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Will Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter kill Chromecast?

  • On September 25, 2014

Microsoft this week introduced the Microsoft Wireless Display adapter, which appears to be a direct competitor to Google’s Chromecast. The device works on both Windows and Android platforms.

The Microsoft Wireless Display adapter enables users to see what’s on their smartphones, laptops, tablets and project these items wirelessly to their HDTVs. The adapter comes with built-in Miracast support, which allows users to display anything from their mobile device.

Miracast is a technology that allows devices to connect to one another and display images to their screens. Basically, it mirrors what users can see on their mobile devices and projects them to their TVs or screens. The technology only works on Miracast-enabled devices. Some problems that faced the Miracast technology in the past was the lack of compatible devices. Over the years, Miracast has had a slew of compatible devices enter the market: Asus, GSI, Rockbirds, Measy… etc. But none of these carry the weight that the Microsoft brand does. 

The Microsoft Wireless Display adapter comes with both a HDMI connection and a USB connection. It relies on Wi-Fi Direct, which means that no actual internet connection is needed; As long as you have the adapter, a TV (or compatible screen) and a Miracast-enabled device, streaming from your device to your TV should work seamlessly. The devices can talk to each other directly.

In a hands-on demo session, CNET reported minimal complications and lag, so it seems like the adapter is pretty easy to use. But can it beat out Google’s Chromecast?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft is not competing with Google by cost, as the price of the Wireless Display adapter is almost double that of Chromecast. Microsoft is relying on the Miracast mirroring technology, instead of the straight streaming technology that other companies like Google, Netflix, Apple and Roku have.

This could be huge for Microsoft’s mobile device market. Every Microsoft device that comes with Windows 8 or higher (including Windows Phone) is Miracast-enabled. Microsoft is pushing its mobile devices and now it’s got another reason to do so.

For users interested in more than streaming apps to their TV – like mirroring entire PowerPoint presentations to a TV or games from their Windows Phones – the Wireless Display adapter seems to be the device to use. It could potentially change the game for streaming devices like Chromecast.

The Microsoft Wireless Display adapter is now available for pre-order