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Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter Preview

For $600, it better be rock solid.

For $600, it better be rock solid.


  • Product Name: WirelessHD Adaptor
  • Manufacturer: Rocketfish
  • Review Date: December 07, 2009 02:25
  • MSRP: $599
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter
  • Two 4' HDMI cables
  • 2 AC adapters
  • 2 mounting brackets
  • Owner's manual

Wireless has been all the rage since... well... wires. Everyday people buy Home Theaters in a Box simply because they promise wireless rear speakers. While any true audioholic has no problem running a few wires here or there, most of the public seems to have a wire allergy. Manufacturers are quick to capitalize on this with promises of wireless connectivity for everything from rear speakers to outdoor/portable devices - and now HDMI.

HDMI is the only way to get high definition audio and video without some sort of aftermarket breakout box. This single cable solution has promised much and delivered some depending on who you talk to. The problem with taking HDMI into the wireless realm has always been bandwidth. HDMI carries a lot of information which can flummox wired connections over medium distances even with well made cables. Transporting that information wirelessly is a feat of some considerable difficulty especially with the moving target of HDMI specs which have a habit of changing every few years requiring more and more data over the same (or similar) cable.

Rocketfish has released through Best Buy (it isn't even on their website yet) their new wireless HDMI solution called WirelessHD. The WirelessHD Adapters consists of two boxes (a sending a receiving unit), two 4 foot HDMI cables (you shouldn't need more than that), two mounting brackets (for wall mounting), and two AC adapters for $600. According to Rocketfish, the WirelessHD Adapters can send a single 1080p HDMI source wirelessly up to 32-7/8' (cute, as if anyone is going to measure it to the 1/8th foot) and supports 120Hz refresh rate, Deep Color, and 7.1 audio (specified as Dolby TrueHD and DRT-HD which is probably supposed to be DTS-HD).

We recognize a number of problems with this device, the more grievous of which we'll save for last.


Let's start with the most obvious - cost. At $600, the Rocketfish is not cheap. But if you have to have wireless, you're stuck right? We did a little research. Let's say that the Rocketfish works flawlessly through obstacles up to 32' (it won't, but let's pretend). Let's also say that you need all 32' and it is line of sight. Let's also say that you have no ability to run wires yourself AND have very difficult walls (external, firebreaks, cinder blocks... the works). The most you can personally bring to the table is the ability to paint. Now, if that 32 feet line of sight equates to a 20' run up a wall, 20' run across a ceiling, and another 20' run down a wall (admittedly a worst case scenario) you would end up with a 60' run. If you are just running video (which in this case you probably would), you could probably get away with a BJC Series-1 HDMI cable from Blue Jeans for $160. Add an HDMI equalizer onto it (to combat signal loss and you're at $225 (ish). We called around to a few local handymen and asked them how much they'd charge to run a cable if they had to repair walls. The highest estimate was around $250. So with a professionally installed cable (where the cost of running one HDMI cable is no different than running multiple cables) is actually less in the worst case than the Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapters. Anything you can bring to the table or cut costs on top of that is just money in your pocket. Since we generally recommend that you run more than just a single cable when running in-wall (at least add a component video run just in case), the Rocketfish quickly loses its appeal. If you shop around, you could probably find a solution that would send an HDMI signal much farther for cheaper using an HDMI to Something Else converter (Ethernet, coax, etc.). The converter would be expensive but the runs generally to out to 300' or more. An HDMI run that long just isn't feasible.

Number of Sources

Rocketfish BackWhile we don't expect a wireless HDMI solution to carry component video or anything else, we're surprised that $600 only garners you one HDMI input and output. For such a substantial outlay, you'd expect at least two, if not more, inputs, making this a basic switching device as well. We wouldn't mind seeing multiple inputs AND outputs on such a device, but of course that would make this a much more complex product. The current product is meant to be placed between your receiver and your display (either a wall mounted unit or a projector) so a single in/out is all that is needed. Unfortunately, the people that might be willing to spend $600 on a solution like this might also require some more functionality. While Best Buy might not be the first resource for custom installers, a $600 wireless solution should probably offer more than just a single input - plus it's a great up-sell.

Power Cord

This is more of a reminder than a problem area. The problem that we've had consistently with people's perceptions of "wireless" solutions is that they are actually "wireless". They all need power in some way and the Rocketfish is no different. Since you are already running power to the display, it's a hard sell not to simultaneously run an HDMI cable at the same time. This makes the $600 a tough pill to swallow unless you have already run the cabling for component video (perhaps a number of years ago) and simply want to upgrade to HDMI.


We probably don't need to tell you to be cautious about spending $600 on this product. While we are sure someone out there can come up with a scenario where the Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapters are the only solution, we believe for most everyone running a wire is less expensive and probably much preferable to such an expensive wireless solution. The fact is that until you get everything set up, you won't know what sort of performance you're actually going to get out of a wireless box. We've tested numerous wireless items that will work great in general, but will experience interference if the microwave is on or if you are standing in the wrong place in the room. For $600, the WirelessHD better be rock solid. It should also be about 2/3rds cheaper.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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