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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  • ganeshts - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    The problem with powerline adapters is that it is not easy to guarantee QoS. Imagine watching a movie streamed over powerline, and suddenly, someone switches on the hair dryer or a fluoroscent bulb. The throughput goes kaput. Depending on the powerline adapter, it can recover, but the time taken is too long to guarantee real time HD video streaming.

    That said, we also run powerline reviews concurrently. So, look out for our Ixia Chariot tests on those. (The Netgear 500 Mbps kit is up next, but it will be reviewed sometime next month).
  • beginner99 - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    I use the wusbn600 from the test with my wdtv live and it works fine for me. But I don't stream bluray quality stuff.
    This might be useful if you have multiple devices like a wdtv, an xbox, maybe soemthing else in your living room.
  • astroidea - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    Does this enable remote desktop gaming? 80MB/s is incredible.
    It would be awesome to play Crysis on my $100 used laptop from ebay via RDP.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    80Mb != 80MB. It's actually 10MB/s. As a comparison, uncompressed each frame of a 1366x768 display would be 4MB. Of course, with highly compressed JPG images, it would be down to around 75KB per frame, so you could potentially do 1366x768 (or 1280x720) over a 10MB/s connection.

    As an interesting corollary, OnLive! is doing something like this with remote servers. I think they're sending 720p (probably at 30FPS) and the bandwidth requirement is under 1MB/s. The games sort of look like crap (low to medium at best details), but it's better than not running at all on older Intel IGPs.
  • yottabit - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    "I encoutnered only one instance during an exceptionally detailed and scene with a lot of movement where the video playback stuttered."

  • Conficio - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    If I spend any money today on network gear I'd like to know if it is IP v6 capable.

    And at this price point, I think it would have been wise to actually include Gigabit ports, because it does increase its utility. Because stable throughput is a good thing not only for Video streaming, but for all sorts of network bridging. http://gettys.wordpress.com/bufferbloat-faq/
  • ol1bit - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    I use powerline adapters for my 2 story 2500 foot house and could not be happier!

    What this review needs to to compare tech, powerline versus 3DHD wireless.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    Great :) Nice to see a powerline success story. But, do you stream HD videos across? Is the throughput sustained? We will be using Ixia Chariot in our future powerline reviews.
  • GTVic - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    I just bought two Netgear WNR3500L v2 Rangemax routers to accomplish exactly this. They look identical to these. Would be nice to know what the difference is. The price on these has dropped below $100 depending on the discount so you can save quite a bit (Newegg WNR3500L = $70 x 2 = $140 vs. $215 for this package).
  • GTVic - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    By "price on these" I meant the WNR3500L units. Also the WNR3500L have gigabit ports so I use one as my main switch/firewall and the other for my home theatre components.

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