The Intel NUC: Wireless Display on the NUC makes me happy

I've always been intrigued by the idea of widi.  Being able to beam a hi-def signal across the room or across the house seems pretty darned cool.  After reading reviews online I got the impression that it was hit-and-miss though.  many users complained that it was a pain to set up, took forever, and only worked intermittently.  I was leery about spending money on something that was pretty far over in the "nice to have" column when there was a good chance it would be a frustrating experience.  Still, every time I see a widi setup I take notice because it has that coolness to it.

Just the other day while scanning bensbargains.net for deals I came across what just seemed too good to be true; a Netgear widi adapter for the unbelievable after rebate price of...get this...TEN dollars.  Now sure it wasn't the latest model, and the reviews for it online ranged from love it to hate it, but still...ten bucks?  Heck even I'm willing to drop a ten spot to try something out.  I mean I have widi on these NUCs and it's just going to waste so why not? So I ordered it.  As usual with Newegg I got it super fast and couldn't wait to give it a whirl.  Here's what happened.

The unit I purchased is the Netgear PTV2000 Push2TV HD. I opened the box and pulled out the cardboard interior.  It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to open the cardboard without tearing it.  The packaging folks must enjoy puzzles.  I don't normally like to tear up the packaging for a new item.  Part of that is because if I need to return it I want to give it back the same way I got it, but I also have a weird quirk about wanting to keep the box as it was for some reason. I still have the box for the last tv I bought stuck up in my rafters.  I'm weird, ok?  Anyway, after working through the cardboard brain teaser I had the widi receiver out.  In the box you get the unit, a power adapter, and (surprisingly) a short HDMI cord.  I was expecting to use my own cord so to find one in the box was a nice surprise.  There's also a manual but...yeah, not looking at that.

I immediately connected it to my tv in the living room and turned it on.  Then I went to my NUC (i3 Ivy Bridge with the 6235 wifi card) and Googled "Intel wireless display download".  This took me immediately to the downloadcenter.intel.com page for widi software.  I downloaded the latest version (just 4 days old).  I ran the installer without a hitch.  After installation I ran the app and it looked for widi receivers within range.  It didn't find any.  I had the unit within range, maybe 25 feet away, so I expected it to show up. I clicked on settings and noticed under general settings there was an unchecked box labeled "Scan for Legacy Wireless Displays".  Like I said this wasn't the latest model so I checked it, saved the settings and scanned again.  Boom, there was my Netgear adapter, listed with the name "Living Room".  Creepy right? How did they know?  I mean what are the odds anyone is going to put one of these in their living room?

I clicked on Connect and the software prompted me to enter a 4 digit pin that was now displayed on my tv in the living room.  I entered it and my deskop immediately extended to the tv in my living room.  It was in beautiful 1080p and looked great.  The software immediately popped up a notice that there was a firmware update for my receiver.  I clicked on it and saw that my receiver's firmware was something like version 1.0 and there was a new version (somewhere in the 3s).  It updated, rebooted the receiver and prompted me for the NINE digit PIN now displayed on the tv.  I guess security must be a big deal for widi to go from 4 digits to 9.  After I input the PIN the display extended again.  I looked at my video settings and saw that my living room tv was now listed as another monitor.  I could move its position, change to mirrored displays, even choose to only show the desktop in the living room.  In short it was like any regular plugged in monitor.  I ran it mirrored for a while, played some videos, some music, browsed the web a bit.  The picture and sound were flawless and there wasn't so much as a hiccup.  No stuttering, no dropped signal, none of the glitches I'd read about. Admittedly I didn't sit through a whole movie but so far the adapter seems like a pretty nice investment.

So there you have it.  I could not be any happier with widi on my NUC.  The receiver was an insane deal, the software was easy to find, install, and use, and the video & audio quality are first rate.