What Are the Best wePresent Alternatives for Classroom Wireless Presentation?

  • BenQ
  • 2021-06-28

With Barco’s decision to discontinue its popular WePresent wireless screen mirroring system, many education institutions are looking for a reliable alternative from a trusted brand that costs less than $1000. The WePresent system utilized the school’s network and WiFi infrastructure that enabled a lower initial purchasing price but could burden the school network with higher bandwidth usage as well as potential security threats to the network. This article will look at three leading alternatives to the Barco WePresent for education institutions based on market share data from Futuresource.

  • Barco ClickShare CS-200
  • BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
  • Airtame2

The Big Question – Button or Wi-Fi Classroom Presentation System?

The Barco WePresent system was one of the first wireless presentation systems designed around the concept of using an application installed on a notebook to wirelessly mirror their screen to a networked receiver connected to a display. The Airtame2 system uses a similar design. The Barco ClickShare and BenQ InstaShow systems use a different approach, where they have a plug-in button that encrypts and wirelessly transmits to the display over a closed network. Each system has its advantages so we will take a look at how each system stacks up compared to the WePresent on critical questions typically asked by IT managers.   

How Easy Are They To Set Up And Install?

Setting up a classroom wireless screen mirroring correctly is a key part of the IT department’s mission to ensure that the system works. How easy is each of these systems and what resources are required to deploy a school-wide system on campus?

 

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E is the easiest WePresent alternative to set up and operate. The button connector means there are no apps or network changes needed to get it working.  You simply connect the receiver to the display and set the button on the teacher's desk.  You can check out how the Commercial Integrator magazine testing team was able to set up the system in minutes – without any IT support. 

 

Barco Clickshare CS-200 is Barco’s WePresent alternative and is relatively simple to install. Like the InstaShow, it uses a button connector to the teacher or student notebook, so there is no extensive network configuration needed to get it working.  The biggest installation difference is that Barco uses an application that is typically loaded on the user's notebook to use the buttons.  Like any app, this requires deployment time and maintenance to ensure users have the latest versions to minimize security threats.  

 

Airtame2 is the lowest cost alternative and but is the most complex to deploy on the school network. There are specific ports that IT managers will need to configure, which require NTP servers, specific ping times, and available bandwidth.  Airtame also recommends that IT managers prioritize Airtame traffic using QoS tools.  Like the WePresent and ClickShare, the Airtame typically uses an app loaded on the computer to connect to the display, which will require deployment, maintenance, and training on how to use specific features. 

How Much Bandwidth Is Required to Operate Each Classroom?

After COVID-19, classroom bandwidth is a precious commodity.  Between video conferencing software and the large number of student Chromebooks, school networks are working harder than ever.   The WePresent and Airtame2 systems typically rely on the school’s network infrastructure to wirelessly mirror a teacher or student's device on the display.  Some features, such as split-screen, can require more network bandwidth to be used in a classroom.  This forces IT managers to choose between network bandwidth usage – and the quality of wireless streaming.

 

By contrast, the BenQ InstaShow WDC20E and Barco ClickShare CS-200 are designed to operate without using the school network - freeing bandwidth for more important learning activities. Here is an overview of how these WePresent alternatives stack up on network bandwidth.

  Barco WePresent W2100 BenQ InstaShow WDC20E Barco ClickShare CS-200  Airtame2
 
Maximum resolution
Barco WePresent W2100
1080p
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Up to 4K
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
1080p
Airtame2
1080p
 
Maximum Video Frame Rate
Barco WePresent W2100
30 FPS
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
60 FPS
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
30 FPS
Airtame2
30 FPS
 
Split Screen Support
Barco WePresent W2100
4-Way Split Screen
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
4-Way Split Screen
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
2-Way Split Screen
Airtame2
No Split Screen
 
Network Bandwidth per display
Barco WePresent W2100
Up to 12 Mbs
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
No Network bandwidth used
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
No Network bandwidth used
Airtame2
Up to 13 Mbs

How Easy Is It for Teachers and Students to Use?

BenQ InstaShow WDC20E and Barco Clickshare CS-200 are the easiest WePresent alternative for teachers and students to operate. The button connects to the notebook using the HDMI port (BenQ) or the USB port (ClickShare).  Once connected, you simply tap the button to mirror your screen. 

 

Airtame2 uses both an app and WiFi network connection to use the system.  The notebook needs to be logged onto the same network as the receiver, and then the display needs to be selected from the app.   There are several settings that teachers may need to adjust, such as resolution and audio settings to reduce bandwidth usage.  

What Classroom Devices Can Be Used with Each System?

Every wireless presentation system supports mainstream notebooks, mobile devices, and tablets.  But what about wirelessly streaming Chromebooks, document cameras, STEM devices, classroom television systems, STEM devices, and media players?  Here is how the WePresent alternatives handle different classroom devices.

The BenQ InstaShow WDC20E can be used with any device that outputs a standard HDMI signal – enabling it to wirelessly connect with an HDCP copy-protected classroom television receiver.  With split-screen technology, you can combine images on these devices with other documents for increased classroom productivity.

  Barco WePresent W2100 BenQ InstaShow WDC20E Barco ClickShare CS-200  Airtame2
 
Chromebooks
Barco WePresent W2100
Mirror Opp app, Google Cast 
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes - HDMI
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
Google Cast
Airtame2
Airtame App
 
Document Camera
Barco WePresent W2100
No
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes - HDMI
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
No
Airtame2
No
 
Digital Microscope
Barco WePresent W2100
No
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes - HDMI
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
No
Airtame2
No
 
STEM Device (Raspberry Pi)
Barco WePresent W2100
No
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes - HDMI
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
No
Airtame2
Via Linux app
 
Television or IP Receiver Box
Barco WePresent W2100
No
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes – HDMI, Supports HDCP
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
No
Airtame2
No
 
Blu-Ray or Media Player
Barco WePresent W2100
No
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes – HDMI, Supports HDCP
Barco ClickShare CS-200 
No
Airtame2
No

How Much Do They Cost Over Time?

The wePresent system was a highly popular and affordable solution with a purchase price under $1000. The BenQ InstaShow WDC20C has a single unit price of $699 – and no recurring licensing fees or subscription, and special pricing options if you are buying a large quantity. Let’s take a look at some of these costs using the COSN Total Cost of Ownership model which calculates identified recurring costs, and estimated labor costs (IT managers don’t work for free) to support these devices.

  Barco WePresent W2100 BenQ InstaShow WDC20E Barco ClickShare CS-200 Airtame2
 
Bandwidth per classroom
Barco WePresent W2100
Up to 18 Mbps
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
None
Barco ClickShare CS-200
None
Airtame2
Up to 13 Mbps
 
Deployment effort
Barco WePresent W2100
Network & App Deployment
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Plug into Display
Barco ClickShare CS-200
App Deployment
Airtame2
Network & App Deployment
 
Architecture
Barco WePresent W2100
WiFi with App
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Button
Barco ClickShare CS-200
Button with App
Airtame2
WiFi with App
 
Document Camera Support
Barco WePresent W2100
No
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes
Barco ClickShare CS-200
No
Airtame2
No
 
Split Screen
Barco WePresent W2100
Four Way
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Four Way
Barco ClickShare CS-200
Two Way
Airtame2
None
 
Central Management Software
Barco WePresent W2100
Yes
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
Yes
Barco ClickShare CS-200
Yes
Airtame2
Yes
 
Published Cost
Barco WePresent W2100
$550
BenQ InstaShow WDC20E
$699 – for Education only
Barco ClickShare CS-200
$1750
Airtame2
$399

Bottom Line – Try It Out Risk-Free and Come To Your Own Conclusions

The new InstaShow WDC20E is a very attractive WePresent alternative for many reasons. It delivers a classroom wireless presentation system that eliminates the need to manage bandwidth requirements, and deploy software on each user notebook.  The InstaShow is easy to install and setup without IT support and enables a teacher or student to connect to any device in just seconds – without any software hassles.

 

How well will it work in your classrooms?  Just fill out the form below and we’ll send you one to try out for 30 days – and if you like it you can save $200 when you buy it.