Over the course of several years I've painstakingly migrated all of my gaming and electronics equipment into a single area, an impassable tangle of wires and blinking lights, all in the name of making sure I had a stable, wired connection at all times. Once I got everything just right, Diamond Multimedia sent me the Powerline Internet AV Kit, a pair of devices that turn any power outlet into a wired network connection.
If I had had a set of these two years ago I might still know what the back of my entertainment centre looked like.
I'd heard of devices similar to the Powerline Internet AV Kit, but I never paid them much heed. Their function was exactly why I invested in all of this fancy-shmancy wireless technology after all. Why spend the extra cash when my wireless connection is as reliable as any wired gadget?
Why, because that last statement is a complete lie.
I live in a relatively tiny apartment (in Japan they call it a palace), so wireless should work perfectly throughout the entire floor plan. Should is the operative term here, however. Between walls filled with humming electric wires, ancient Roman plumbing, and a wide spectrum of signals constantly being emitted by equipment specifically designed to raise my power bill higher every month are constantly doing battle with my wireless.
For example, the Blu-ray player in the bedroom sometimes plays Netflix. I can connect my Nintendo 3DS to the eShop while sitting on the toilet only when I hold it out towards the general direction of the bathroom door. Hell, my PlayStation 3, seated exactly 10 inches away from the wireless router, often forgets that said router exists. I think they're having some sort of lover's tiff.
So yes, the Powerline Internet AV Kit is one hell of a useful device. The only real problems I had with it were fighting my way through the cable jungle to find a free power outlet and finding the will to move a gaming console into the bedroom to test the signal strength.
The first device I attempted to use the Powerline kit with was a complete failure, but only because I still haven't acquainted myself with my recently-purchased Macbook Air to where the fact that it has no ethernet port instantly registers in my head.
That ethernet port is important.
The second attempt went much smoother. I plugged one of the units behind my cable model, an ether net cable connecting the two. The other unit went in my bedroom on the other side of the apartment, connected via ethernet to that pesky Blu-ray player.
Voila, instant wired connection. It was just that easy.
It transforms your home's power grid magically into a network connection.
Not only could I watch Netflix on a regular basis in a normally network-impaired room, I was watching it in high definition, something I'd never been able to do before in that room.
Subsequent tests with a PC-based laptop and finally my Xbox 360 (I found extra wires in a drawer so I didn't have to disturb the delicate ecosystem behind the TV) yielded similarly positive results. The device is capable of transferring 200Mbps, and as far as I could tell that made for a signal much faster than my wireless but not quite as speedy as a direct connection to the router. The stability completely makes up for the lower speed, however, unless you plug one of the devices into a power outlet that works on a light switch your significant other enjoys flicking randomly for no reason.
The only real problem I had with the Powerline Internet AV Kit was the sheer size of the wall units. Jutting two inches from the wall and not leaving much room for another plug to share the socket, making sure you've got the extra room before dropping $US80 on a set.
Also it doesn't taste particularly good.
The Powerline Internet AV Kit combines the convenience of wireless networking with the stability of a wired connection. Better yet, it does so without requiring any complicated setup or indeed any real networking know-how. It just transforms your home's power grid magically into a network connection. How? Do I sound like an electrician? It could be powered by fairy dust for all I care, as long as it performs as advertised, and it certainly does. Good for Diamond Multimedia.
The Diamond Multimedia Powerline Internet AV Kit is available now for $US79.99.