Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter vs. Chromecast

Google's Chromecast device has been around for some time now. It enables you to stream contents from a computer or supported mobile device using apps to a compatible screen.

The price point is very tempting and setup is not difficult at all as well.

Microsoft announced the Wireless Display Adapter a couple of days ago and it looks on first glance like an expensive Chromecast device.

When you look closer though, you will notice that the two devices do not offer the same functionality and are not really comparable.

The Wireless Display Adapter will be available for $59.95, about $25 more than what a Chromecast costs.

Overview of components and requirements

  1. The Wireless Display Adapter has a USB and a HDMI connector which you plug both into the HDTV or computer monitor (which means the device needs to offer both).
  2. According to Microsoft, it delivers a reliable signal within a 23-foot range.
  3. It requires a Miracast supporting Windows 8.1 device or an Android device running version 4.2.1 or later.
  4. Internet access is not required for its functionality.

If you have read about Google's Chromecast before or have one at home, you will notice the differences between the devices immediately.

microsoft wireless display adapter

Google's Chromecast is not as limited as Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter when it comes to supported systems. It supports all major versions of Windows and also Mac Os X, Linux and Chrome OS, and also Android and iOS on the mobile side of things.

It is quite telling that Google's device supports all versions of Windows currently supported by Microsoft while the companies own Wireless Display Adapter does not.

If you compare the streaming itself, you will notice another huge difference. The Chromecast requires a WiFi source to work at all while Microsoft's device does not as it uses WiFi Direct. That's huge, especially for business and Enterprise users but also for situations where Wifi or Internet is not available, not reliable or not secure.

There is also a difference as to what can be streamed. Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter can mirror the screen of the device while Google's Chromecast main purpose is to stream select contents, Internet media streams, local media or web browser tabs but not the screen of the device in general.

Meet the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter video

So which is the right one?

There is no direct answer to that that fits everyone. Microsoft's Wireless Display Adapter is held back by its system requirements and its price, while Google's Chromecast requires a WiFi source and is limited in terms of what can be cast to the screen.

If you ask me, I'd pick Microsoft's casting device if I'd have compatible devices. Yes, it is more expensive but it does not phone home like the Chromecast does. I don't want a company to record what I cast and from where I cast it.

This article was first seen on ComTek's "TekBits" Technology News


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