OneForAll are synonymous with feature-packed all-in-one remote controls, but their new PC Media Kit is actually a combination of products that includes a wireless audio and video transmitter.
Included is OneForAll’s PC Remote, which you can use to control the playback of PC media files from the comfort of your lounge. We’ve seen similar solutions in the wireless streaming field, but in contrast this cheaper alternative uses high frequency (2.4GHz) RF transmission. It’s interesting to see how these sorts of technologies compare, but in practice this lower-priced option isn’t without its drawbacks.
Setting up the transmitter and receiver can be a bit tricky, depending on the compatibility of your PC and A/V equipment. Most importantly you’ll need a graphics card with a composite or S-Video out, or you’ll have to pick up an adaptor that offers this functionality. From here, you wire an audio and video lead from the transmitter to your graphics card and sound card respectively.
The receiver sits next to your television and comes with a composite video cable and scart adaptor, so you should have no problems wiring this into your TV. At this point you’ll need to set your PC up to detect a second monitor and either clone it or extend your desktop. Once all this is done you can fire up both boxes and you should see your PC’s desktop appear on your TV.
Supplied with the package is the SimpleCentre media software, which is controlled directly from the remote using RF technology and an RF receiver that’s plugged into your computer. With a range of around 30 feet, this means you should be able to fire up the software on your PC from the comfort of your lounge, at which point you can browse and play back media files from your TV screen.
It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice we had a number of issues establishing a stable signal on the TV. Because of the transmission technology used with the product the signal is quite susceptible to interference, whether from power cables, electrical appliances or strip lighting.
Best results were seen transmitting across an open room, but realistically we can see many users encountering similar issues bearing in mind the number of electrical appliances in the modern household.
The remote control, which you can buy separately, is an efficient enough device that’s typical of OneForAll’s range in its learning capabilities and support for up to four devices, not including the Media Kit. The raised key layout makes it easy to find controls in the dark, but there aren’t a lot of customisable buttons or much functionality over the range of common settings.
Considering you’re paying quite a bit extra for the built-in RF receiver control, there’s not a lot of point buying the remote unless you’re going to pick up the whole PC kit, so we’d steer clear of it as a standalone purchase.
The PC Media Kit is a nice idea that works well enough in optimum surroundings. Unfortunately we encountered a number of issues with signal quality despite testing in a range of environments, something that’s an inherent problem with this type of transmission technology.
It’s by no means perfect, and unless you’re in a position to test the product in your home before you buy, we’d opt for the more expensive but far more stable wireless streaming solution instead.