When I first saw the NETGEAR 3DHD product on the showroom floor of CES, there was the device sitting on the table and a video playing on a screen. I was confused as to the nature of the device; was it a wireless HDMI solution? The product model is 3DHD, with 3D, HD 1080p, video, etc. plastered all over the packaging, and the product name is 3DHD Wireless Home Theatre Networking Kit. As we spoke with a Netgear representative, it became clear that this was not a wireless HDMI implementation but an 802.11 networking solution. To put it in clear terms, despite the 3D buzzwords plastered all over the box, to the technical user; this product is a network bridge device.

NETGEAR isn't wrong to focus some of their 802.11 products directly at multimedia applications, as moving video wirelessly and reliably to high definition TV sets is a feature that many people are looking for. For cost, ease of use, and superior reliability, it is always recommended to simply run a cable. Sometimes however, a wireless solution is the only answer. Maybe you rent and your landlord doesn't want any holes punched in the walls, or maybe there is more complexity and cost in getting the wiring in the wall or across the house than by simply using a wireless solution.

NETGEAR's whitepaper documentation identifies bandwidth and interference as the two major challenges to getting reliable, bandwidth intensive video applications to work properly over wireless. To get the required amount of bandwidth, the 3DHD utilizes 4x4 MIMO antenna technology. MIMO systems offer significant increases in data rates, range, and reliability by exploiting the spatial dimension associated with the multiple antennas. The 4x4 MIMO configuration provides two extra transmit antennas for beamforming, which allows significant focusing of the energy in two directions. This is done to improve reliability as well as to reduce interference with existing wireless systems, steering the energy directly in the required direction. We are eager to see if the technical features built into this product provide any advantage over other 5GHz networking devices.

Unboxing and Setup
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  • phuzi0n - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    WNR3500L's are 2x2 MIMO 2.4GHz wireless routers (that can be used as bridges) whereas these are 4x4 MIMO 5 GHz wireless bridges. The WNR3500L has a 480MHz CPU so it should have better throughput at close range, and higher maximum range because it's on the 2.4GHz band, but worse performance at mid-range than these.

    The 4x4 MIMO on these should give much better throughput than the tests showed but I believe that these have a slow CPU that is inhibiting them as I explained above.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Why would anyone pay $220 when a cable costs $3? I guess that's a rhetorical question... the real question is why would you want to pay $220 for yet another carcinogenic box. Just go down to the corner store and buy a pack of smokes. I feel sorry for the children of the yuppies who buy crap like this. To be born and raised in a microwave laden world...
  • Quidam67 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Because logistcs often precludes the use of a cable. but you would already know that if you bothered reading the article. As for microwaves, why don't you just strand yourself on a desert island and eat bananas and talk to coconuts rather than trolling the internet? rhetorical.
  • shamans33 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    I've always enjoyed Anandtech for the reason that it has articles on interesting new products or topics (unlike the article about Apple upgrading their MBP line).

    I have a few comments though:
    1) What about distances more than 1 house apart?
    2) You need comparative pricing on the other products you mentioned.
    3) You need a percentile minimum throughput chart. (ie. the throughput was at least 5.3 mbps 40% of the time).
    4) You need to run the interference test on the other products mentioned.
    5) Some comments about the difficulty of setup on the other products mentioned would be nice.
  • Discombobulated28 - Friday, March 4, 2011 - link

    For 3 months last year I went through a dozen routers trying to be able to perfectly stream and playback high bitrate blu-ray and mkv files (30GB + files)... I think I'm on my Local Fry's Electronics watch list now due to all the returns...because I have yet been able to sustain 30Mbps + streaming using wireless-N streaming to my media players to playback on my HDTV...
  • valhar2000 - Monday, March 21, 2011 - link

    Can these devices be connected in something other than pairs? Could I have three of them, one connected to the ADSL modem and the other two on different floors and all connected to each other, or would I need to buy two pairs and use them in pairs?
  • kcc651 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    The wireless 3DHD seems like an interesting concept. I wonder if it's something I could try out in my home theater system. I wonder if it will interfere with the system I had installed by a <a href="http://www.creativesound.info/audio-video.html&quo... video company phoenix</a>. I don't know the intricacies of the system they put in.

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