A modern workforce increasingly needs fast and flexible connections to displays such as large screens and projectors in boardrooms, boardrooms, and other collaborative workspaces. Fast, because you don’t want to delay your colleagues or clients before a presentation by struggling with cables and settings; and soft because content that may be useful to display in a meeting can come from many sources, not just the presenter’s laptop or PC.
Panasonic’s solution to these workplace problems is the PressIT Wireless Presentation System (WPS), a receiver-based HDMI cable replacement system that attaches to the monitor or projector, and press-to-present transmitters. on devices containing content such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
PressIT WPS components are not designed for display and therefore have a discreet utility appearance. The basic set sent to ZDNet for review, which costs € 1,237 (~ £ 1,101 excluding VAT or $ 1,492), includes a receiver and two transmitters, a box for the transmitters and their cables, and an adapter mains and cables for the receiver, as well as various mounting brackets. The entire kit comes in a sturdy, fabric-covered zipper case.
The receiver (TY-WPR1) is a small router (120mm x 26mm x 81mm) with a pair of antennas for its 5 GHz 802.11ac connections. The top has a function button which is used to save the pairing information via USB connection. On the back, there are HDMI, RJ-45 Ethernet, and USB-A ports, along with power and reset buttons, a round-pin power input, and a security slot. An alternative to the standalone receiver (not provided for review) comes in the form of an Intel Smart Display Module (Intel) unit that plugs into an SDM slot on the back of a compatible display. The SDM receiving card costs € 520 (~ £ 463 excluding VAT or $ 627).
The transmitter supplied with the base set (TY-WPB1) is a mouse-sized unit (51mm x 21mm x 73mm) with two fixed cables – USB-A for power and HDMI for the video. There is a USB-A port on the unit for transferring receiver pairing information via a USB stick, and a mode switch (STD / EXT; the latter engaged when a USB stick is inserted). The two transmitters in the base set come paired out of the box – USB pairing is for additional units, which cost € 353 (~ £ 314 excl.VAT or $ 426) each. The transmitter, which has an antibacterial surface treatment, has two buttons on the top: the main one, with a large status LED, turns the image display on and off, while the secondary, with a small LED Status, controls multi-screen mode (up to four FHD screens can be displayed at a time). The back of the transmitter is magnetic, so the device can be placed in a convenient location.
There is a second transmitter (TY-WPBC1) with a single USB-C cable for power and video, which also costs € 353 (~ £ 314 excluding VAT or $ 426). This will be more convenient for mobile devices, although there is an app that will do the job for Android devices. You will need to use an adapter such as Apple’s USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter (£ 75) to connect an iPhone or iPad using the standard transmitter (USB / HDMI) or purchase a USB- drive. C, because there is currently no iOS app available.
The transmitters support wireless HDMI audio and video output at 1080p resolution (FHD, 1920×1080 / 60fps), and the receiver can have up to 32 simultaneously connected within a 30m radius, with up to four both displayable on screen (3840×2160 / 30fps). The receiver supports HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), which allows communication with compatible display devices.
When several transmitters are connected, the main presenter may want to ensure that his screen is not accidentally thrown from the screen by other participants equipped with PressIT: this can be avoided by using the Fixed mode, which is activated in hold down the main button for two seconds or more, after which the status LED turns from green to blue and the other transmitters are locked. Another long press on the presenter’s main button deactivates Fixed mode.
Performance and user experience
The PressIT system is simple to set up and use: for this review, I went from unboxing to wirelessly viewing my PC screen on a projector in about 30 minutes. With everything unpacked and set up in a meeting room, viewing content on a big screen during a meeting should be almost instantaneous. There will also be much less wiring clutter.
There is no software or driver to install: to start, you connect the receiver to your monitor or projector via HDMI and supply power via 5V / 1.5A power adapter or via USB connection, then press the power button on the back. The screen will now display a Panasonic start-up screen telling you what to do: connect the transmitter (s) to HDMI and USB on your client devices and wait for the main LED to flash red (connection), white (pairing in progress) and plain white (matched). Now press the Home button and the screen will get green light and split on the presentation display, while a long press will activate the fixed mode and light the LED in blue as described above. To add your screen to the presentation display (as long as Fixed mode is not activated), you press the secondary button on the transmitter, the LED of which then lights up in green.
When it comes to video and audio, there is little to no loss of quality over the wireless connection compared to a regular HDMI cable, and minimal latency. With only two transmitters in my test kit, I was unable to test the receiver’s full 4K capability (4x 1080p stream), but there is no reason to think it will struggle with this.
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Management and security are always key issues for businesses, so IT managers will be pleased that the settings screen offers many adjustments, including: the output resolution for the presentation display (up to 4096×2160 / 24fps); maximum number of connections (up to 32); screen mode (fit to screen or stretch to full screen); wireless channel; Local network IP settings; SSID (rename, hide, disable); administrator password; Download the WPA / WPA2 Enterprise digital certificate; and firmware upgrade.
Panasonic’s PressIT wireless presentation system does its job – replacing HDMI cable connections to meeting room monitors or projectors with wireless links – with minimal hassle and great attention to detail, though it does it’s a shame that there is no iOS app available.
At € 1,237 (~ £ 1,101 excluding VAT or $ 1,492), PressIT WPS is a competitive alternative to Barco’s ClickShare CSE-200, which costs £ 1,490 (excluding VAT) but only supports 16 connections and 2 simultaneous displays, although it has Android and iOS applications. Benq’s InstaShow S WDC20 has a similar spec to PressIT – 32 connections, 4 displays – and supports Android and iOS, but costs between £ 1,225 and £ 2,054 (excluding VAT) online.
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