What Is Miracast Wireless Connectivity and What Does It Do?

Quickly transfer audio and video between compatible devices

Miracast is a point-to-point, enhanced version of WiFi Direct, allowing users to "push" video content from their mobile device to a TV or display. It facilitates the transfer of both audio and video content between two compatible devices without the need to be near a WiFi access point, router, or office network integration.

Miracast is sometimes referred to as Screen Mirroring, display mirroring, SmartShare (LG), and AllShare Cast (Samsung).

Example of tablet being mirrored to television using Miracast
AndreyPopov / Getty Images 

Miracast Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Allows for easy media transfer from phone to TV.

  • Point-to-point operation limits signal interruption.

Cons
  • No Google Pixel Android Support.

  • Due to its point-to-point operation, audio and video signal transfer speed is not affected by network traffic or other connectivity issues. If you have both a Miracast-enabled source and destination or display device, you are all set to go.
  • Miracast allows the transfer of both audio and video content and has support for the H.264 video file format. it supports up to 1080p resolution, along with 5.1 channel surround sound, and it provides WPA2 security.
  • Miracast is implemented in a number of devices, including TVs, video projectors, Blu-ray players, home theater receivers, cable/satellite boxes, media streamers, smartphones, tablets, laptop PCs, and more.
  • When used with a Blu-ray Disc or media streaming player, your smartphone or tablet sends the content to the player wirelessly using Miracast. The player then sends the content to your TV via its physical HDMI connection.
  • Miracast is a convenient way to share audio and video between devices, such as sending video content from a smartphone or tablet to a TV, or from a set-top box to a tablet or smartphone for portable viewing.
  • If you have a laptop or tablet and a video projector that is Miracast-enabled, you can easily display a business or classroom presentation for big-screen display viewing.

Google does not have built-in Miracast support on its Pixel Android devices, instead preferring its own Chromecast platform. Chromecast does not provide the same screen mirroring capabilities and requires online access.

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How to Connect a Laptop or Computer to Your TV

Miracast Setup and Operation

To use Miracast, you have to enable it on both your source and destination device. This can be done via the settings options on both devices. You can then "tell" your source device to search for the other Miracast device and then, once the two devices recognize each other, you can initiate the pairing process.

You will know that everything is operating correctly when you can see and hear content on both the source and destination device. You can then access additional features, such as transferring or pushing content between the two devices if those features are available to you. Devices only need to be paired once. If you come back later, the two devices should automatically recognize each other without needing to be "re-paired". Of course, you can easily pair them again.

Once Miracast is operating, everything you see on your smartphone or tablet screen is replicated on your TV or video projector screen. In other words, content is pushed (or mirrored) from your portable device to your TV but is still displayed on your portable device. You can also mirror the onscreen menus and settings options provided by your portable device. This allows you to control what you see on your TV screen using your portable device, instead of your TV remote.

Miracast is not designed to work with audio-only devices. Music and audio mirroring are the domain of Bluetooth and standard network-connected WiFi.

How to Use Miracast

Here is an example of how you can use Miracast at home. Let's say you have a video, movie, or show on a tablet and would like to watch it on your TV, maybe to view with the whole family. If your TV and tablet are both Miracast-enabled, all you need to do is pair the tablet with the TV, and then wirelessly push the video from the tablet to the TV.

When you are finished watching the video, just push the video back to the tablet where you have it saved. While the rest of the family returns to view a regular TV program or movie, you can go into your home office and use the tablet to continue viewing the content you had shared, or perform other functions on your mobile device.

There are some requirements for mirroring content from an iPad.

The Bottom Line

With the increased use of portable smart devices, Miracast makes it a lot more convenient to share content to your home TV instead of having to huddle around a device.

Miracast specifications and product certification approvals are administered by the WiFi Alliance. For more on Miracast-Certified devices, check out the continually updated listing provided by the WiFi Alliance.