Belkin Screencast AV4 - Great Way To Create An Elegant Entertainment Environment

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Oh goodness, this was unexpected. The invitation for our group test asked for 'NAS boxes for streaming media' so naturally enough we expected to receive some sort of box with a network connection and an ability to add a hard drive or two. Belkin took the wind from our sails when it sent us the Screencast AV4, which doesn't have any storage, and neither does it have any form of networking.

Belkin Screencast AV4

Belkin Screencast AV4

Instead the Screencast AV4 offers an alternative to those annoying HDMI cables that hang from your wall mounted HDTV and cause offence to the tidy-minded.

Here's how it works: the Screencast AV4 consists of two boxes with a transmitter that looks like a small Wi-Fi router and a receiver that looks like a very small router. Both units are powered by a small transformer that is mounted on a mains plug. This resemblance to a pair of routers isn't entirely a coincidence, partly because Belkin manufactures a large number of routers and also because the two units are linked together with a 5GHz Wi-Fi signal.

The transmitter has four HDMI connections on the rear of the unit, along with a power button and a wireless pairing button. You connect your set-top box, Blu-ray player, media streamer and games consoles to the four HDMI ports, but there is no need to position these media devices below your TV. If you like, you can move your gadgets to a discreet cupboard at the side of the room.

Belkin Screencast AV4

Belkin Screencast AV4

The second task is to mount the wireless receiver on the wall behind your HDTV by hanging it on a couple of (supplied) screws, and then you connect them together with a single HDMI cable (which is also supplied).

Once you've plugged in the four-way IR remote receiver, you're ready to rock and roll. You use your TV remote to switch to the HDMI input that is connected to the Screencast AV4, turn on the two Belkin units, click the buttons to pair the devices and wait for the Belkin menu to pop up on your TV.

The Belkin credit card remote is used to switch between the four inputs at the transmitter end, so the Screencast AV4 also acts as a four-way HDMI switch.

You don't have to mess around with wireless protocols or anything tricky like that, as the transmitter and receiver are paired at the factory and use a proprietary 5GHz wireless protocol to communicate.

Belkin Screencast AV4

The claimed range is 30 metres, but you are likely to find that the wireless link actually works up to 15 metres when you have other devices causing interference. It's impressive to see that the Screencast AV4 delivers exactly the same picture quality as a regular HDMI cable, and that's even true with a Full HD Blu-ray movie or fast-moving game.

So how does the Belkin Screencast AV4 count as a media streamer? Well, let's say that your PS3, Xbox 360 or WD TV Live is connected to the internet using HomePlug (that's what we do in Casa Waldock) and you use one of these devices to watch YouTube or to download movies from Netflix or LoveFilm. In this case, the Belkin wireless HDMI kit acts as the final link in the chain, and it does a very good job in the process.

Unfortunately, there is a downside: the price is rather high. Amazon or Maplin will charge $433 while Richer Sounds demands a hefty $481, and that's a lot of money to tidy up your HDMI cables.


·         Price: $433

·         Manufacturer: Belkin

·         Website:

·         Required spec: HDTV with HDMI


·         Quality: 8

·         Value: 5

·         Overall: 6


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