Tech Talk Live Blog

Actiontec ScreenBeam Pro: Wireless Display in the Classroom

Dr. Jason Murray

While on a recent call with Microsoft, the specialist representative suggested that I look into Actiontec’s ScreenBeam Pro solution for wireless display.  Our district primarily runs Microsoft Windows devices with a few Android tablets for the young students.  Many of our teachers requested wireless display like the Apple TV.  Our district devices will not connect to the Apple TV, and we were wary of placing a slew of devices on our wireless network.  Additionally, we needed a reliable and easy-to-use device for wireless display.

I contacted Actiontec directly, and they answered all of my questions.  I discussed the ScreenBeam Pro with one of their lead engineers, and discovered that they assisted in writing the standards in WiDi and Miracast.  More so, Microsoft utilizes the ScreenBeam Pro when testing a laptop or tablet’s wireless.  If the device can reliable connect to the ScreenBeam Pro than the device passes that piece of Windows 8.1 certification process.  Additionally, the ScreenBeam Pro has an education firmware designed specifically for the classroom that allows for custom room naming and specific security key allocation.

​Several features caught our attention and solidified our decision to adopt the solution.  First, the ScreenBeam Pro does not leverage your district’s wireless, instead it forms an ad hoc network with the device.  This feature keeps the district’s wireless network clean of large video/audio traffic and creates a much stronger connection to the device.  In essence, the laptop or tablet forms two wireless connections: one with the district’s wireless network and one with the ScreenBeam Pro.  Both connections are strong; the second connection does not slow the device down from surfing the Internet.  Secondly, the pairing of a device to the ScreenBeam Pro is a very simple process that is illustrated on the projector screen until the user connects to it.  Once the initial pairing has been made, the device remembers the ScreenBeam Pro and the user does not have to re-enter the PIN, making it even easier for the user to connect.  Lastly, the price is affordable.  The ScreenBeam Pro has education pricing that is not always listed on vendors’ websites.  Please contact the sales representative below for educational pricing and possible discounts.

We tested the ScreenBeam Pro with great success on Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Windows 8.1 devices and on two types of Android tablets: ASUS Transformer Pads and the Lenovo IdeaPads.  I have also connected and presented to the ScreenBeam Pro from my Android Droid Max phone.  The ScreenBeam Pro works well in classrooms, boardrooms, and conference rooms.  For Windows 7 devices, Actiontec makes a USB dongle that interacts with the ScreenBeam Pro.  We are finishing our installation of about 150 ScreenBeam Pros in our elementary schools and plan to install them in our middle and high schools next year.  The ScreenBeam Pro connects to the projector either via HDMI or VGA with an adapter.  The installation is quick, the connection is easy, and there is no unnecessary traffic on the district’s wireless network which makes this an excellent solution for school districts.​

For educational pricing and possible discounts, contact Donald Beatty, Inside Sales Manager, 719.884.8324, cell – 719.351.2517.

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