John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Wireless Display adapter

I’ve seen these on ebay before and been curious as to what they can and can not do.

Let’s start with standards. There are three competing standards in the market for wirelessly adding a display or sharing content on a remote display (wirelessly) today. As usual manufacturers are lining up under a specific standard. These are in turn making their way into receivers and TV. So understanding the differences can be helpful. The three standard vary significantly in how they work, and what they can do. In all cases there is a sending side and a receiving side.

DLNA is about streaming content from a sender to the receiver. This is intended for content like pictures, video and audio. It will not work for mirroring the display of the device. You can not use it to add a second display to a PC for example. The sender streams the content to the receiver. The receiver is doing all the heavy lifting of decoding the content. This is why when you see DLNA on a receiver or TV it can mean only audio/video not video. It may not have the horsepower to do video. You need to read the fine print. DLNA is widely supported and has been in the market for a while now. Lots of devices support DLNA. Blackberry 10 devices, and Android devices for example. Depending on the data rate of the content you may need a fast wireless connection. Especially with HD movies for example.

Check windows 8 send to/playto.

Next up is MiraCast. This works very differently. It is used to add an display which can in turn be a mirror of your desktop, extend your desktop of completely replace your desktop. Intel are largely behind Miracast. Lots of Windows 8 devices support Miracast. Here is a Microsoft document on the subject. They refer to it as projecting. All the heavy lifting is done by the sender. The amount of data can be high so it’s important to have a fast wireless connection for the response time to be good and the experience to be smooth. I found an article on CNET about Android support of Miracast. Unless you bought a device very recently Android support of Miracast is spotty.

Lastly is Apple’s AirPlay. Being I am not an Apple person I won’t go into this one simply because I would get out of my depth quickly 🙂 It seems to be Miracast like in that it can act as an additional display.

Ok, with that said let’s move onto this device. It claims to support all three standards. The device looks just like a dongle with an HDMI connector on one end, a micro USB jack on the back, a WIFI antenna, a single button and a single LED.

Out of the box it comes with two cables, a pig tail for HDMI and an USB cable.
The pigtail for HDMI is a great idea and IMHO is a must. It insures you can plug the device into anywhere. Without it, the device may or may not fit plugged directly into your TV. The other plug is a USB plug that provides the device power. If your TV has a USB plug then all you need is there. It does not come with an AC adapter.

On first power up it comes up as a WIFI access point that you connect to and that allows you to configure the device.

From here you can add your WIFI credentials

Beyond that the only thing left is to decide if you want DLNA or Miracast. If you put it in Miracast mode to change it back to DLNA you have to push the one button on the device and wait for it to switch modes. If there is a way to set this for AirPlay I don’t see it. It does say that it is iOS DLNA compatible.

In DLNA mode the device works pretty well. My Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7 plus running Android 4.1.2 saw it perfectly and played just fine. I tried it with an HD, heavily encoded movie and while it was jerky at first it settled down and was ok. Music played fine. On my Blackberry Q10 running 10.2.1 it was also seen perfectly. Again movies and music worked fine. I tried three different Windows 8.1 PCs and none of them would see it as a Play To Device but it did see other devices on the network. So this seems to be bust.

In Miracast mode I had some mixed results using my Asus X202 running Windows 8.1. The default resolution for my Asus X202 is 1366×768. Mirrored it worked fine and was acceptably responsive. I tried going to the Miracast only display and bumping the resolution 1280×720 and it was a little sluggish and somewhat buggy. Bumping it up to 1920×1080 and the laptop hung. I don’t know who is at fault here but this wouldn’t work. Playing a movie on the laptop projected out to the miracast display was jerky and not usable.

So in the end it’s a mixed result. Depending on what you might want to do with this device it might be ok. But it definitely is not a perfect device. I spent little on it, which is a good thing. I will not be recommending this device to any friends.


January 22, 2014 - Posted by | Android, Blackberry 10, Other reviews

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