NOTE: THIS SERIES STARTED IN DECEMBER OF 2019 AND FINISHED IN AUGUST OF 2020. NEW TECHNOLOGY WILL SURELY BE RELEASED AFTER THESE DATES SO PLEASE DO NOT RELY SOLEY ON THESE ARTICLES TO MAKE YOUR DECISION
Here are all of my reviews for devices to stream in the classroom. While I know there are others out there, these seem to be the best known and are devices that are easily deployable (as opposed to a Crestron solution). Here is the rundown in the order I reviewed them.
Streaming in the classroom: Apple TV – This device is hard to beat. The streaming quality is pretty good and the price is difficult to beat ($150 – $180 USD). The only downside is it only works with Apple computers and devices. If you are in a Windows environment look elsewhere. Also, there is no real way to manage many of them all at once.
Streaming in the classroom: Mersive Solstice – I had high hopes from this product. On paper it ticked all the boxes and much more. However, while testing it failed to really live up to many of its claims. That coupled with its high price tag (north of $1000 USD) made this a poor option for us. We did like how easy it was to set up and the many features it had and the fact that a person could manage a fleet of these located on multiple campuses.
Streaming in the classroom: Barco WePresent – Not bad, not bad at all. This comes in around the $500-650 price range and worked pretty well. Easy to deploy and Barco does have a way to manage many of them. The quality of streaming video was OK, not great, but passable. For a BYOD environment this is a good choice.
Streaming in the classroom: BenQ – Instashow – In my opinion, this was the best performing device period. You do have to plug a dongle into your computer and it takes a little more than a minute for the connection to be ready, but once it is connected it is impressive. There was no lag between my screen and what was being displayed. As well as a high frame rate for a buttery smooth experience. The downside it costs more than $1000 USD. However, a vendor we work with has told us that we can pick these up for around $650. It is BenQ’s special education rate.
Streaming in the classroom: Airtame 2 – I really, really wanted to like this. We have a few Airtames (1st gen) and they are pretty useful and handy. The second generation is definitely more powerful and better in just about every way. The problem starts to show its head with its proprietary cord and its “Y” shape to it. I’ll not get into here, check out the post for the details. I do love the fact that it has built in management wihtout any extra cost and a number of its features, namely it can double as digital signage, but with a cost of $400 and then another $120 for a POE adapter gets you really questioning whether this is worth it.
Streaming in the classroom: Barco ClickShare – This is the device that really caught everyone’s attention. It is secure, works with all devices and like the Instashow requires a dongle and creates its own private network meaning you will have a rock solid connection. It works great, but streaming video is not very good. I don’t think it was ever meant for that, but more for showing charts, graphs, documents and presentations. It’s price is also over $1000 per unit.
Streaming in the classroom: Microsoft Wireless Adapter – If you work in a school dominated by Windows 10 machines then check this out. At $50 it is the cheapest solution on the list and pretty darn easy to deploy. I only wish there was a way to manage them all at once, but for $50 you get surprisingly solid connections and streaming video isn’t too shabby at all.