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What are the Best Miracast Alternatives for Wireless Screen Mirroring?

A breakdown of different ways to wirelessly connect to a display using Miracast

BenQ
2020/07/28

What is Miracast?

Miracast is a wireless communication standard that enables Android and Windows users to wirelessly connect to a properly equipped display. Introduced by the WiFi Alliance in 2012, Miracast has been growing in popularity, and many IT managers are familiar with the technology as they look to transition away from traditional cables. This article will look at the tradeoffs between different Miracast products for use as a wireless HDMI System for a corporate meeting room.

What are Miracast Alternatives?

Option #1 – Use a free (or inexpensive) Miracast app on your device

If you have a smart TV – and a Windows or Android device, you can either cast directly from your device – or download a number of inexpensive or free apps onto your device. There are a number of solutions on sites like Amazon – and while they can all do screen mirroring – it can be a challenge to implement effectively for use in a meeting room.

For example, apps may restrictions on third-party software on your device, such as VMWare, that would need to be uninstalled for the app to work. This is often why many have poor Amazon ratings.

Also, many of these apps may lack security features such as encryption – or may not work on all types of devices. Many of these also require the display (projector /TV/touch screen) to be able to receive a Miracast signal – requiring the purchase of a Miracast dongle. You may also want to check the reviews associated with the app to see how easy (or not) others found it to set up and use.

Option #2 – Use a wireless HDMI screen mirroring system based entirely on Miracast

 

Since many companies use displays without integrated Smart TV software in meeting rooms, one inexpensive alternative is the use of Miracast with a Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor. For $39, this plugs into the HDMI and USB port on a TV or projector and enables you to send a Miracast signal from up to 23 feet away.

Another popular solution is the BenQ QCast Video Streaming Dongle , which is designed to run on many of the popular BenQ projectors and can wirelessly stream your videos, movies, documents, websites, and live video sessions to any display with 1080p image quality and smooth 30fps video.

While these are inexpensive Miracast alternative solutions, they may not be what you need for collaboration meeting rooms where BYOD devices are common. While the QCast supports all major types of computers and mobile devices via an app, there is no compatibility with any Mac OS X or iOS devices with the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, and only limited support for some Android devices.One additional consideration is that it is difficult to ensure that wireless content is not being seen or recorded by an unauthorized employee or hacker ,since the wireless transmissions may be able to be received outside the conference room or huddle space.

 

Want to learn more about wireless screen mirroring? Download the IT managers guide.

Option #3 – Wireless HDMI Screen Mirroring systems designed for meeting rooms

While Miracast can be a great technology to wirelessly mirror your computer screen to a meeting room display, the wireless HDMI presentation systems that are actually designed for meetings are the most popular ones according to BYOD devices Futuresource . These systems are more expensive than free apps or inexpensive dongles – but deliver a number of unique benefits that are needed in typical for a typical meeting room or huddle space. These include

  • Instant switching between multiple presenters
  • Instant switching between presenters
  • Support for major notebook and mobile operating systems
  • Support for media players, cameras, and other non-computer devices that output HDMI
  • Content and network security protection
  • Split-screen display for multiple presenters

The most popular systems such as the Barco ClickShare or BenQ InstaShow can use dedicated buttons , as well as wireless apps - and support Miracast as well as other streaming protocols such as AirPlay for Mac OS and iOS devices to make connecting to the display as easy as possible.

Meet BenQ InstaShow

The BenQ InstaShow WDC-10 is an example of an entry-level wireless HDMI system designed for meeting room collaboration. You plug in a “button” which is a wireless HDMI transmitter to your notebook or mobile device, and with one tap – start presenting to the screen. The system is very easy to use and doesn’t require any apps or special software to be loaded onto a presenters device . It comes with two buttons and a tabletop holder to keep everything neat.

The InstaShow S has all the features most companies would ever want in a wireless HDMI meeting room system. With 4K resolution output and the ability to split the screen four ways – the system is ideal for brainstorming and collaborative work. Also – it supports Miracast directly, so if you want to present without a button, you can mirror your screen directly from a Windows device (or via Airplay on the Mac). One other advantage of both systems is that they can support non-PC devices such as media players, digital cameras, and Linux based development boards that don’t support Miracast – and are extremely secure .

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Miracast Alternatives Comparison

Here is a fair comparison of how different Miracast alternatives break down by feature and price. While there are over 40 different wireless presentation systems available today, these are solid meeting room screen mirroring solutions from the popular worldwide brands according to Futuresource.

  Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter BenQ InstaShow Barco ClickShare CS-100 BenQ InstaShow S
 

Primary Connection Type

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

Miracast App

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

Miracast Wifi

Button

Barco ClickShare CS-100

Button & App

Button & App
Miracast

 

Display Requirements

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

Must be a smart TV or WiFi equipped display

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

HDMI and USB port on the display

Any HDMI 1.3 display

Barco ClickShare CS-100

Any HDMI 1.3 display

Any HDMI 1.3 display

 

Maximum Resolution

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

N/A

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

1080p - up to 30 fps

1080p - up to 60 fps

Barco ClickShare CS-100

1080p - up to 30 fps

4K up to 60 fps

 

Max # of presenters

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

1

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

1

16
Barco ClickShare CS-100

8

32

 

Split Screen

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring
No
Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

No

No

Barco ClickShare CS-100

No

Yes - up to four presenters

 

Notebook Device Support

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

Windows, Android

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
Windows, Android,

Windows, Mac, Chromebooks

Barco ClickShare CS-100

Windows, Mac

Windows, Mac, Chromebooks
 

Mobile Device Support

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

Android, Phones/Tablet

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
Android, Phones/Tablet
Phones and Tablets with USB-C and HDMI out
Miracast
Airplay
InstaShare app
Barco ClickShare CS-100
iOS and Android via ClickShare App

Phones and Tablets with USB-C and HDMI out
Miracast
Airplay
InstaShare app

 

Other Device Support

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

None

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

None

Any HDMI 1.4 device such as Blu-Ray, Document cameras, TV boxes, Raspberry Pi

Barco ClickShare CS-100

None

Any HDMI 1.4 device such as Blu-Ray, Document cameras, TV boxes, Raspberry Pi

 

Amazon Rating (Nov. 2019)

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

3.6

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

3.9

4.8

Barco ClickShare CS-100

4.3

New

 

MSRP

Firstswap Miracast Screen Mirroring

Free - with ads

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

$69

$999

Barco ClickShare CS-100

$999

$1,499

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