Panasonic HD-PLC for $149 at Fry’s

CNet’s review of the Panasonic HD-PLC Powerline adapter makes it sound pretty good. The HD-PLC is one of the new generation of powerline Ethernet adapters that boasts much higher theoretical throughput than their predecessors. While I don’t believe 190Mbps, anything at or above about 10Mbps is pretty decent and, on top of everything else, it won’t clog my airwaves. I’ve got my home theater PC downstairs near the TV and my high-speed connection up in my “computer room”. Right now, my HTPC communicates with the Internet via a wireless USB adapter and, while it works well enough, there are times that it loses the connection. Going to a powerline connection will hopefully smooth the overall data rates.

Fry’s has them on sale this weekend for $149 — note that this is for 2 adapters, not one (BL-PA100KTA as opposed to BL-PA100A)! I’ll let you know if I pick one up and how it goes.

Update, 9/23/2006
I stopped by on my way home from work yesterday and picked this little bugger up. Installed it today and it’s working like a charm! Absolutely NO setup required — plug them in, attach an Ethernet cable and, voila! And, believe it or not, the Internet radio streams my HTPC is receiving are rock solid, even though they’re coming in at a max of 192K. Guess my wireless would drop out occasionally and that’s what caused me to lose the stream every so often. It hasn’t happened once today.

These were marked $179 for the pairso I only saved about $30 but, for those of you that know me well, that just makes me like ’em that much better 🙂 A single adapter is marked $119 so, if I wanted, I could get two more for another $149. The “starter kit” comes with a master and slave preconfigured for each other. That’s not really a big deal because it’s really easy to configure them but it makes for a great plug and play experience like I had. How would I use another master/slave combination? I wouldn’t. I’d reconfigure the new master to be a slave to the current master and also re-slave the new slave to the current master. You can have up to 16 units total on your circuit and you can hook them to hubs or switches or anything — just use it like a regular Ethernet drop. Matter of fact, when I was a Fry’s, I picked up a small 5-port switch at Fry’s and hooked my adapter to it and then hooked my HTPC to the switch (man, I coulda used that earlier in the week when I was trying to get my wireless cards working under Linux on my laptops!).

I don’t get the maximum throughput — you can hit a button on the adaptor and it’ll measure the speed between it and the master — the top range is > 30Mbps and I get the range just below that which I figure is probably 20-30Mbps. It’s plenty fast for me.

Bottom line: I like it! Highly recommended.

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