Continuing on from “Slow Networks Experiment 1: Over-Air Tranmission,” “Slow Networks Experiments 2 & 3: VHF Radio Transmission,” and “Slow Networks Experiment 4: Videotelephony,” this time we played with a strange and relatively recent entrant to the home security market: the X-10 Wireless video sender which we believe came out in about 1998. This is a puzzling device that enables a kind of very short range over-air transmission and that also…does not seem to work particularly well (a polite way of saying that it seems profoundly wasteful) and would demand that a consumer invest in one device per room since it does not actually seem capable of transmitting through walls, contrary to what it promises to do. According to the manual, the entire kit includes a transmitter base unit which connects to “a DSS receiver and a receiver unit which should connect to a TV in another room. The Video Sender Transmitter converts the A/V signal from your DSS into a radio signal and transmits it (even through walls) to the Video Sender Receiver unit. The Video Sender Receiver converts the signals back to A/V signals which are fed through a cable to your TV’s A/V input jacks.”
9 January 2021
Media Archaeology Lab, 1320 Grandview Ave., Boulder, CO 80309
Lori Emerson, libi striegl
very short range over-air transmission
Lumix GH3 Panasonic Camera
Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter
HDMI to AV adapter with power cable
X-10 Wireless video sender with 12 volt power cable (2.4 gz) model VT30A
X-10 Wireless video receiver with power cable model (2.4 Gz) VR30A
15” Magnavox C101 CRT Television (cathode ray tube)
Two EKOOS Walkie Talkies Two Way Radios
We connected the camera to the X-10 wireless sender via mini HDMI / HDMI / RCA cable. We turned on the camera, the wireless sender, and the wireless receiver. We tuned the receiver to channel 4; we tuned the TV to channel 4. To experiment with the 2.4 gz broadcast, we then used a pair of EKOOS Walkie Talkies Two Way Radios to interrupt the signal to the TV.
If the manual is to be believed, the primary use of the X-10 is for broadcasting “your favorite TV shows and movies on any television in your house;” but it’s also clearly for home security. As we noted above, we were not able to get the device to transmit to the room directly below us and so it seems to us an early entrant into the world of “Chindogu“…if it weren’t for the way it is also trying to be a (poorly functioning, fear-mongering) home security device.