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Review: DVDO Air3C-Pro

The axiom that nothing's better than a copper cable for making a reliable connection is as applicable to home theater gear as it is to data networking. However, for those situations where running an HDMI cable is impractical or undesirable, the DVDO Air3C-Pro stands ready to bridge the gap with a wireless link that delivers pristine audio/video (AV) quality with ease.

In the box
The Air3C includes everything needed for most installation scenarios. The similarly sized transmitter and receiver are slightly larger than a deck of playing cards and weigh 107g (3.75oz) each. Also in the box are USB power adapters, USB cables, and a pair of HDMI cables (4 feet long each).

TV Picture Setup Guide

Simple setup
Air3C setup is as simple as connecting the HDMI cables and adding USB power to the transmitter and receiver. After the units automatically make the initial connection (aka "mate"), they are able to reconnect within a few seconds after powering up.


Mounting options
The Air3C units have two holes for affixing them onto a flat surface with screws or similar fasteners. An included clip-on bracket and adhesive Velcro pads can be used to attach the receiver to the back of a TV. Ideally, the units will be positioned within line-of-sight, but the Air's 60GHz radios can bounce signals off of a wall or ceiling to maintain a connection with slightly obscured transmitter and receiver placement.

Robert's Favorite Home Theater Gear

Main features
In addition to the Air3C-Pro, DVDO offers a more budget-friendly non-pro version. Both models feature identical wireless technology and basic performance features that include:

  • Up to 1080p60 HDMI video transmission

  • 3D video

  • Up to 7.1 channels of HD audio

  • USB powered

  • Very low latency

  • CEC passthrough

Cord Cutting Guide

What makes the Pro version unique is a software configuration tool that can confirm connection status, evaluate signal performance, and create custom device parings including whitelisting for restricting connections between specified units.

The software also features firmware update capabilities for both versions should the need arise.

How to Watch 4K

Efficiency improvement
The biggest improvement of the Air3C compared to the original DVDO Air is that it can be freed from a wall outlet! The unit still requires a separate power source, but improvements in efficiency enable it to siphon juice from any nearby USB port that is rated for at least 5V/1A output.

In the lab, the Air's receiver was powered perfectly by the four USB-equipped TVs I tested it with. Adequate USB power was also obtained when connecting the Air's transmitter to a late-model Yamaha AV receiver and PlayStation 3 game console. However, when I tested the transmitter with power from a USB port on a Samsung Blu-ray player, a link was established with the receiver but it was unable to maintain the connection during video playback. A check of the player's USB port specification indicated that it maxed out at 5V/500mA - about half the required amperage. Switching the transmitter to a wall adapter quickly restored video output from the Blu-ray player.

Signal tests
The Air's 60GHz radio system was able to pass a usable 1080p signal through a wood framed wall at a total distance of about 11 feet, but the connection wasn't 100% reliable. The included documentation clearly discourages through-wall use, and it recommends keeping the transmitter and receiver within 10 meters of each other for best performance. With uninterrupted line-of-sight, I was able to nearly double that distance.

I found it best to mount the units high enough to minimize interference from people walking between the transmitter and receiver, but the Air's signaling proved robust enough to handle almost anything short of a completely covered unit.

Quantum Dot Color

Ultra low lag
Console gamers will be pleased to note that the Air3C added a miniscule 4ms of lag to a 1080p60 video stream as measured by the Leo Bodnar LagTester - a fraction of a frame of added delay with a 60Hz video source! Given the adequate USB power output of the PlayStation and its Bluetooth wireless controllers, the Air could regulate it to a nearby closet while retaining full functionality.

AV quality
For all intents and purposes, the Air's wireless video quality is identical to that of a wired HDMI connection with a maximum claimed throughput of 4Gbps. 1080p 24Hz and 60Hz signal tests from a DVDO AVLab TPG (read my review) and Blu-ray reference materials were delivered unaltered. RGB and YCbCr444 color spaces were supported although color depth beyond the common standard of 8 bits-per-pixel appeared unsupported.

Audio transport was similarly clean when listening to the Blu-ray album Sea Change from Beck that features a 24 bit/192kHz 6-channel PCM audio track with a sustained bitrate of 27.6Mbps. Obviously, the Air had no trouble handling the less data-intensive lossless soundtracks of Blu-ray movies.

Sony 4K Media Player Review

Even better
I had nothing but praise for the original DVDO Air, and the Air3C-Pro adds impressive energy efficiency that enables it to be powered with a common USB port without degrading performance. The more affordable non-pro version of the Air costs about $100 less, but the pro version's software proved useful for determining optimal placement of the transmitter and receiver. No, nothing beats the reliability of a copper cable, but the DVDO Air3C-Pro is my recommended way of doing a 1080p HDMI link wirelessly.

Reader Comments (4)

Hi, Robert: Yours was a fine review. It covered everything that almost any potential consumer might want to know. The review was well-written and cogent.
I don't see much of you anywhere. Are you still with Revision 3?

Hi Bill, thank you for the compliment! I'm currently not scheduled for any projects with Revision3, and I'm focused on creating content for my website and providing video calibration services to select clientele. I am considering new viewer-sponsored content...gauging audience interest is my next task!

October 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill Wardino

Would really like to know how it really works with gaming. I'd love to put my computer into the floor joists of my house and then just game with a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse and wireless display at my recliner

Greetings Walter! Gaming performance with the DVDO Air3C is excellent - it added only 4ms delay to the TVs I tested it with! This works out to a fraction of a frame with 60Hz input.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMasterRanger

Hello Robert,

Do you know of any wireless device(s) like the above that are rated for outdoor use?
(I would love to put a TV under my upper deck off the master... I already have the outlet for power but I do not want to have to run an HDMI cable out to it.)

On a related but separate note are there any TV's that have a wireless link?

Keep up the great work!


Hi Rick. I'm not aware of a wireless HDMI kit specifically designed for outdoor use. If you believe the cover provided by the deck is enough to protect a LCD over the long term (rain, snow, heat, humidity), then I'd be comfortable attaching the Air3C receiver to the back of the TV. Keep in mind that the Air3C isn't designed to push signals through walls - more a line-of-sight system.

October 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Hey Robert,

I was wondering if you are still using the DVDO and what you're thoughts were. I have been using IOGears wireless HDMI option, but it just died on me. The DVDO seams cheaper, but still as effective. Had you had a chance to test IOGears wireless HDMI unit?


Hi Dan! I've not had a chance to test out the IOGear wireless HDMI product. However, the DVDO Air3 has been flawless. I have an original DVDO Air that's still going strong too.

July 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDan

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