Wi-Fi Alliance unveils Miracast certification to ease multimedia streaming

Devices from multiple vendors can share video, images and other content without an access point or complex setup, the group said

The Wi-Fi Alliance has launched a certification program for its Miracast video transmission specification, offering a seal of approval that should ensure many different phones, tablets, laptops, TVs and other products can send video to each other without cables.

The group is set to announce the certification program on Wednesday and reveal a list of several approved products.

Miracast is designed to make it easy for users to stream video, photos or other content from one device to another. It's aimed at technical challenges such as watching Web video on a TV, sending shows from a set-top box to a tablet, or linking a laptop to a projector.

Though manufacturers may design different user interfaces for these functions, any device with Miracast will be able to exchange video with another Miracast product without complex configuration steps, according to Kevin Robinson, senior marketing manager at the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Users don't need an access point to do transfers with Miracast because the system is built on top of Wi-Fi Direct, the alliance's standard for peer-to-peer communication over Wi-Fi. It's the first of what may be a number of use-specific implementations of Wi-Fi Direct, which some members of the alliance are exploring as part of efforts to make Wi-Fi Direct easier to use.

For example, sending video from a phone to a TV using Miracast removes several manual steps, Robinson said.

"When they want to share a video, they simply click a button to look for the television they want to display that content on, they select the television, and at that point the devices set up the Wi-Fi Direct connection and negotiate the appropriate video settings," Robinson said. "The user just sees the video showing up on the television."

There are other technologies for streaming video wirelessly among devices, but Miracast will have the advantage of ease of use and broad multivendor support, Robinson said. Intel, which developed its own video streaming technology called WiDi, has come out in support of Miracast, he said.

In addition, Miracast supports copy protection of premium content through version 2 of the HDCP (High-Bandwith Digital Copy Protection) standard. HDCP2 is a wireless version of the HDCP standard used with the most common wired multimedia link, HDMI. As a result, content that's designed to be protected over HDMI will also be allowed to travel over Miracast. Links made with the system will also be secured automatically with standard WPA2 technology, Robinson said.

Miracast can work with all forms of Wi-Fi up to 802.11n, the current mainstream technology. In the future, it should be able to include products with the faster 802.11ac standard, Robinson said.

Apple's AirPlay is the most prominent alternative to Miracast, and Apple has shared that technology with makers of some products that complement its computers and mobile devices.

"If Apple were to win, it wouldn't be the first time a proprietary technology beat the standard," said Farpoint Group analyst Craig Mathias.

However, Miracast has a large built-in advantage because of its backing by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which has defined in-building wireless for many years, Mathias said. He sees the specification as being potentially even more important in work settings than at home, for functions such as sending content to a shared projector.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?