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TechnologyTell Review: Nyrius Aries Home+ HD transmitter

Sections: Reviews, Source components, Streaming, TVs, Video

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You had been struck with this vision to create the perfect home theater layout for some time before. As the new HDTV is being unpacked, you’re moving furniture, clearing wall space for a mounting bracket, and relocating power strips. “Ah, it’s going to be perfect”, you think, since you’ve never liked watching TV in the adjoining room. It was such a nuisance to have the afternoon sun creep through cracks in the window blinds, slashing across the TV screen.

But that’s the old entertainment room. This one will be better, with added space to stretch out for more people and better viewing. As you sit square to face the newly-mounted HDTV, you can’t help but beam with prideful satisfaction. You’re almost done and ready to relax. Yet something feels amiss, overlooked.

Then it dawns on you, the reason why you had suffered years of watching TV in that other room. The cable box. You carefully make your way back, counting footsteps and eyeballing potential paths along the floor and ceiling. The device appears sinister, contrasted against the bare whiteness of walls that had been shrouded by shelves and furniture not just a few hours before. A glowing green LED silently mocks you as you contemplate the best solution.

Design & Connectivity

For most intents and purposes, you can think of the Nyrius Aries Home+ Wireless HD Transmitter physically, as a typical router/receiver, and functionally, like a Chromecast, except that it works and transmits HDMI data instead. And it’s also completely independent of a home’s wireless network. The tall transmitter stands on end, like the common router does, with multiple ports in the rear – two are input sources and the third is an optional TV output. The simple yet effective receiver box has plugs for only power and HDMI. And that’s it.

Nyrius Aries Home plus box contents

The kit is less complicated than it looks. Keeping wires tidy will take up more time than anything else.

Both parts are constructed mostly of lightweight, matte black plastic, neither of which are terribly big. The ample, silicone feet on both the transmitter and receiver hold the devices in place without causing any marks on furniture. However, screws are included for anyone desiring to mount the equipment to a wall. It’s a pretty slick way to hide tech while keeping it in reach.

Now you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves a bit and prepare to use some gray matter. The included documentation is a bit shy of what you might get from purchasing Ikea furniture. You’ve been warned. But the photos give enough information to start you off with power and connections. The pair of LEDs on the receiver indicate which input source it’s streaming video from (the top is source one, the bottom is source two).

Don’t forget the IR extender cable. Whichever two HDMI input sources you’d like to (literally) remote control will want the little IR sensor right in front. The third one can work for anything else (they all transmit through). The idea is that the Nyrius Aries Home+ receiver takes in commands from remote controls, transmits to the transmitter, which passes it along the IR extender cable. Convenient. Once set up, power everything to make sure it’s all communicating properly and in proper range of each other.

Nyrius Aries Home plus transmitter bottom

The wall mounts let you hide or improve range of the transmitter.

The box contains only one HDMI cable. If you plan to use that between the receiver and television or projector, you’ll need to own at least one more for the transmitter and video source. Three more, if you want to take full advantage of the host of connections.

There’s no menu or anything to adjust or configure beyond HDMI and power cables. This is meant to plug in, turn on, and work. Sort of like a Bluetooth receiver for older audio devices that lack wireless connectivity. The included remote is good only for power, switching inputs, and displaying the info across the screen. That info will let you know small details like current channel, display resolution, and reception strength.

Performance

My cable television service is AT&T U-Verse, and my testing included the primary set top box and our (secondary) wireless one as well. For the sake of easy setup and one less power cable to fuss with, I used a Celluon PicoPro laser projector for the output screen.

The plug-and-play operation was up and running within minutes. It took me longer to connect all the cables than it did to wait for video to show wirelessly through the projector. All three of the emitters on the IR extender work at the indicated 5-10cm range, and it doesn’t seem to matter if they’re aligned parallel or perpendicular to equipment.

Nyrius Aries Home plus transmitter rear

Two HDMI sources and a bonus splitter for the nearby TV unit!

Your home theater remotes will work up to at least 6 meters away from the Nyrius Aries Home+ receiver. On, off, menu, volumes, all of it. It starts to get iffy beyond that distance, but the same can be said for the remotes without the Nyrius Aries Home+ involved.

Having the second HDMI input source is pretty convenient for switching between cable television and a DVD player (or anything else desired). If there is any kind of delay from pressing remote commands, I can’t tell. The sensitivity and response is as good as if I were sitting in the front room, commanding everything as usual.

So 6 meters (about 21 feet) is a safe distance for wireless operation, even with a couple of bodies passing in between and other wireless activity (I stuck the transmitter right next to the very busy home router throughout everything) going on. The audio and video quality of the Nyrius Aries Home+ equals that of a standard HDMI cable. I can’t detect any difference at all – no noise, artifacts, slowing down, or anything else. It’s certainly impressive.

Nyrius Aries Home plus top

The receiver isn’t so big itself, either.

Now, the Nyrius Aries Home+ boasts a “100’ clear wireless transmission”, which is a very bold claim. I’ve only reviewed a few products that ever met (or exceeded) listed connectivity ranges. But it’s right there, on the front of the box. So test it I did.

As I suspected, the real-world functionality doesn’t match the marketing claim. The Nyrius Aries Home+ receiver can’t even go halfway to 100 feet before starting to lose out on audio (first) and video (second).

It starts as intermittent stutters and pauses, and going further quickly escalates the deterioration until you can’t even get a signal. I’d say my maximum effective range is right around 9 meters (30 feet), which still works with a body passing through. Other than that, it’s just an interior wall and sliding patio glass door in the way.

I’m sure that the maximum 100 feet distance might be possible with an open-clear field with zero obstructions. But that doesn’t work for real people who live in homes, especially when power outlets, cables to the HDMI sources, walls, moving bodies, and potentially conflicting signals get thrown into the mix. However, despite the shorter-than-advertised effective range of the Nyrius Aries Home+, I am indeed able to set up wireless video anywhere within my house: upstairs, garage, bathroom, den, etc.

Nyrius Aries Home plus receiver side

With just HDMI and power, it’s about as plug-and-play as you can get.

But those three extra meters of reach out into my patio is more than enough to allow me to set up a projector screen to watch cable TV or movies outside. Trust me. Try it once, in an evening when the weather is fantastic and you have people over. You’ll sell everyone on the experience.

I’ve left the Nyrius Aries Home+ on for a full 16 hours, binge-watching movies and TV shows (also second-screening on my Galaxy Note 4, yes). Sometime after the first two days of this weeklong indulgence, I think I halfway forgot about paying attention for the sake of this review. It was more active watching and passive reviewing instead of the other way around. But I suppose it’s a testament to how well this Nyrius system works – I hadn’t noticed anything different versus ‘regular’ cabled viewing.

All the channels I watch, and everything in between, looked like they should. The signal never flickered nor dropped, the volume output remained consistent without any peaks or dips, and the device pair never lost sync. Although the receiver and transmitter get pretty warm in a short amount of time, it doesn’t seem to be out of the ordinary to affect overall performance.

Verdict

Not everyone is lucky enough to have the location of their cable set-top box close to where they’d want to place the TV. Although HDMI cables aren’t that expensive, the act of running wires can be a bit tedious. I love punching holes in drywall as much as the next guy, but the cleanup and cosmetic disguising just isn’t as fun.

And that is why the Nyrius Aries Home+ Wireless HD Transmitter is a wonderful bit of hardware, replacing the need for all that lengthy HDMI-cabling business. It’s like wireless magic. Plug up to two HDMI sources into the transmitter, plug the receiver into the TV, power up, and you’ll be good to go in under a minute. Aside from tethering to wall socket and being in range of the transmitter, you’re free to mount televisions, or beam your favorite projector, wherever you wish.

The only real limitation of the Nyrius Aries Home+ is the wireless range. The practical reach is far cry from what the manufacturer claims. At best, one should be able to maintain a functional signal at a third that distance – a quarter to be safe, through walls and/or floors.

When you start seeing image flickers, freezing, shifting, pixelation/snow, or hear the audio dip or cut out, that’s when you need to adjust for range and/or obstacles. Aside from those situations, I have yet to experience any signal issues. So if you want to save yourself the hassles of running lengths of HDMI cable through or around the house, this is the gadget you want.

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