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What Is Screen Mirroring?

  • BenQ
  • 2019-07-24
And why nearly every meeting room should have one after COVID-19

What is screen mirroring?

Screen-mirroring technology can wirelessly connect your notebook, phone, tablet, or media player screen to a display – eliminating the need to run cables in your classroom or meeting room. Screen mirroring is an essential tool to safely facilitate face to face collaboration, display your content during a presentation, and instantly switch presenters no matter where they are located in the room.

 

This article will teach you what screen mirroring is, what it isn't, and what features you may want to consider for your meeting room or classroom use.

What screen mirroring is not

A Google search for screen mirroring will deliver a vast array of results– many of which are not “screen mirroring” solutions. Futuresource recently began covering this emerging category – and here are a few examples of what is not a screen mirroring system.

Cable Based Control Systems

The White House Situation Room has one of the most famous examples of a cable-based system for collaboration. The President taps the control screen in front of him to select the content (or source) he wants to see – and which screen or screens he wants to watch it. These systems from AMX, Crestron, and others are ideal for collaboration – but expensive to install – and maintain - and is a good example of an high performance non-wireless screen mirroring systems.

Online Video Conferencing Systems

Skype, GoToMeeting, and WebEx are popular online collaboration systems where subscribers and visitors use the cloud to share screens, live video, and audio during a collaboration session. True screen mirroring systems are local – enabling you to keep your confidential information inside the meeting room – without having to connect to the internet.

Streaming and Casting Systems

Popular consumer solutions such as Apple TV or Chromecast adapters technically can be used to share content from a computer – but they were meant to download content that is already on the internet to your display. Screen mirroring systems use your content that you use for sharing with your meeting room or lecture hall.

How screen mirroring works

 

To wirelessly share your PowerPoint, Keynote, or spreadsheet to a projector screen from your computer, media player, or mobile device – you need two things.

 

First, your screen mirroring system has to capture and wirelessly transmit the video signal that normally goes through a cable. Then there is a receiver that takes that signal and changes it back to an HDMI signal your TV, projector, or interactive display can understand. Screen mirroring systems use a variety of ways to transmit and receive the data, and understanding the tradeoffs are important.

 

Screen mirroring protocols such as Apple AirPlay and Windows Miracast are built into most computers and many mobile devices. If you have a compatible receiver attached to your display, you can use these protocols to mirror your screen wirelessly. The problem is an Apple TV will only work with AirPlay – and many Miracast devices won’t work with your Mac.

 

Niether Miracast or Airplay will work with devices such as digital signage players, Blu-Ray player, or document camera. This is also a problem with third-party screen-mirroring solutions with cross-platform compatibility – they only work on certain devices.

Recommended Product

Wireless Screen Mirroring System BenQ InstaShow

  • Installation-free
  • Compatible with multiple devices
  • Enterprise-level encryption with AES-128 bit

How to mirror your screen from nearly any device

Mac OS and iOS devices

If you have a group of Mac users with new MacBook Pro’s, older MacBook Air’s – and a smattering of iPads and iPhones , you can use either a physical transmitter button, Apple’s native AirPlay protocol or a screen mirroring application such as InstaShare to mirror your screen.

  • Transmitter Buttons- Connect a transmitter such as an InstaShow USB-C button
  • AirPlay – Swipe or click to access and use the Control Center to select screen mirroring from your device. It will find the display if it is on the same network as your device
  • Software applications – use a software program that is compatible with your receiver to transmit your screen to the receiver.

Windows

To mirror your screen to share PowerPoints, Excel spreadsheets, and other content – the process is the same – except that Miracast is the native screen mirroring protocol instead of Airplay.

  • Transmitter Buttons- Connect a transmitter such as an InstaShow HDMI button to your Windows notebook and you are connected in seconds
  • Miracast – Swipe or click to access and use the Control Center to select screen mirroring from your device. It will find the display if it is on the same network as your device
  • Software applications – use a software program that is compatible with your receiver to transmit your screen to the receiver.

Chromebooks and Android devices

To mirror your screen to share PowerPoints, Excel spreadsheets, and other content – the process is the same – except that Miracast is the native screen mirroring protocol instead of Airplay.

Transmitter Buttons- Connect a transmitter such as an InstaShow HDMI button to your Windows notebook and you are connected in seconds

Miracast – Swipe or click to access and use the Control Center to select screen mirroring from your device. It will find the display if it is on the same network as your device.

Software applications – use a software program that is compatible with your receiver to transmit your screen to the receiver.

Blu-ray and Digital Signage Media Players

These devices have closed operating systems – but a wireless HDMI transmitter button such as the InstaShow can connect and transmit information to the screen.

Read more about this – click here

Linux Computers

Linux devices such as data servers, Raspberry Pi and Beagle Board are increasingly common – and output critical video content for engineering projects and load information. You can use an HDMI transmitter button to share wirelessly. 

Read more about Linux and engineering screen mirroring here: screen mirroring information

What devices can I mirror from?

Mac OS and iOS devices

If you have a group of Mac users with new MacBook Pro’s, older MacBook Air’s – and a smattering of iPads and iPhones , you can use either a physical transmitter button, Apple’s native AirPlay protocol or a screen mirroring application such as InstaShare to mirror your screen.

  • Transmitter Buttons- Connect a transmitter such as an InstaShow USB-C button
  • AirPlay – Swipe or click to access and use the Control Center to select screen mirroring from your device. It will find the display if it is on the same network as your device
  • Software applications – use a software program that is compatible with your receiver to transmit your screen to the receiver.

Windows

To mirror your screen to share PowerPoints, Excel spreadsheets, and other content – the process is the same – except that Miracast is the native screen mirroring protocol instead of Airplay.

  • Transmitter Buttons- Connect a transmitter such as an InstaShow HDMI button to your Windows notebook and you are connected in seconds
  • Miracast – Swipe or click to access and use the Control Center to select screen mirroring from your device. It will find the display if it is on the same network as your device
  • Software applications – use a software program that is compatible with your receiver to transmit your screen to the receiver.

Chromebooks and Android devices

To mirror your screen to share PowerPoints, Excel spreadsheets, and other content – the process is the same – except that Miracast is the native screen mirroring protocol instead of Airplay.

Transmitter Buttons- Connect a transmitter such as an InstaShow HDMI button to your Windows notebook and you are connected in seconds

Miracast – Swipe or click to access and use the Control Center to select screen mirroring from your device. It will find the display if it is on the same network as your device.

Software applications – use a software program that is compatible with your receiver to transmit your screen to the receiver.

Blu-ray and Digital Signage Media Players

These devices have closed operating systems – but a wireless HDMI transmitter button such as the InstaShow can connect and transmit information to the screen.

Read more about this – click here

Linux Computers

Linux devices such as data servers, Raspberry Pi and Beagle Board are increasingly common – and output critical video content for engineering projects and load information. You can use an HDMI transmitter button to share wirelessly. 

Read more about Linux and engineering screen mirroring here: screen mirroring information

Who uses screen mirroring technology?

Corporate Meeting Rooms and Huddle Spaces

Professional screen mirroring systems are perfect for businesses – and the technology makes it easy to share presentations or reports, brainstorm, and collaborate in a meeting room or huddle space – without having to pass a cable around to switch presenters. Most companies use a simple button system, where a presenter plugs in a button – then taps to present their content on the screen. It's easy – reliable – and intuitive, enabling the meeting to stay focused on content rather than hassle with loading and running apps on their devices. The most popular ones also enable you to interact on a touch screen with a Windows computer and can support both AirPlay and Miracast for mobile devices.

Education

For K-12 and higher education collaboration, screen mirroring systems are rapidly replacing complicated and expensive cable-based systems. With a wireless screen mirroring system, you can connect up to four different sources on the screen at the same time – using either transmitter buttons, application, or standard screen mirroring protocols such as AirPlay or Miracast. The best part is that you can present from anywhere in the room – perfect for flipped classrooms with mobile displays.

Events and Home Entertainment

Movie lovers can stream movies right from a Blu-Ray player – but gamers and event managers appreciate the ability to switch sources with the tap of a button. Switch from screen to screen in a gaming tournament, or switch back and forth from childhood photos and videos, and live camera feeds at a wedding reception. Because the InstaShow HDMI buttons switch instantly without any software – it can easily replace an expensive HDMI switcher for event venues.

How to evaluate a screen mirroring system

Criteria #1 - How easy to set up and use?

Setting up a screen mirroring systems can be as easy as connecting a receiver and putting transmission buttons on the meeting room table. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some screen mirroring systems that use a corporate network require extensive port configuration, changes to Quality of Service (QoS), and testing to ensure the corporate network performance is not adversely affected.

The other element is what the user has to do to use the system. For example, do they need to log onto a special network to use AirPlay, Miracast, or a proprietary app– or can they connect via a transmitter? Also, some companies “lockdown” their notebooks and don’t allow any additional applications to be installed by the user. If your meeting room has visitors – look for a screen mirroring system that avoids having to load software on the computer before using.

Criteria #2 - How easy to switch presenters or sources

One advantage of screen mirroring systems over traditional cables is the ability to either switch presenters on display – or have multiple presenters share content on display at one time. The best systems enable you to and intuitively switch presenters with a touch of a button on a transmitter. Software programs can also be easy to switch – but can be a challenge if you want to use a device such as a media player or camera. Look for a system where you can use either a transmitter button or application that enables you to quickly switch presenters in a room without having a complicated process.

Criteria #3 - How secure is your screen mirroring system?

While traditional cables are typically secure, not all screen mirroring systems are secure. For example, a home entertainment screen mirroring system may be fine for broadcasting a movie for your media room, the lack of encryption could enable a hacker or employee to wirelessly “listen in” on a confidential salary review presentation at a startup. Other screen mirroring systems that use the company network may open the door to malicious hackers who take control of passwords – or even deny service.

There are two security concerns for screen mirroring.

 

Network Risk – screen mirroring device security is especially important for companies and education applications since they could be used to gain unauthorized access to the network. In 2019, at least were found to have significant vulnerabilities nine different wireless screen mirroring systems.  Look for a wireless screen mirroring system that minimizes the network attack profile and been checked out by cybersecurity experts.  Also- if a vulnerability is found, you want a manufacturer that has enough resources to stand behind the product and address the issue effectively. These companies typically provide white security papers and other resources to enable you to ensure that your network will be secure when using a screen mirroring system.

 

Content Risk – effective collaboration involves the free exchange of ideas and data – in a confidential meeting. Since wireless screen mirroring involves broadcasting data wirelessly, you want to make sure your spreadsheets, presentations, and reports sent to the screen cannot be received by an unauthorized employee or other bad actors. Imagine having an executive salary review or reorganization session re-broadcast or recorded by a disgruntled employee.Look for a between the transmitter and receiver screen mirroring system that uses advanced encryption . For example, the BenQ InstaShow system encrypts all the transmissions from the device before transmitting it to the receiver. By contrast, many home entertainment screens mirroring systems and some lower-cost commercial systems don’t encrypt the data – increasing the risk of someone gaining access to confidential information.

How much do they cost?

Like all technologies, the cost of screen mirroring will vary depending on the type of product and usage model. For example, you can use an AirPlay with an Apple TV for just a couple hundred dollars – or spend up to $4000 on a secure button-based system designed for a corporate meeting room.

 

In general, the less expensive systems typically can be more complicated to use with multiple presenters, and may not have many security protection features many organizations are looking for. Other features such as interactive touchback, 4K support, and the ability to support different types of devices generally cost more – but can make your meetings more effective – lowering your meeting room cost.Finally, several screen mirroring systems have extended subscription plans for software updates to ensure adequate security and new features. These subscriptions can cost as much as $400 per year per device.

Comparison of popular screen mirroring systems

Here is a comparison of popular screen mirroring systems ranging from a basic Miracast system to a more complicated commercial system.

 

Nyrius Aries Prime

BenQ InstaShow WDC-10 BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20 Mersive Solstice Pod Barco ClickShare CS-200

 

How Easy to Use?

Nyrius Aries Prime

 

Moderate - uses HDMI transmitters and receivers

 

BenQ InstaShow WDC-10

Easy

-Plug in button

-Tap & Button

BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20

Easy

-Plug in button

-Tap & Present

Mersive Solstice Pod

Moderate -

Log into Network

Load App

Select Screen

Barco ClickShare CS-200

- Plug in button

-Download software

-Open Software

-Start presenting

 

Video Playback Frame Rate

Nyrius Aries Prime

Smooth Video

Up to 60fps

BenQ InstaShow WDC-10

Smooth Video

Up to 60fps

BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20

Smooth Video

Up to 60fps

Mersive Solstice Pod

Relies on Network Performance

Up to 30fps

Barco ClickShare CS-200
Up to 60 fps

 

Number of Presenters on One Display

Nyrius Aries Prime

 
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
One
BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20
Four Different Presenters
Mersive Solstice Pod
Unlimited number of presenters on one display
Barco ClickShare CS-200
Two Different Presenters

 

# of transmitters included

Nyrius Aries Prime

 

BenQ InstaShow WDC-10

Two Buttons

Supports up to 16 HDMI or USB-C buttons

BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20

Two Buttons

Supports up to 32 HDMI or USB-C buttons

Mersive Solstice Pod
Uses WiFi network and software app for screen mirroring
Barco ClickShare CS-200

Two Buttons

Supports up to 16 USB or USB-C buttons

 

What BYOD devices are supported?

Nyrius Aries Prime

 
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10

Windows

Mac

Chromebooks

Mobile devices

Blue-ray & other media players

Digital Signage

Digital Cameras

BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20

Windows

Mac

Chromebooks

Mobile devices

Blue-ray & other media players

Digital Signage

Digital Cameras

 

Mersive Solstice Pod

Windows

Mac

iOS/Android

Barco ClickShare CS-200

Windows

Mac

iOS/Android

 

Software Free Design?

Nyrius Aries Prime

Yes
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Yes
BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20
Uses Proprietary App
Mersive Solstice Pod
Uses Proprietary App
Barco ClickShare CS-200
Uses Proprietary App

 

Security

Nyrius Aries Prime

None
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
128-bit encryption
BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20
128-bit encrption
Mersive Solstice Pod
128-bit encrption
Barco ClickShare CS-200
128-bit encryption

 

MSRP

Nyrius Aries Prime

$250
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
$999
BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20
$1499
Mersive Solstice Pod
$1400
Barco ClickShare CS-200
$1750

 

Annual Subscription

Nyrius Aries Prime

No
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
No
BenQ InstaShow S WDC-20
No
Mersive Solstice Pod
Yes - Up to $400 a year
Barco ClickShare CS-200
No

Where can I learn more about screen mirroring?

Wireless screen mirroring systems are relatively new on the market, but you can find more detailed answers to your questions on the BenQ Wireless Presentation System page which has more detailed articles on common topics such as using Mac’s or AV devices with a screen mirroring system as well as comparison of popular models. 

Consider the BenQ InstaShow when evaluating screen mirroring presentation systems for your collaboration space

The BenQ InstaShow platform makes it easy for everyone to effectively collaborate by enabling them to instantly present from nearly any device.  It uses the popular button approach to simply connect to your computer, camera, or media player by plugging in a button.  No software, no network, and with the InstaShow S, you can have four different presenters mirroring their screens at the same time.