Miracast - A Challenger to Apple’s AirPlay

Between my wife and me, we have three AppleTV’s, two iPhones, two iPads, a MacBook Pro and two Windows laptops. One of the single best features we use on the Apple devices is AirPlay. Sure, the AppleTV can stream virtually anything that’s already in the iCloud or in a known location on the network, but all too often, I have friends over and have something on my iPhone/iPad that I want to show them. Rather than copying it somewhere, passing the device around the room, or have several people hunching over it, I simply turn on my 50-inch plasma and stream it to the TV using AirPlay and the AppleTV. Sure, if it’s something on YouTube, I could search on the AppleTV, but frankly, I’d rather go to the dentist than use those infernal on-screen keyboards.

At one of my consulting clients, we recently equip all the meeting rooms with Sharp 80-inch screens, MacMini’s (with Bootcamp, so they can run Windows too) and AppleTV’s. Anyone sporting an iDevice or a recent Mac with Mountain Lion can stream to the TV.

When it comes to content on my PC it’s a whole other, very sorry, story. One of my laptops is a fairly new Core i7 model, and supports Intel’s WiDi. At last count, there were two devices available that would connect to a TV and neither had other compelling features. There are several proprietary solutions on the market for streaming wireless HDMI, but I don’t need any more set-top boxes, especially ones that won’t work with my friend’s devices. The Apple eco system, makes it all so simple: when my iFriends come over, anyone can throw up anything on the big screen. For my Droid/WM buddies, it’s a can of mal-connected worms.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has a plan to address this (WiDi RIP).

Wi-Fi Direct enables peer-to-peer connections between Wi-Fi devices and Miracast (Wi-Fi Display) supports display of video content from consumer electronics and mobile devices. According to ABI Research, by 2014, 66% of consumer electronics devices are expected to support Wi-Fi Direct and the majority of these will be Miracast certified too.

Major chipmakers, such as Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Marvell and Broadcom are all on board. Let’s hope Intel recognize that the writing’s on the wall for WiDi and support the open effort too.

 

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