Connectivity Solutions: How Miracast Continues to be Relevant

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While newer, better technologies from the likes of Apple and Google are more popular, Miracast is still relevant, serving as an essential part of an OEM’s screen sharing and connectivity solutions
By enabling seamless integration of smart devices with TVs, vehicles and other screens, screen mirroring and connectivity technologies have completely redefined infotainment and communication management. Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s AndroidAuto are the popular connectivity solutions in the automotive space, while Apple’s AirPlay and Google’s Chromecast lead the consumer electronics market. However, there is another software-based standard that stands out and calls for our increased attention. Yes, in this blog, we are turning the spotlight on Miracast.
Miracast stands out owing to its compatibility with all applications, and robust mirroring capabilities.
While Miracast is not as popular as its Apple and Google counterparts, it actually serves as the most ‘versatile and common’ option, given its increased adoption across devices available today. What more, Miracast does not rely on a Wi-Fi router. It leverages a protocol called Wi-Fi Direct to set up its own private and secure streaming network accessible from local devices, while allowing DRM-protected content such as Netflix videos via HDCP encryption.

Automotive infotainment: Miracast VS CarPlay and AndroidAuto

Automotive infotainment systems from many tier-1 automotive brands enable all the three connectivity solutions – CarPlay, AndroidAuto and Miracast/MirrorLink – to be able to support Apple, Android and other devices. However, there are many devices that are incompatible with the Apple and Android solutions. This is where Miracast gains increased relevance with its effective interoperability across devices.
  • 2020 will see a total of 220 million connected cars on the road
  • 88 million of these vehicles will have connected services
Take a look at how Miracast compares with CarPlay and AndroidAuto that are used extensively in automotive infotainment systems:
Connectivity SolutionCarPlay AndroidAutoMiracast

Pros
Reduced driver distraction. Drivers can keep their eyes on the road after connecting their smartphone/other devices to the car dashboard.
Works with Apple devices like the iPhoneWorks with Android devicesNot restricted to specific applications. Works with
Android smartphones,
Windows tablets and laptops, and other devices.
Drivers use Siri voice
commands to control
the applications.
Drivers use voice
commands to control
the applications.
Wirelessly streams from
any of the devices to
Miracast-compliant
receivers.
Applications include
Music, Maps, Messages
and even phone calls
sent to the car
dashboard.
Apart from Music, Maps,
Messages, and phone
calls, applications
include some selected
Google approved
applications.
Supports Touch, Knob
and Button inputs,
along with Siri
command.
Currently available for USB.
Supports USB and WiFi connections available
in the IVI

Cons
Restricted to Apple devices.Restricted to Android devices.
High battery consumption by all the three solutions. Since these are screen mirroring technologies, phone’s screen would have to stay powered on while streaming, for the entire length of the video.

Consumer electronics: Miracast VS AirPlay and Chromecast

Most consumer electronics devices like TVs, Set Top Boxes, and enterprise collaboration systems are Miracast enabled. We are also seeing a growing number of solutions that enable content mirroring from Miracast enabled devices. Every device with Windows 8.1 and above, and every mobile handset with Android 4.2 and above support Miracast. These are clear indications of how Miracast continues to be significant and quite common in the consumer electronics space.
Here’s a quick look at how Miracast compares with popular connectivity solutions used in consumer electronics products:
Connectivity SolutionAirPlayChromecastMiracast

Pros
Supports streaming
from an Apple device
to an Apple TV.
Smartphone enables &
controls streaming from
an online source such as
Netflix or Pandora to a TV
directly.
No need to run an app on the smartphone.
The playback controls
on the Apple device
are used to control
the video on the Apple
TV. Playback controls,
will not appear on
Apple TV.
The Chromecast device
handles streaming,
decoding and rendering,
while the smartphone
serves just as a remote
control, thus increasing
the battery life of the
smartphone.
Everything (including
maps, movie, and content
not necessarily played by
an app) displayed on the
smartphone display is
mirrored on the TV
display.
Also supports screen mirroring.Also supports screen
mirroring.
No need to buy an extra
device.
Many TV manufacturers
provide built-in support for
Miracast Sink stack.
Android 4.2+ devices and
Windows 8.1 / 10 devices
provide built-in support for
Miracast Source stack.
Miracast uses WiFi direct
and need not be
connected to a WiFi
router.

Cons
Cannot stream from a
Windows laptop or
stream to a device
other than Apple TV.
Need to buy and connect
the Chromecast device to
the TV.
Higher battery consumption.
Since Miracast is a screen
mirroring technology, the
phone’s screen must stay
powered on while
streaming the video for
the entire length of the
video.

Miracast: Impossible to ignore

Miracast is not only application/device agnostic but also supports any kind of content or file formats from the source device. Apart from the versatility and the Wi-Fi advantage, it offers a simple and easy experience combined with effective content protection. The standard also provides cost effectiveness, by doing away with the need for additional wireless technology or extra devices to be functional.
Miracast might not be the latest or the most advanced screen sharing and connectivity technology, and it certainly lacks the backing of large brands like Apple and Google. However, it comes with key differentiating features that make it an increasingly relevant alternative to popular solutions.
For more insights, get in touch with us: mkt@ittiam.com
Explore our Miracast SDK
Find more insights into our Automotive Infotainment Solutions
A leading consumer electronics company established interoperability across devices with Ittiam’s Miracast stack. Our Case Study says how.
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