Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miracast - wireless multimedia streaming

Aiming to speed up adoption of wireless multimedia streaming, the Wi-Fi Alliance on Wednesday introduced Miracast. The new specification allows for the transmission of content between two compatible devices, even without the presence of a wireless router/access point.
The Wi-Fi Alliance’s specification joins Intel’s Wireless Display, otherwise known as WiDi, and Apple’s AirPlay as platforms to stream multimedia wirelessly. Miracast may have the advantage here where others have failed: it is not a proprietary solution unlike AirPlay, and that it seems to be targeted towards portable devices as it is far more power efficient — one of WiDi’s biggest downfalls.

Access to a Wi-Fi network is unnecessary as Miracast is built upon Wi-Fi Direct, the Alliance’s standard for creating peer-to-peer ad-hoc wireless connections. Wi-Fi Direct-compatible devices are able to talk directly to one another with little if any configuration, and Miracast operates in the same way.
Speed-wise, Miracast is based on 802.11, so connections will be limited to the slowest device in the network. Good news for content owners too: Miracast has built in content protection, using wireless versions of the same security measures used in HDMI and DisplayPort.
So what is MIRACAST......... in simple words...
Everyone really likes AirPlay, Apple’s Wi-Fi streaming standard that lets you send movies and music from, say, your iPhone to your speakers or Apple TV. Now there’s a new standard out to do pretty much the same thing for everyone else. But how is it different from previous attempts?
Miracast is a lot like AirPlay…
AirPlay is a wireless standard that allows two devices to connect to each other to share movies, music or other media. Miracast is the same thing — it’s just not owned by Apple. Miracast is built on Wi-Fi Direct, which is basically just an ad hoc Wi-Fi standard. It lets two devices with Wi-Fi capabilities talk to each other without having to go through your internet network. And unlike AirPlay, it will work with disparate brands and platforms. So, for example, your Samsung phone would be able to talk to your LG TV. Pretty great.
…but technologically better than previous attempts…
Unlike some of the older implementations of Wi-Fi streaming, like Intel’s first stab at WiDi, Miracast will allow you to stream in full 1080p. You’ll also be able to use DVDs and other DRM media, which had been a non-starter in the past. Miracast also does a bunch of nerdy grunt work behind the scenes; you should never have to worry about format or codec or anything else when streaming something — just click a button and play.
…that has support from major chipmakers…
Qualcomm, Nvidia and TI are all planning to support the standard, meaning your Tegra 3 phone will actually work with it. Hopefully, that means you won’t have to pick and choose which phone or tablet to upgrade to if you want to keep using your Miracast stuff.
…and will be (or is) in a bunch of popular gadgets…
Samsung has been using a form of Miracast called AllShare Cast for a while now. It’s built on Miracast, but it being on board with the certification means that the Galaxy S III or Samsung’s beautiful Echo P TVs will fold into the rest of the tech world, instead of being sequestered in a sad little corner.
…hopefully pretty soon.
The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the certification process for Miracast today and announced that the Galaxy S III, the new LG Optimus G and Samsung’s Echo P TVs are already certified. Others are being tested to ensure certification as soon as the Christmas holidays. Hopefully by early next year we’ll have a real AirPlay alternative for everyone not wrapped up in Apple’s ecosystem.

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