Miracast is a standard for wireless connections from devices (such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones) to displays (such as TVs, monitors or projectors). It can roughly be described as "HDMI over Wi-Fi", replacing the cable from the device to the display.
The Wi-Fi Alliance launched the Miracast certification program at the end of 2012. Devices that are Miracast-certified can communicate with each other, regardless of manufacturer. Adapters are available that plug into HDMI or USB ports, allowing even non-Miracast devices to connect via Miracast.
Miracast employs the peer-to-peer Wi-Fi Direct standard. It allows sending up to 1080p HD video (H.264 codec) and 5.1 surround sound (AAC and AC3 are optional codecs, mandated codec is linear pulse-code modulation – 16 bits 48 kHz 2 channels). The connection is created via WPS and therefore is secured with WPA2. IPv4 is used on the internet layer. On the transport layer, TCP or UDP are used. On the application layer, the stream is initiated and controlled via RTSP, RTP for the data transfer.
Nvidia announced support for it in their Tegra 3 platform, and Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Marvell Technology Group and other chip vendors have also announced their plans to support it.
Both devices (the sender and the receiver) need to be Miracast certified for the technology to work. However, to stream music and movies to a non-certified device Miracast adapters are available that plug into HDMI or USB ports.
As of 8 January 2013, the LG Nexus 4 and Sony's Xperia Z, ZL, T and V officially support the function, as does HTC One, Motorola in their Droid Maxx & Ultra flagships, and Samsung in its Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II under the moniker AllShare Cast. The Galaxy S4 uses Samsung Link for its implementation. In October 2013, BlackBerry released its 10.2.1 update to most of the existing BlackBerry 10 devices available at that time. As of March 2015, the BlackBerry Q10, Q5, Z30, and later models support Miracast streaming; the BlackBerry Z10 does not support Miracast, due to hardware limitations.
Microsoft also added support for Miracast in Windows 8.1 (announced in June 2013) and Windows 10. This functionality first became available in the Windows 8.1 Preview, and is available on hardware with supported Miracast drivers from hardware (GPU) manufacturers such as those listed above.
The WDTV Live Streaming Media Player added Miracast support with firmware version 2.02.32
The Amazon Fire TV Stick, which started shipping on 19 November 2014, also supports Miracast.
On 28 July 2013, Google announced the availability of the Chromecast powered by a Marvell DE3005-A1, but despite the similarity in name and Google's early support of Miracast in Android, the Chromecast does not support Miracast.
The technology was promoted to work across devices, regardless of brand. Miracast devices negotiate settings for each connection, which simplifies the process for the users. In particular, it obviates having to worry about format or codec details. Miracast is "effectively a wireless HDMI cable, copying everything from one screen to another using the H.264 codec and its own digital rights management (DRM) layer emulating the HDMI system". The Wi-Fi Alliance suggested that Miracast could also be used by a set-top box wanting to stream content to a TV, or tablet.
Types of media streamed
Miracast can stream videos that are in 1080p, media with DRM such as DVDs, as well as protected premium content streaming, enabling devices to stream feature films and other copy-protected materials. This is accomplished by using a Wi-Fi version of the same trusted content mechanisms used on cable-based HDMI and DisplayPort connections.
The Miracast standard also has 'optional components' such as Wireless Multimedia Extensions (WME) (Also known as Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM)). The use of optional components in standards sometimes causes issues if one vendor supports the optional components and another does not.
Certification does not mandate a maximum latency (i.e. the time between display of picture on the source and display of the mirrored image on the sync display).
The latest Windows 10 release supports Miracast along with UIBC support to allow for HID (touch screens, mouse, keyboard) to also have wireless connectivity. Miracast support is built into Android 4.2 or later and starting with Android 4.4, devices can be certified to the Wi-Fi Alliance Display Specification as Miracast compatible. However, starting with Android 6.0 Google has discontinued Miracast support in favor of its own Chromecast. However, Miracast can be enabled on a rooted phone. Miracast is also built into BlackBerry 10.2.1 devices and Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 although developers can implement Miracast on top of the built-in Wi-Fi Direct support in Windows 7 and Windows 8. Another way to support Miracast in Windows is with Intel's proprietary WiDi (v3.5 or higher). Apple chooses not to support the Miracast standard on iOS or OS X. Apple uses its own proprietary peer-to-peer AirPlay protocol instead on OS X. For the Linux desktop there exists MiracleCast, which provides early support for Miracast but is not tied to that single protocol. A software based Miracast receiver for Windows 8.1, AirServer Universal was made available on 31 October 2014 by App Dynamic.
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