Anything Google can do, Microsoft can do better. Well, that’s Redmond’s story when it comes to dongles. To combat Google’s Chromecast, the software giant just rolled out the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.
Although the name isn’t nearly as snappy, Microsoft’s effort could turn some heads. The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter sort of builds off the company’s HD-10, also known as Microsoft Screen Sharing for Lumia Phones. That device lets Lumia users view content on a larger display right from the smartphone. For its part, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter lets you share content from your Windows 8.1 or Android device onto the big screen.
“Have you ever had something on your phone that you really wanted to show to your friends and family, but they had to huddle around you and your PC, tablet, or smartphone just to show them?” asked Brandon LeBlanc, a Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Microsoft. “This happened to me last weekend when my parents were visiting from out of town and I wanted to show them photos from my wedding this last summer our photographer took.”
The Miracast Difference
With that personal example in mind -- a personal example Microsoft hopes you can relate to -- LeBlanc announced the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. The adapter connects to a HDTV, monitor, or projector and will let you share content from any Miracast-enabled device, including many PCs and Tablets running Windows 8.1. With the Wireless Display Adaptor, LeBlanc said he doesn’t have to worry about getting everyone to huddle around a device. All the content he cares about, along with audio, is sharable on a big screen.
Here’s how it works: Just plug the USB end and HDMI end of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into a HDTV, monitor or projector. Next, select the right input on your TV, pair it with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. That’s it. After that, you can 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,” LeBlanc said. “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.”
Miracast and Chromecast are basically two different technologies that accomplish the same goal. Miracast creates a peer-to-peer connection over Wi-Fi for audio and video mirroring. Chromecast is more like a mini PC that streams video from the Web over its own Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Price Difference
You can pre-order the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter now and it will be widely available in October. The cost is $59.95. How does that compare with Google’s Chromecast? And what about Sony’s dongle?
Google’s Chromecast is only $35 in the U.S. Chromecast works with a wide array of properties, including Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music. Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and so on.
Sony’s Bravia Smart Stick runs a whopping $149. It’s a Google TV device and the USB connected dongle only works with Sony’s 2013 or later model HDTVs. It’s not trying to compete with Chromecast. In fact, it carries Google services standard.
The bottom line: If you are a hardcore Google user, Chromecast is probably your answer. Microsoft lovers will opt for Redmond’s new toy even though it costs a few bucks more.
Posted: 2014-09-24 @ 6:52am PT
Once again Microsoft tilts its head back and screams "MEEEE TOOOH" at the top of its lungs.
Posted: 2014-09-23 @ 5:46pm PT
comparing Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter (WDA) to Google's Chromecast or SONY's Bravia Smart Stick is like comparing oranges to apples. Chromecast is just a minified set top box for some internet broadcaster whereas the WDA is much more versatile and can beam anything from your PC (or Linux) box to the display. SONY's Bravia Smart Stick is also a kind of set top box, and equivalent to what Samsung and other TV manufacturers embed in some of their TVs by default. I personally prefer a dumb display, because it lets me choose between the tech oriented Microsoft's "beam my screen" approach and the consumer oriented Chromecast/Bravia Smart Stick curated set top box. YMMV.