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Netgear Push 2 TV Miracast adapter Review (PTV3000) *Updated 3/30/14*

One of the holy grails of technology these days is the ability to cut the cord and go wireless on as many things as humanly possible.  Viewing your laptop or phone/tablet on a TV or a projector without having to make any physical connection is an appealing proposition.  There are many miracast and wi-di adapters currently out there promising consumers that experience.  How does it work in real life?  Read on to find out.

I bought the Netgear PTV3000 adapter at Best Buy for $59.99 with the intention of using it with my Miracast enabled Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices.  This was just to be a test for the Dell Venue Pro 8 tablet that I'm interested in since that device has no HDMI out or MHL technology built in to it.

The PTV300 between my Chromecast (left) and Roku 3 (right)

Unboxing the PTV3000, you will find the manual, the receiver, a mini usb cable, and a power adapter that allows you to connect the usb cable to your electrical outlet.  The 3000 receiver itself is very small.  To describe it, I would say it's about the size of 1.5 Chromecasts.   It's a small black brick with a small white LED light in the front, a function button on the side, and HDMI, Power, and Reset ports in the back.

Once I set up the Netgear adapter, I followed the instructions on the manual to update the adapter to the latest firmware.  This was software version PTV3000 V2.4.38 and the update took about 3 minutes to complete.

Upon finishing the update, my TV prompted me that it was ready to connect so I went ahead and connected my Nexus 5 to it first.  On Kitkat, it's Settings>Display>Cast Screen and the connection takes about 10 seconds to initiate. The first thing that I noticed on my 50inch TV on 1080i settings was that there was no cropping of the 1080p signal from my Nexus 5.  It showed the entire phone screen whether in portrait or landscape mode.  Landscape mode filled up the entirety of the screen while portrait scaled appropriately.  Any audio was automatically routed to my TV as well.

On my Nexus 7 (2013) (also 1080p) the experience was slightly different with the picture being cropped in landscape.  Yes, the dreaded "black bars" show up on the sides of your TV with the Nexus 7.

Other than that, the experience is largely the same on both devices and to put it bluntly, this is NOT a device for gamers.  There is a noticeable lag between what you do on your screen and the mirrored screen on your TV.  From a few nanoseconds to an average of about half a second.  Testing it with Crazy Taxi, Riptide 2, Plants vs Zombies 2, and various emulators via Retroarch, the lag will definitely RUIN your gameplay.  If your TV is an LCD or Plasma without a "Game mode" that cuts on lag by turning off picture processing then the lag will be even worse.

Videos were also a mixed bag.  Whatever codec is being used to stream video to your TV does noticeably compress the picture quality.  If your app/program does not use immersive mode to hide any on screen buttons, those will also show on your TV.  It addition, there will be occasional pixelization and dropped frames during high movement scenes in either video or gaming applications. It's annoying while watching a movie and can make a game unplayable.  This is something to keep in mind if you are planning to use this device to present to an audience.  Keep in mind that I was both in direct line of sight of the device and within 5 - 10 feet.  When your screen turns off on your device, your TV will go black, meaning that this device will eat through your battery life since you have to keep your screen on the entire time that you use it.

Update:  Over the last few days, I have tested the adapter with my new Dell Venue Pro 8.  This tablet is a full blown Windows 8.1 PC with full Miracast support.  With daily use in either the "modern" or "desktop" interface the same strengths and weaknesses exist with Windows.  Now that I have experienced both Android and Windows, it appears that the performance of this adapter is OS independent.

Conclusion:

If you're beaming static images or office presentations then this device will suffice.  Gamers or those who need maximum video quality, stick to your HDMI or MHL connection at this time.  If your only need is to stream video, then save a few bucks and invest in a Chromecast adapter which will do the job a lot better (and does not show on screen buttons) for a majority of people at a cheaper price.  I'll be packing mine up to return it and sticking with MHL/HDMI for now until the kinks are worked out with this technology.


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