NOTE: The information below relates to the Nyrius models available in the U.S. Model availability, price and features may differ in other locations.
With wireless being the norm for so many of our electronic devices today, it’s pretty surprising to me that the standard way to connect a cable box to your TV is still with physical cables. And the surprise turns into annoyance when I want to put a TV in a room where I don’t have a cable outlet.
I had this situation when I bought my current house. I wanted to put a TV in my living room but there was no outlet there and neither option for putting one in—running the wires along the ceiling and floorboards inside the house or running them over the roof on the outside—was desirable.
Note: I’m using the term “cable” to mean any provider of TV services, including satellite and telecom companies.
Fortunately, after doing some research, I found the Nyrius 6-Channel Wireless Audio/Video Transmitter & Receiver System, which sends the cable signal wirelessly from the cable box in my bedroom to my living room TV. Since then, I’ve upgraded my system from the GS3200 model, which has a single input and doesn’t carry HD signals, to the Aries Home+ model, which does support HD and has two inputs.
The value of the second input is that you can use these same devices to transmit signals wirelessly from other types of audio and video equipment as well, e.g. DVD/Blu-ray players, streaming media devices, music systems, gaming consoles, etc. I have my transmitter set up with the cable box as one input and a Roku streaming player as the other.
Note: These systems can also be useful even if you have them in the same room as your TV, but connecting devices with a cable isn’t ideal, e.g. if the TV is mounted on the wall or on a stand that doesn’t have room for the cable box.
Transmitting an Antenna Signal Wirelessly
Thanks to T4L reader Michael who asked whether you can use one of these systems with an antenna, like if you have one in your attic and don’t want to run cables down to your TV. The answer is yes! However, if your antenna doesn’t have an HDMI or A/V connection (and I think most of them don’t), you’ll need to connect it to a converter box or DVR that does have one. Here are a few examples from Amazon with varying features (and costs). Note that some of them may require external storage devices if you want to use them to record shows.
So you connect the antenna’s coaxial cable to the converter/DVR, then use HDMI or A/V cables to connect the box to the wireless transmitter. The same caveats about the effectiveness of these systems being dependent on what’s in-between the transmitter and the receiver still applies.
Nyrius wireless A/V system features
Mouse over the product link to see the current price at Amazon and click through for full specs and customer reviews.
- ARIES Home+ Wireless HDMI 2-Input Transmitter & Receiver for Streaming HD 1080p 3D Video. This is the model I have with the two HDMI inputs. It also has a loop-through feature, which lets you connect it to one TV with an HDMI cable and to another TV wirelessly so you can use the same video devices on both sets. (Note that if you’re using it with a cable box, both TVs will have to play the same channel; you can’t watch different channels on each TV). And there’s a remote control that lets you switch between the inputs without having to unplug anything.
- ARIES Home Wireless HDMI Digital Transmitter & Receiver for HD 1080p Video Streaming. This is similar to the Home+ model except it only has a single input and it doesn’t have the loop-through feature. So if you wanted to connect your cable box to two TVs, you’d need to connect the box’s HDMI out port to the wireless transmitter to send the signal to the TV in a different room and use one of the other connection cables (HDMI, coaxial, RCA composite, etc.) to connect to the TV near the cable outlet.
- WS-55 Wireless HDMI Digital Transmitter & Receiver for HD 1080p Video Streaming. This is another HD model, similar to the ARIES Home, with a few differences. The WS-55 has a maximum range of 40 ft (vs 100 ft for the Home model) and doesn’t have an option for a second input. However, its main advantage over the Home is that you can get extra receivers to transmit the signal to additional TVs (maximum of 4 wireless plus the wired TV connection for five TVs total).
- Nyrius Orion Home Wireless HDMI Transmitter and Receiver. This is Nyrius’ latest addition to its product lineup. It has a 300 ft range and can transmit to two wireless receivers (plus one wired for 3 TVs total). It’s currently only available from the Nyrius website and they have a promotion where you can save 50% off the $120 list price by completing a product survey. (You pay full price upfront, then get reimbursed the 50% after submitting the review.)
- Nyrius 5.8GHz 4 Channel Wireless Video & Audio Sender Transmitter & Receiver. The first model I bought was an earlier version of this one. It has a single input and uses composite cables (red/white/yellow plugs) to connect to your A/V device. It has four channels so if you have multiple devices transmitting wireless signals, you can change the channel to avoid interference. You can also get additional receivers to connect to additional TVs.
The IR extender
One of the questions that comes up a lot with these types of systems is how do you control A/V devices from another room (e.g. change the channel on your cable box)? That’s where the IR extender comes in.
The IR extender is a thin cable that plugs into the Nyrius transmitter and has one or more small blocks on it. You position the block close to and in front of the device’s infrared light (hence “IR”). Then when you point the device’s own remote at the Nyrius receiver unit, which is connected to the IR extender, you can operate the device just as if you were pointing the remote at it directly.
The extender can be rather finicky and if I couldn’t get it to work at a particular time, I used to have to go change the channel in the room where the box was. Now, however, I have an app for my phone that I can use as a remote so I don’t even bother with the extender. My current provider is
Comcast Xfinity Verizon FIOS, but I imagine most of the major cable/satellite/telecom companies also provide apps to control their boxes now as well. Also, a lot of cable remotes don’t require direct line of sight anymore, so they may work even without the extender or the app.
My two cents
When I got my first system, I immediately fell in love with it. I had no problems with the signal, even going through multiple walls and doors and the picture was really clear and stable. At one point, when I switched from Comcast to Verizon FIOS, I moved the box to my basement, which also has an outlet, and sent the signal from there—also without problems. The only time there was any issue was when someone was walking across the line the signal was traveling and the picture would break up a little. But since that person was usually me, it wasn’t really a problem since if I was walking, I wasn’t watching TV… 🙂
But then when I switched back to Comcast (don’t ask!) I originally only set up the bedroom outlet and so I had to bring the Nyrius transmitter back up there as well. Only this time I found it harder to get a clear signal. Likewise, when I got the HD model, I had more difficulty getting the units to pair with each other and I would also lose the signal at some points. I’m not sure what caused these issues as there were several variables involved: different cable provider, different box manufacturer, closeness to my wireless router, things changing between my bedroom and my living room that may have had an impact, etc…
Then I decided to activate my basement outlet again (mainly so I could move my router down there and get those freakin’ flashing lights out of my bedroom!) and I put the HD transmitter down there to see what would happen. Lo and behold, I had no trouble pairing the units. And so far (fingers crossed) the signal seems to be holding steady.
I’m now back to FIOS again (!) but I’m not using the transmitter at the moment because I can get what I need through streaming media players now. 🙂
So all that to say that I have been very happy with this system when I was using it—the picture and sound quality from the HD model is excellent—but there’s really no way to know if it’s going to work with your own setup until you try it out yourself.
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Setting up the Nyrius systems is super easy. You just plug the device you want to watch into the transmitter with the appropriate cables and plug the receiver into your TV with the same.
NOTE: It does help to have a second person with you when you set it up so you don’t have to keep running between rooms to adjust the position of the devices.
The non-HDMI models have antennas that you adjust so they’re pointing towards each other and little switches so you can select a different channel if you’re experiencing signal interference.
With the HDMI models, there’s a pairing button on both units. First you press the button on the transmitter and then you press the one on the receiver to start the pairing process. Then turn on your TV and select the HDMI input the receiver is plugged into. You’ll see some icons and text on the screen showing that the system is cycling through the different channels until the units are paired.
If you do have trouble getting them to pair or if the picture/sound quality isn’t very good, there are a few things you can try:
- Place the transmitter on something high like a stand or table. At one point I had mine on the floor in my bedroom and then I would put my full laundry basket down and forget that it was in the line of the signal.
- Don’t have the transmitter too close to your wireless router to help prevent signal interference.
- Unplug both units and when you plug them back in, they’ll start the pairing process again. This is similar to power cycling your wireless modem when something goes wrong with your Internet connection. Annoying, but it can solve the problem.
The support area of the Nyrius website also has other tips if you’re having problems.
If you want to use the IR extender, you plug it into the transmitter and set the block in front of the infrared light on the device you want to control. The blocks have a little plastic tab on the bottom that you can peel off to expose a light adhesive so it will stay in place once you’ve got it properly positioned.
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