The Google Chromecast TV accessory was first announced in 2013, and since that time has become a go-to TV accessory for cord cutters. Its rise in popularity was in part because the Chromecast works well, and it doesn’t require a smart TV or not to use the device. But, what many people do not know is that many TVs that are sold on the market today have their own Chromecast-like feature built straight into the TV, known as Miracast. This has led to a “Miracast vs Chromecast” debate, but there is a lot of confusion out there regarding
Miracast vs Chromecast – What is Miracast?
Miracast has been around even longer than Chromecast has. Both technologies are similar, allowing for devices to cast media directly to your TV screen. Miracast is a bit different, acting as a wireless HDMI connection instead of a wired one, mirroring the media from your mobile device (or PC) to your television screen. One thing to note is that Miracast works in both directions, which Chromecast does not, meaning that you are also able to cast your TV screen to another device. This is why the Miracast can connect directly to your device wirelessly.
Most new devices come with Miracast built-in as part of the WiFi feature set. This standard was originally set by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a consortium of companies that work together to develop protocols for wireless technology. the Miracast using a tech called WiFi Direct, a technology that allows two devices to connect to one another without having to go through a WiFi router, improving the flow of data. This means that Miracast will always work with any device that supports the technology. In the Miracast vs Chromecast debate, the fact that all new TVs come with Miracast is a big deal.
Another added benefit of Miracast is that it does not require an internet connection for the feature to work. Because the technology works by connecting two devices directly together and does not go through a WiFi router, there is no need for an internet connection. The Chromecast, on the other hand, does require an internet connection to work. If your internet goes down while using Chromecast, your media will stop playing as well.
Unlike the Chromecast, which now allows users to use a host of apps to play content, the Miracast only allows for content to be mirrored from one device to another. This makes it ideal for playing videos but doesn’t allow it to have the advanced features that you will find in a Chromecast vs Miracast.
How Do I Know If My TV Has Miracast?
If you purchased your TV (or any device) after 2014, you are almost sure to have Miracast capability. However, many companies have disguised the technology under their own names such as “AllShare,” or “SmartShare,” which can make it a little tricky to find. One simple way to see if you have Miracast is to click the “cast” button that is present on many smart phone apps and see if your TV appears on the list.
Another simple way to check is to look on the WiFi Alliance product list and search for your TV. Once you’ve found your TV in the list, click on the listing and it will let you know if your model comes with Miracast functionality.
If you find that your device does not have Miracast functionality built-in, you can purchase a dongle that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV that provides the functionality. They are relatively inexpensive, usually costing between $10 and $30.
Chromecast vs Miracast – Downsides of Miracast
So far, this article makes it sound like Miracast is an excellent alternative to the Chromecast. While it is true that they do share some similar features, it is important to understand that they are not identical. Miracast devices are not going to completely replace all of the features that Chromecast has to offer. Let’s take a look at some of the downsides of Miracast before you scratch Chromecast off of your shopping list.
- Miracast doesn’t play media directly. While the Chromecast plays media files directly through the device using apps and codecs, the Miracast is only a screen mirroring machine. The actual media playing power comes from whatever device is casting the video or audio. This also means that the battery of the device that is doing the casting will drain much more rapidly than it would when using Chromecast. As you look at Miracast vs Chromecast, consider this before making a decision.
- Miracast doesn’t work with any Apple devices. If you are a big Apple fan, Miracast likely isn’t an option for you. Apple chose not to follow the standards set by the WiFi Alliance, and instead using their own proprietary AirPlay technology, which does basically the same thing as Miracast. If you want to cast your Apple devices to your TV, you will be better off looking at purchasing an Apple TV box or Chromecast.
Both the Chromecast and Miracast technologies are excellent choices for casting media to your TV. However, there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of before making a decision. Miracast is a great choice for those that will only occasionally cast things to their TV, while heavier users may want to look into the Chromecast or other options. The Chromecast may be the better option for advanced users, as it even gives the option to watch live TV. When it comes to Miracast vs Chromecast, the right choice really depends upon the TV that you own, how you will be using the tech, and whether you want to pay for a new device.