It has been adopted by many manufacturers albeit under different names – LG calls it SmartShare, Samsung “AllShare Cast”, Sony “Screen Mirroring”, Intel “Wi-Di” and Microsoft and the Wi-Fi Alliance call it “Miracast.”
It is exclusively a screen mirroring protocol – what is on your small screen is what you see on the big screen however with certain devices – like Windows 10 – you can simply display to the second screen. Whatever device it is, a Miracast dongle should be able to turn any HDMI-equipped display device into a screen mirror.
I tested Microsoft’s new A$99.95 Wireless Display Adaptor V2 on a variety of devices – Windows 10 Mobile, Android smartphone, and tablet, Microsoft Surface Book and Pro 4, and a few older Wi-Di enabled notebooks. It worked brilliantly.
The box contains the adaptor – essentially a full-size HDMI adaptor at one end and a USB-A Male adaptor at the other – the latter is simply to provide 5V/500mA (or more) power to it.
It also has an 18cm USB-A female to USB-A male extension cable in case you need more cable to reach a USB power socket. As it only supplies voltage you can also use a USB Charger.
HDMI is very simple – plug it in, and you see the Microsoft Welcome page. Go to your device – almost any Miracast enabled device (not Mac, iPhone and iPad), find the dongle, connect and that’s it.
Within seconds you are streaming from your smaller screen to the big one. It streams in HD – I did not have a 4K TV to try it on. But the quality of the image and audio is not impaired by streaming – as it was in earlier Miracast dongles. I also tried it on a 24” HDMI equipped monitor (using an external USB charger), and it was fine.
I tested a variety of content, and it all streamed very well. International reviews suggest that it is not fast enough to stream action games – they could be right, but 1080p movies and 5.1 sound was fine.
There is a wireless display adaptor on the Microsoft Store site that will let you change some settings, put in a pin, adjust overscan, update firmware, etc.
It worked well, as promised, was very easy to set up and add screen casting to any Miracast enabled device. Some TVs already have Miracast so you may not need the adaptor! And its support for Windows 10 Mobile adds more flexibility to Continuum.
I think it would be especially good for travellers to hook up to a hotel TV (most use the HDMI port for the STB connection – simply swap it over) or for signage/display in your office or boardroom.
It will pair with whatever device you plug it into, and effective transmission distance is just under 7 metres.
Initially, the image did not fill the TV screen but setting the Surface Pro 4 to display only on the second screen fixed the 3:2 ratio to full 16:9 screen.
There are lots of wireless streaming devices – ranging from Apple AirPlay to Google Chromecast. This is good as it supports Android and Windows devices and it is fool-proof.