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Consumer-grade vs. pro AV screen sharing solutions

Education
3 min read
Consumer-grade vs. pro AV screen sharing solutions
Angela Murphy
February 19th, 2021

Need wireless screen sharing and digital signage? Learn how Chromecast and Apple TV compare to EdTech solutions like Airtame and ScreenBeam.

Some funds are earmarked for new technology across classrooms. You’re part of the task force that chooses what to spend it on. Where to start?

We’re not experts. But we humbly suggest that teachers should have a large say in the matter. That way there’s less chance of your school coming up in online threads like this one.

So, you talk to the teachers. They say it’s not practical to be tethered to stationary PCs. Instead, a wireless screen sharing solution would offer mobility. After all, classes are now split into different rooms or moved to gyms and cafeterias to accommodate safe distances. With that in mind, educators need to share teaching material across displays while moving around and between rooms.

Okay, it makes sense to invest in a wireless solution. Which one should you choose? Let’s divide the options into two general groups: consumer-grade and professional audiovisual solutions.

Consumer-grade vs. professional AV solutions

Just a quick disclaimer: we know that “consumer-grade” is a subjective description. There’s no denying that these products are used within many schools and workplaces. That said, they are commonly associated with entertainment and primarily marketed as vehicles for cinematic experiences at home. The term “consumer-grade” refers more to the individual as the buyer (compared to when a school or company buys). 

Consumer-Grade
Pro AV
Apple TV 4K Chromecast Ultra Airtame 2 ScreenBeam 1000 Edu
Wireless Screen Sharing
Miracast No No Yes Yes
Google Cast No Yes Yes Yes
AirPlay Yes No Yes Yes
One-to-many sharing No No Yes, with the desktop app No
Extended desktop Yes, with AirPlay No Yes, with AirPlay and Miracast Yes, with AirPlay and Miracast
Touchback support No No Yes, with Miracast Yes, with Miracast
Moderator mode No No Yes Yes
Pin code protection Yes Yes, with Guest Mode Yes Yes
Digital signage
Image Yes Yes Yes No
Website No No Yes Yes
IT Management
Free firmware updates Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free software updates Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free, unlimited bulk updates No No Yes Yes
Free customer support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price excl. VAT
Cost per device $179 $69  $399 $599

Summary

If you are an Apple-only school that uses, say, MacBooks for teachers and iPads for students, then Apple TV might be the best option as you only need AirPlay. However, if your school has a bring-your-own-device policy, you’re more likely to go with an alternative. 

Chromecast is the most accessible in regards to price. It also supports a wider range of computers and mobile devices than Apple TV, provided that the devices support Google Cast. Unfortunately, limitations come up when considering network integration. Chromecast is not suited for more complex, enterprise-level networks in the same way that Airtame and ScreenBeam are. Other drawbacks of Chromecast include a lack of remote device management and digital signage. Apple TV shares similar limitations. To offer a more technical example, both Apple TV and Chromecast can connect to a network via the WPA-2 authentication, but not with the most secure which is 802.1x.

Airtame is the only solution that offers one-to-many screen sharing, which is particularly useful when teaching across large spaces or different rooms. ScreenBeam offers a unique messaging tool with its Classroom Commander that lets students ask questions anonymously or in groups. Preference for one such feature above another can sometimes be the deciding factor. One more factor to consider is that, after the first year of using ScreenBeam, schools are charged a license fee for continued use of the Classroom Commander.

In addition to your school’s budget, the ultimate choice will depend on specific screen sharing, digital signage, and IT requirements.

Learn more

Want to know how Airtame stacks up against other popular solutions within education? Download the concise overview.

Interested? Let’s talk.

Angela Murphy
I translate technical features into benefits that everyone can understand.

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