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Terk Wireless TV Transmitter - Model LF-30S

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Terk LF-30S Wireless A/V Transmitter

Terk LF-30S Wireless A/V Transmitter

Leapfrog by Terk
Terk's LF-30S is a wireless TV transmitter that could be a solution for getting a composite video signal from point A to point B in the event that cables aren't feasible, like sending a DVD player signal to a TV in the garage without moving the DVD player into the garage.

For my money, I found the LF-30S to be capable of transmitting a signal with success. There were limitations to its use, but overall it was a nice product.

Updated June 2009: This review was done in 2005. Terk has since updated the design but the function is still relatively the same as the one I reviewed for this article.

Product Overview

The Terk Leapfrog LF-30S is a wireless TV transmitter that, according to manufacturer's specifications, will transmit a composite video signal up to 150'. In the box you get a transmitter, receiver, IR extender, power adapters and cables. The transmitter and receiver need external power to work.

The key point to know is that the transmitter only connects to a composite video component. The receiver, however, will connect to a component with either RF/coaxial or composite video.

Installation and IR Extender

The LF-30S is easy to setup. The back panels on the transmitter and receiver are clearly labeled, which makes setup easy.

One nice feature with the LF-30S was the IR extender, which allowed me to operate my satellite receiver from another room. The way it works is cool. You plug the IR extender into the LF-30S transmitter and then put the extender in front of the transmitting device's IR sensor. This is a convenient feature because it makes sense to want to operate the device you are transmitting while watching it.

The IR extender worked for me. I used it with a DVD player and satellite receiver with success. Both components were in different rooms from the viewing device and I was able to control them without problems. It was as though the device was in the same room as the remote control. The key is to locate the remote control sensor and place the IR extender in front of it.

Transmitting and Receiving Signals

While I didn’t have room to test the 150' range, I was able to receive a good signal from over 60' away with a series of walls in between the transmitter and receiver. Essentially, the signal went from one end of the house to the other.

I used the LF-30S to transmit video/audio from a DVD player, satellite receiver and digital camcorder. I was concerned that picture/audio quality would be sacrificed by sending the signal through the open air. However, any concerns were quashed because the picture and audio were just as good as if played without the LF-30S.

I didn’t get much disturbance in normal use of the LF-30S. When transmitting the signal around corners without adjusting the reception, the picture was slightly scrambled and the audio had a light buzz. However, most disturbances were easily corrected by adjusting the antennas on the transmitter and receiver. Antenna adjustment was easy, but might require two people – one to adjust the transmitting antenna, the other to offer feedback when an acceptable signal is acquired.

The only time I didn’t get any signal disturbance without adjusting the antennas was when the transmitter and receiver were in the ‘line of sight’ of each other.

Downside - Issues To Address

There was a downside to the LF-30S. While the receiver connected to a device via coaxial and composite, the transmitter only connected by way of composite.

Since the unit operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency, it will conflict with many cordless telephones (not cell phones). During the product test, I was not able to get a dial tone on my cordless phone while the LF-30S was turned on. I did receive incoming calls, but could not answer them on the cordless phone because of the interference. This is something to seriously consider. If the LF-30S is only turned on when in use, the conflict with cordless phones would be minimal.

Also, I had some problems with the reception, especially when moving around the receiver. The disturbance was minimal and ended when the movement ceased.

Another glitch was with the audio. At times, it was difficult to get rid of the low buzz on the sound. The noise wasn’t overpowering, but could be annoying to some people if not corrected by adjusting the antennas.

Updated June 2009: Home wireless computer networks have increased since I published this review in 2005. While I wasn't able to test this issue back then, I have noticed a trend developing in user reviews published on other websites regarding conflicts with the LF-30S and wireless computer networks.

This conflict may or may not affect you as it could be a result of operator error. However, it's mentioned enough in user reviews to warrant mentioning in this article.

Conclusion

Overall, I was impressed with the LF-30S. I can see how this device would come in handy for those wanting to watch television or listen to music in a place that isn’t equipped to do so otherwise, like in a garage, by a pool or in a room not wired for cable/satellite. Other uses could be listening to satellite radio in the front yard, running computer audio to a stereo on the other side of the house or sending a signal from a camera to a monitor, like for weddings, parties or security issues.

The bottom line is that this product works as good, if not better, than I expected.

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