I demonstrated an interesting setup at an event in Germany this week. It’s a PowerPoint presentation created on an Intel Compute Stick. It’s updated to Windows 10 and running Office Mobile. OneDrive keeps multiple devices in sync and Miracast is used for the presentation. I’ve reproduced the demo in a video below.
Two ‘PCs’ and a wireless receiver.
The Powerpoint app also runs on an Ultrabook and gets updated live after editing on the Compute Stick. I then take a Windows 10 Mobile Lumia (a cheap one) and cast the same file, using the same Windows 10 app, to a big screen. It’s a complex demo but it’s a really interesting one because it shows that you can indeed get productive with a low-end Atom-based stick using Windows 10 Universal apps. It also shows what is going to be possible with Windows 10 Mobile phones when Continuum is available. You might not need the PC at all!
Miracast is used for the wireless display from the phone but with Continuum-enabled phones you’ll also get HDMI or DisplayPort over a USB-C connector. You could also substitute the phone for a pen-enabled tablet if you wanted to annotate. Again, Miracast would be possible if you wanted untethered use.
Universal Apps, cloud-sync and Continuum are going to enable some interesting usage models. Watch the video and let me know your thoughts below.
Intel Compute Stick upgraded to Windows 10 (€120)
Logitec K400 wireless USB keyboard with trackpad (€30)
Actiontec Screenbeam Pro updated to V188.8.131.52 firmware (€60)
After learning that the Amtran barebones laptop had been used on-stage at BUILD this year I tracked down the relevant presentation and am pleased that I did. There’s some really good information about Continuum in there along with some excellent demos. Important things to note are the Miracast continuum demo, which doesn’t need a physical video connector, and the projection mode, again, something that Miracast is perfect for. There’s also a Continuum control application that works as a touchpad for a remote screen.
Microsoft already have a set of UWP apps that are available via PCs but as soon as Windows 10 hits smartphones there’s going to be an opportunity to enjoy a new type of ultramobile computing…or is there? Indications are that new smartphone hardware is needed to enable Continuum features.
Ever since I watched the Windows 10 casting presentation at BUILD 2015 I’ve been quite excited about some of the possibilities that a universal Windows 10 can bring to media casting. Look at the $99 Windows dongles and think about Windows 10 Mobile sticks that could challenge Chromecast and Amazon’s products. WiDi and Miracast are improving and there’s DLNA to consider too.
I’ve done a few tests on Miracast with Windows 10 and the results look better than before but today I took the time to drill down into DIAL and DLNA. It’s good news and bad news at the moment.
Having done some research into casting under Windows recently (it’s improving a lot in Windows 10 – read more here) I was interested to read about the new Lenovo Cast product. According to the spec sheet (below) it’s just a DLNA and Miracast unit which is a flexible choice for Windows 8 users but as a heavy Amazon Fire TV user I know that on-stick apps/streaming and a remote control can be easier in many cases. There’s DIAL too. Windows 10 supports this remote-app startup protocol so why doesn’t the Lenovo Cast have Lenovo apps (or Windows 10 IoT + apps?
‘Play-To’ and ‘Project To’ gets a big work-over in Windows 10 with continued focus on Miracast.
We’ve been tracking wireless display ever since it was an Ultrabook feature. [Sept 2011.] Intel’s WiDI screen casting hardware was always a step ahead of the Miracast implementation it was built around but it was largely irrelevant because Windows 8 only ever supported Miracast. It looks like that performance gap will be closed now though because Microsoft are adding extensions and improvements to Windows 10 Casting (AKA MS Miracast.) The user experience will be better, paring over WiFi Direct will be faster and there’ll be a back-channel for user interface control (touchscreens.) We’ve tested it and it’s true.
At €39 the Amazon Fire TV Stick is very interesting. For Prime customers it’s a must-buy but for those of us with Miracast-enabled devices it means that the Miracast feature (Screen Mirroring) also brings extra value. Early firmware builds for the Fire TV Stick didn’t support Miracast from Windows 8.1 but I’ve just received a stick here in Germany, upgraded the firmware and tested Miracast on two Windows PCs, a Windows smartphone and an Android tablet. All of them worked but there are still some issues that need sorting out. Read on for a review of the Fire TV Stick, a focus on Miracast and some thoughts about KODI, iConsole Micro and Chromecast.
The Amazon Fire TV stick was looking like the best Miracast option for Windows 8 PCs; A real no-brainer. The problem is that it isn’t working. Owners are reporting that it’s showing up as a remote display on Windows 8.1 but no-one is reporting a successful connection. Does this mean it’s a no-go? Fortunately not because Amazon have recently indicated that Windows 8.1 support is coming soon.
April 2015 Update: A recent firmware update is helping but big issues exist. Source: Thurrot.com
It seems that a number of owners aren’t happy with Amazon FireTV sticks they bought for Windows and Miracast use. I’m not happy either as in my eyes, Miracast support is Miracast support and not ‘a subset of Miracast devices support.’
Quite how long we’ll have to wait for Miracast on Windows 8.1 with Amazon FireTV sticks is another question but at least Amazon is on the case and have committed to doing something. Keep your eyes on the product page, this forum thread and firmware updates.
Note that Miracast isn’t he same as WiDi although a WiDi compatible device works with a Miracast receiver. WiDi has more features than Miracast and is now up to version 5.1 with 4K support. I’m not aware of any products that have it yet.
Every Windows 8 tablet I’ve tried recently supports Miracast but I rarely use it because it’s never plugged into my TV. I’ve thought about getting a cheap stick I can leave in the living room TV but never really got round to it. Now that the $39 Amazon Fire TV stick has been announced though I think the solution will be a no-brainer.