Microsoft has launched a new wireless dongle, Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, to help PC/tablet users view their apps, photos, and videos on a big television screens. The only catch is that the adapter works with devices which are Miracast compatible.
The task of mirroring a tablet’s or PC’s screen onto a TV by actually connecting those two devices has always been complicated. The common version is to tether a PC or laptop directly to the TV via an HDMI cable, but it has some limitations. It requires the PC to be only a few feet away from the TV depending on the length of your HDMI cable. Other methods such as Intel’s Wireless Display technology which is built-in by default require a proprietary receiver box, and a less-than-intuitive setup process
On connecting the adapter to an HDTV that provides both HDMI and USB connectivity, you can see anything and everything from your Miracast enabled Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2.1 or later devices. Plug in one end of the adapter to the HDMI port and the other into the USB port. The wireless adapter is rather small; so it is easy to carry along with you on your trips and tours. Now you don’t have to huddle around your Surface PC or Nexus 7 tablet to view photos or your favorite movie. Just connect the adapter to your TV, make yourself cozy on your sofa and enjoy watching whatever you want from your small screen tablet or PC on your big screen television. Microsoft used a Dell Venue 8 tablet and a Lumia 1520 Smartphone to show off its Wireless Display Adapter.
Wireless Display Adapter vs Chromecast
Microsoft’s competitor, Google’s Chromecast dongle costs $35 as compared to the Wireless Display Adapter priced at $59.95. Microsoft’s display adapter, with looks and feels like the Chromecast dongle, plugs directly into your TV. Both are capable of sending video wirelessly to a TV, but at $35 Chromecast is affordable for all. Microsoft’s advantage over Google is that unfortunately Chromecast works best only with apps that support it and there are not many apps that support Chromecast. The Display Adapter does not need an individual app support. Moreover, Chromecast’s screen mirroring is glitch and slow. Microsoft‘s Wireless Display Adapter mirrors the screen of Windows 8.1, Windows Phone and Android devices. The adapter allows you to share audio and visual content from Miracast-enabled devices, such as Microsoft
Surface within a 23-foot range. The adapter is not compatible with Surface RT.
“All you need to do is plug the USB end and HDMI end of the Microsoft Wireless Display
Adapter into an HDTV, monitor or projector. Then select the right input on your TV, pair
It with your laptop, tablet, or Smartphone and you’ll be ready to go. Then just wirelessly
project your screen from your Miracast-enabled device. It’s that simple. Depending on
your device, you can have it mirror exactly what’s being shown on the screen of your
device or extend its screen. Because the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter uses
Miracast technology, you’re not limited to certain apps or content streaming. It’ll show
anything and everything from your device!”
Price and Availability
The wireless adapter can be purchased at a preorder price of $59.95 and will be available by the end of September 2014. The device can be bought through the Microsoft’s online stores, brick-and-mortar stores, as well as Best Buy online store. About it being available elsewhere is not yet known. International availability has not yet been announced, but in UK it will be priced at £40 and in Australia at AU$70.