Miracast – Jumping between the Genes

Miracast – Jumping between the Genes

Miracast – Jumping between the Genes

At a time when everyone is talking about an “Internet of Things,” it is clear that it hasn’t yet fully come about. Smart TV was perhaps supposed to be the first harbinger of the richly-connected future, but research has shown  that few are exploiting its capabilities.

However, it is actually the simple act of sharing and jumping between screens that may hold the key to the future of the internet, to which such things as your table and refrigerator would be connected as well.

In recent years, the personal and entertainment electronics companies that have opened new vistas – particularly as a result of smartphones and tablet computers – have understood that one of the ways to promote the sale of various products from the same manufacturer is to create an “eco-system” of products – the television, which talks to the tablet computer, which in turn talks to the smartphone or games console – all from the same maker. “Do you want your cell phone to talk to your television in the best possible way? Buy our television/tablet as well.” Sony, Samsung, and of course Apple, are all involved in this development.

In 2011, Apple announced AirPlay (which first began development in 2004), as a solution for sharing content in the iOS and Mac computer environment, while Samsung’s offering is called AllShare. Thus, each company is energetically promoting its own standard for wireless sharing of content, directly or through a home network, in a new market that, for the most part, looks like the Wild West – where, in the absence of a standard, anything goes.

But the Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization behind the Wi-Fi standards, does not want to accept this situation of isolated, competing genes. Therefore, the organization developed the Miracast protocol, which would allow real-time sharing of content between cell phones and televisions, between computers and projectors, and with any electronic device that incorporates a wi-fi component supporting the new protocol:

Google quickly announced that the newest version of Android, 4.2, would support the protocol, as did NVIDIA with the Tegra 3 chip. In effect, devices supporting the protocol are already circulating in the marketplace, with the oldest of them being the Samsung Galaxy S2.

Another point – Miracast has almost fallen victim to a hot, three-way battle in the mobile phone market – among Google, Microsoft and Apple. While Apple is promoting its proprietary protocol, and Google is supporting the new open standard, Microsoft has not yet announced where their support lies. Maybe they want to annoy the other parties.

At present, Miracast may appear to be a marginal development, but within four years the number of devices supporting it is expected to reach one billion. Something worth paying attention to.


Niv Lilien and Harel Shattenstein are veteran technology reporters, who write regularly for the major Israeli media outlets. They are the founders of Tabula Media – a pioneering digital publisher, specializing in digital magazines for smartphones and tablets. Recently the publisher’s first magazine, GAMES, entered the application market.