like Netflix. It comes with a Roku streaming stick that plugs into your computer.
An office-grade option in this category would be a projector like Epson’s PowerLite 1700 Series, which offers built-in WiFi and a plug and play USB stick for PC and Mac.
Some projectors offer built-in wireless connectivity using computer software and a WiFi network, although the exact setup varies. The benefit is that you do not have anything plugged into the source device.
An example of a top-shelf projector in this category is the Optoma TW766W Wireless Projector. This projector offers a Mac client software you download and which will locate the projector’s IP address to connect. The drawback is that this option can run you up a bill of around $3,000.
The beauty of Airtame’s wireless solution is that it works with projectors that do not have WiFi functionality installed directly in them. It also does not require you to plug anything into your computer.
Since Airtame works with an app over WiFi, it’s a cross-platform solution that works for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS.
This is possible because the Airtame app connects your computer to the Airtame device that is plugged into the projector, as shown in the image below.
💡 If you prefer an Ethernet connection, you can use Airtame with an Ethernet adapter. This is optional, although we do recommend it to get the most stable performance.
It’s worth noting that some brands offer mobile apps, like Epson’s iprojector mobile app. These kinds of apps let you present from your mobile devices. The bonus of Epson’s iprojector app is that it lets you annotate directly on the screen while you're presenting.
Airtame offers a mobile app, as well, that lets you stream images or PDFs from your phone or from Dropbox. The perk is that if you don’t have WiFi available where you’re presenting, you can connect directly to the Airtame’s own WiFi network and present. At least so long as you do not need internet.
Projectors are more often associated with educational institutions, probably because education is where you’re more likely to find large rooms and auditoriums that require a large projector screen.
Setting up projectors in schools and universities has its own challenges. Here are some things to consider.
At schools, for example, multiple student presenters need to easily and quickly switch between different computers. In this respect, cables are a major hassle.
Another obstacle is the physical installation of the projectors and cables. Unlike at home, schools have very large rooms, especially lecture halls that have high ceilings. To solve this issue, many schools hide meters of cables in the walls, floors, or ceilings, but there are some buildings that cannot be drilled into.
When you have a lot of teachers and students using a wireless solution, you need a way to minimize the risk of connecting to the wrong projector. Airtame, for example, gives the option to use a pin code to start a stream, which will appear on the projector screen. Learn more about Pin Code Connect here.
Another issue you might encounter in a school or university is the management of multiple projectors. We’re currently developing the Airtame Cloud Platform that will allow IT administrators to oversee multiple Airtames from the comfort of their own desks. Read more about the Cloud Platform here.
Interested in reading a real case story about a school who made the switch from VGA to cableless HDMI? Check out our use case and deployment of Airtames at the University of San Diego's School for Global Policy and Strategy. Then read Hudson High School’s case story here or watch our interview with Hudson High School below.