ViewSonic WGP-150 Wireless Video Gateway

Print

Product: ViewSonic WPG-150 Wireless Projector Gateway
Provided By: ViewSonic
Real-Time Price:

Introduction:

If you've ever given a presentation using PowerPoint or some other medium, you probably know all about being tethered to the projector with a VGA or DVI cable.  There are some affordable wireless alternatives, but most are not able to display full-motion video, and you're presentation will grind to a halt when you try and display some video.


WPG-150 Box
WPG-150 Box



The other situation you may dread is at a conference where there are several people trying to use the projector.  When one person is done there is always uncomfortable downtime when one person relinquishes the cable and the next presenter configures their laptop.  It is for situations like these and more that ViewSonic has released their WPG-150 Wireless Projector Gateway.

 

About ViewSonic:

ViewSonic Corporation is a leading global provider of visual display products. We develop, market and support a broad range of innovative products including liquid crystal display, or LCD, monitors, LCD TVs, projectors, digital signage displays and other display products. We were founded in 1987 and have a 20 year history of providing innovative products with market leading technologies. We sell our products to businesses and consumers through a variety of channels, including distributors and resellers such as solution providers, value added resellers, traditional retailers and Internet retailers. We are a Fortune 1000 company, and our products are sold in over 100 countries.

Our strategy is to effectively leverage our scale, strong global brand, close supplier and channel relationships and market knowledge to introduce industry leading products and penetrate new markets. We collaborate with a network of world class component suppliers and contract manufacturers to deliver a wide array of display products for use in a variety of consumer and commercial applications. We believe our operating model allows us to quickly develop, introduce and ramp production of new products while maintaining an efficient cost structure.

ViewSonic remains a leading monitor brand in the United States and has won more than 2,000 awards from independent global publications and organizations. The company's annual sales have risen from $4 million in 1987 to more than $1.5 billion in 2006.


What makes the WPG-150 special is the gateway feature.  While you are connected to it wirelessly, you can plug the gateway into a wired internet connection and still have internet access during the duration of your presentation.  Today we'll take a look at the features, performance and quality of this sub-$200 device and find out if it has what it takes to save your sanity, your reputation and the meeting.


Features & Specs:

The information below is shamelessly ripped from ViewSonic's product page for your convenience:

Dynamic, interactive presentations
Fast animations and slide transitions ensure your presentations are smooth and professional. Wireless connectivity allows users to easily take control for dynamic, interactive meetings and presentations.

High-quality full-motion video
Supports up to 640x480 for smooth, near DVD-quality video

Supports high resolutions
The WPG-150 supports resolutions up to 1024x768 to deliver incredible image detail and sharp text and graphics.

Easy set up
Wirelessly connect to the WPG-150 with your laptop. Download the driver. Start your presentation. Its that easy.

Software driver downloadable from the device
There's no need for your IT staff to pre-load drivers.

Stay connected to the Internet
The 10/100 Ethernet port ensures you'll always have web access, even while projecting wirelessly.

Cost-effective solution for mobile presentations
With its easy connectivity, light weight and portability, the WPG-150 goes anywhere and is more cost-effective than a projector with integrated wireless.

  WPG-150 Close
WPG-150 Close


Although it looks pretty impressive according to the features listed above there is more.  Take a look at the specs below.

CONNECTORS Video VGA, DVI
Audio out 2.5mm stereo jack
Network RJ-45
Wireless Reverse SMA antenna
Power DC-in jack
MEMORY Flash 8mb
SDRAM 32mb
NETWORKING Wireless 802.11b/g (54 Mbps)
Wired 10/100 fast Ethernet
Processor 900 MHz or higher (1.7 GHz for video)
Memory 256 MB memory or higher (512 MB for video)
Wireless 802.11 b/g WLAN
OS Windows XP Pro, XP Home, WIN 2K w/SP4
RESOLUTIONS   1024x768; 640x480 video
POWER   Universal AC adapter 5V DC/2A
OPERATING CONDITIONS Temperature 41-104ºF (5-40ºC)
Humidity 20-85% (non-condensing)
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) Physical 6" x 1.4" x 4.5" (152mm x 36mm x 114mm)
WEIGHT Net .48 lb. (218g)
Gross 1.3 lb. (589g)
REGULATIONS   CE, CB, BSMI, RoHS, CCC, UL, cUL, FCC, Part 15 Class B, IC,
PACKAGE CONTENTS   WPG-150, antenna, universal AC adapter, companion CD
WARRANTY   One-year limited warranty on parts and labor


 

WPG-150 First Look:

The WPG-150 is a nice and tidy device that should be able to fit in your laptop bag or briefcase.  The package includes the Gateway, a detachable antenna, power cord, a companion CD and some documentation.  Upon plugging in the Wireless Projector Gateway, your wireless enabled laptop will detect a new Open Network with the SSID "WPG150-0". 

Bundle
Bundle

 

 Front Profile
Front Profile
 Lots of Back Ports
Lots of Back Ports



The Wireless Projector Gateway is a clean, sharp looking unit and it offers good connectivity through the wireless 802.11b/g protocol.  For streaming media, bandwidth will not be the issue - the limiting factor will be the processor inside the WPG-150.  If it is not fast enough, you will see jerky video and stuttering in your presentation transitions.



Setting Up The WPG:

The Wireless Projector Gateway has the IP address of 10.0.0.1 by default and is a DHCP server.  Once you connect to the WPG150-0 network, open your browser and you'll find the WPG-150 web configuration.  Here you can download the software and set up the network to a different IP range, SSID, and tweak several other features.

Download Page
Download Page


To connect to the WPG-150, you must install and run the software that is stored on the gateway itself.  This is a beautiful thing as you won't have to remember to bring along the CD for other people to install and use it.  My initial concern is that if there are new software versions available ViewSonic needs to be able to update the firmware on the WPG-150 so that the updated version is available on the device.  After checking everything out, we find that ViewSonic has thought of this and software updates would be made available on the device if firmware was flashed.


Software Installation & Windows Setup:

Once you've downloaded the massive software (188KB) program to connect to the gateway, you'll be able to install it in a matter of minutes.

188K Download
188K Download

Unlike the Plextor Wireless Projector Adapter, the ViewSonic unit installs as an additional display and gives you many more options that the earlier Plextor device.  To be honest, Plextor should not be faulted.  Technology changes rapidly, and the WPG-150 shows how far wireless projector technology has come in a short year.

Extra Display
Extra Display

Inside the application you have the ability to select different optimizations such as full screen video, windowed video, text and other mode.  However, if you are not running full-screen video the corresponding option will be grayed out.  Different resolutions are also available as well as changing the WPG-150 from "Clone" to "Extended Desktop" mode. 

Application - Advanced
Application - Advanced



This is super duper handy as you can set up a presentation on your laptop display without the audience seeing what you are doing on the projector.  This is commonplace when connecting through a VGA cable, but is a feature that is often lacking on wireless devices.

 

Further Setup & Testing: 

If you want to blank the presentation screen from displaying any information from your computer, you can select the "Blank Screen" option.  This kills the video feed from your computer and displays a black screen instead of showing your mouse movement and whatever you are doing.  If you don't have a your network set up to WPA security, the "blank" page is a little garbled and says that you don't have a secure network.  Secure the network.

If you lose connection to the WPG-150 for any reason, or until you actually connect to it for the first time, a page is displayed on the projector or other wireless connected display.

 Easy Start Screen
Easy Start Screen

This screen actually shows some information such as your network SSID and whether or not you are encrypted.  Although this looks better than a blank screen, if you haven't encrypted the network, someone could join the network, download the software and run the application without permission.  As always, it is recommended that you encrypt your network.

You can set up network security, including passwords, encryption and more.  Also available are custom network settings as well as the ability to change the last number of the SSID.

 Configuration
Configuration
 Network Settings
Network Settings

 

Testing & Performance:

We tested the WPG-150 using our Acer Travelmate 2428 Laptop that features a 1.8GHz Centrino CPU.  Recommended specification requirements of the Wireless Projector Gateway state that you will need a 900MHz processor (1.7GHz for video), and we noticed a fairly high CPU load when running this device.  Ideally, a dual-core laptop would provide better performance, but you can't have everything!

With PowerPoint, OpenSong, WinAMP and Windows Media Player 11 open, we saw almost 100% CPU utilization - even with 2GB of DDR2 memory, and this caused some stuttering issues when playing back video.  The test results below were gathered with only one major application open at a time.  You can see that it takes quite a beast to run animation intensive Power Point with Office 2K7.

WPG-150 CPU Performance

As you can see, the biggest complaint with the WPG-150 is CPU load.  The video quality at 640x480 is great, and with no other applications running, performance is smooth and stutter-free.  The ability to choose either a cloned display or an extended desktop is a wonderful feature to have.

 

 

Conclusion:

If you are looking to connect to a projector on external display wirelessly, there are only a handful of affordable choices.  The WPG-150 is perhaps the most affordable, feature-rich device on the market, and certainly is a great choice if you're looking to display text, animations, or video on an external display.  It can display up to 1024x768 and full motion video at 640x480.  Video quality is excellent and the ability to lock down the proprietary network with WPA encryption is also a bonus.

Finally, as a Wireless Presentation Gateway, it also can act as an internet gateway to computers that are connected wirelessly.  Many other devices prevent you from accessing the internet due to their sole Ad-Hoc network connection.  The WPG-150 keeps you connected to the internet if you plug the Ethernet port into a network that has internet access.

Pros:

  • Affordable Wireless Projector Connection.
  • Gateway - Keeps you connected to the net.
  • Full-motion video playback.
  • Software works as extra display in clone or extended desktop mode.
  • Small footprint and nice design.
  • DVI-D, VGA and Audio connections.
  • Firmware upgradeable and small software package stored on device.

Cons:

  • CPU intensive when running multiple applications over the WPG-150.

BCCHardware Rating

Top Pick

If you are looking for a nice little device that does it all and does it all very well for the price, consider the WPG-150.  With a MSRP of $200, it could be the best money you've spent for your business, charitable organization or just for yourself.

I'd like to thank ViewSonic for setting us up with the WPG-150 and being flexible so that we could use it for a non-profit youth event this past weekend.  Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and questions regarding this review at the "Comments" link below.