Selecting a screen mirroring solution
In practice, selecting a screen mirroring solution may be a daunting task because of the many possibilities from which to choose. Most of the popular streaming devices (Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, …) can be used as a screen mirroring device as well. The question remains however if the screen mirroring capabilities of these devices are sufficiently flexible and robust for professional environments where BYOD (bring your own device) is becoming more and more important.
The overview below provides you with more information on some of the options that you have when it comes to selecting a screen mirroring solution.
1. Wired screen mirroring
Wired screen mirroring keeps things simple. All you need is an HDMI cable to connect your computer physically to your TV display. Depending on your laptop connector (mini-HDMI, micro-HDMI or mini-DisplayPort) you may need to buy an appropriate adapter cable to connect to your TV’s HDMI. The same holds if you want to use screen mirroring to share content from your tablet or smartphone screen to your TV display.
2. Wired 1-to-many screen mirroring
Crowdbeamer takes wired screen mirroring a big leap forward. Rather than letting you share screen content to a single TV display, crowdbeamer enables you to mirror that content to all portable devices of your audience. All you need is a cable to connect your presentation device to crowdbeamer’s HDMI or VGA input, and you’re ready to go. Crowdbeamer doesn’t impose any limitations on the type of presentation device that you can use. That device doesn’t need to have a particular operating system. It even doesn’t need to be a laptop or a tablet; a digital camera or any other device with an HDMI output works just fine with crowdbeamer.
Crowdbeamer mirrors the screen of your presentation device and then streams it to all portable devices of your audience using its private WiFi network.
Crowdbeamer mirrors the screen of your presentation device and then streams it to all portable devices of your audience using its private WiFi network. That’s how it brings you all the benefits that come with screen mirroring: sharing any content in real time, accessing private speaker notes with PowerPoint’s or Keynote’s presenter mode, etc.
But what’s truly special about crowdbeamer is that it mirrors your screen content to multiple client devices simultaneously. By sharing information with all members of your audience individually, crowdbeamer provides everybody with a superior experience. All audience members can decide which information to capture or what notes to add, personalizing your content to their needs.
3. Using Apple TV as a wireless screen mirroring device
Even if the installation of the Apple TV set-top box involves more than just connecting a cable, it remains an easy job. Connect the set-top box to your TV display using an HDMI cable, and then configure access to a WiFi network. Now you can use Apple AirPlay to stream music, video, and photos through Apple TV from your iOS device or Mac computer to the big TV screen.
You can use AirPlay’s mirroring function to display whatever content from your iPad, iPhone or Mac on the TV screen connected to the Apple TV. Apple TV provides a seamless content sharing experience. While working in streaming mode with any AirPlay-enabled app such as YouTube of Netflix, other apps like PowerPoint, Safari or Chrome automatically activate the Airplay mirroring function.
To use Apple TV for screen mirroring, you need to have an iOS device or a Mac computer as a presentation device
The downside of using Apple TV as a screen mirroring device is that you need to have an iOS device or a Mac computer as a presentation device. That may be great if you are an Apple fan, but it also makes Apple TV less suitable for corporate environments where non-Apple devices are used or where BYOD technologies are increasingly gaining popularity. And in contrast to crowdbeamer’s multi-client paradigm, Apple TV will mirror your content only to the one TV display that connects to it over HDMI.
4. Using Google Chromecast as a wireless screen mirroring device
Setting up Google Chromecast is comparable to installing Apple TV. Plug the Chromecast dongle into your TV, connect it to the internet and you’re ready to stream movies from your Android device to your big TV screen at home.
Google Chromecast is a great media streaming device, but several limitations make it less suitable for screen mirroring
But when it comes to mirroring the contents of your computer’s screen, it is important to understand that Google Chromecast is essentially a media streaming device that pulls content from the internet and streams it your TV display. It does not directly take any content from your computer or mobile device. To use screen mirroring (or desktop casting as Chromecast calls it), you need to have the Chrome browser installed on your presentation device.
Technically speaking you can use Google Chromecast to mirror your screen to the TV display. But remember that you must have the Chrome browser opened on your presentation device and you need an internet connection. Both limitations make Google Chromecast less suitable as a screen mirroring device. In many practical situations, they even prohibit screen mirroring.
While Apple TV, Google Chromecast or Windows Wireless Display Adapter remain a good choice for video streaming or picture sharing to your big TV screen at home, the fact that they are not device agnostic makes them less suitable for screen mirroring and collaboration in a business environment.
5. Using Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter as a screen mirroring device
Again, installing the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is fairly easy. Plug the USB and HDMI from the Wireless Display Adapter into your TV display. Connect your presentation device over the adapter’s peer-to-peer WiFi network and mirror your screen. The Wireless Display Adapter uses Miracast technology, and lets you share the full content of your computer, tablet or smartphone screen on the TV display.
The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter works with devices that are compatible with the Miracast standard, leaving out many popular business devices
Since the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter uses Miracast technology, this screen mirroring device is also limited to presentation devices that are compatible with the Miracast standard. That includes the newer types of Microsoft and Android devices (Windows 8.1 and higher, Android 4.2 and higher). The entire family of Apple products is left out however. And just like Apple TV or Google Chromecast, that also rules out screen mirroring from digital cameras or any other device with an HDMI output.
Particularly in a corporate environment where BYOD is becoming more important or where multiple platforms like MacOS, iOS, Windows, and Android are used, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter does not provide a practical answer to screen mirroring and collaboration needs.
The key points