Atlona HD-AiR wireless HDMI system hands-on and impressions

One of our ultimate dream gadgets has long been a dead-simple wireless HDMI dongle for our laptops -- something that would let us just throw a window (say, Hulu) up on our HDTV without a lot of fuss, cables, or configuration. So obviously we were pretty excited to try out the $199 Atlona Technologies HD-AiR, which marries Wireless USB with DisplayLink and promises to send 720p video directly from your laptop to a base station with VGA and HDMI outputs up to 30 feet away -- until we received the box and noted the small print saying that it doesn't support audio. Hopes: dashed.

On top of that, we're not sure if it's DisplayLink, Wireless USB, or some combination of the two, but the video link seemed pretty bandwidth-starved -- full-screen video was close to unwatchable, PowerPoint transitions were kinda jerky, and even just moving windows around was pretty choppy. For such a promising -- and much-needed -- device, the HD-AiR just doesn't get it done. Atlona says the next version will have audio support and 1080p video support using the next generation of DisplayLink chips and drivers, but we'd hope the company's engineers spend a little more time in the lab polishing up their 720p framerates before they push this thing any farther. Video after the break.