What’s the difference between Miracast technology and Airtame? To help you make the right choice for your needs, we want to give a fair comparison between the two.
Miracast is not a brand or a device. It is a standard for wireless communication between devices of different manufacturers such as smartphones, laptops, TVs, and monitors.
Whether a device supports Miracast, depends on both hardware and software. For example, Windows 7 needs additional software to be able to support Miracast. Microsoft has included Miracast in its operating systems starting with Windows 8.1. Android included Miracast support since Android 4.2. If you have older versions of Android or Windows, you may make them work with your device if you install additional software.
The Miracast standard was introduced by the WiFi Alliance in 2012.
Airtame is a private brand that sells and supports Airtame hardware and software.
Airtame offers full screen mirroring with Windows, Linux, Mac and Chrome OS computers. You can also mirror iPads and iPhones with AirPlay iOS mirroring. Android mirroring is not currently available but is under development. For Android, Airtame offers a presentation app that lets you show slides and images. This makes Airtame device-agnostic, which is an important consideration for classrooms and enterprises that use a variety of different computers and mobile devices in one setting.
Apple introduced its own proprietary streaming protocol called AirPlay in 2010, two years before the WiFi Alliance introduced Miracast. For the most part, Apple focuses on making its products work well with other Apple products, not on multi-platform compatibility. Apple chose not to provide any support for Miracast, which is why to this day Miracast screen sharing is not an option with any Apple devices. Airtame does support the AirPlay protocol, making it a more versatile option.
Miracast connects two devices by using a technology called WiFi Direct. This technology enables two devices to create a direct WiFi peer-to-peer connection and discover each other without a need for a router or an additional wired or wireless network.
This means that to connect two Miracast-enabled devices you don’t need any additional software, hardware or installation. The setup process is very simple. Since there are no external networks involved, there are also no security concerns.
However, this also means that with Miracast you can only connect two devices at a time, such as one computer to one TV. With Airtame, you can stream the screen of one device to many Airtame-enabled devices. You can also have several devices connect to several Airtames at the same time. While Airtame does not allow several users stream their screens to the same TV simultaneously, it does allow quick switching between mirrored screens.
If you update the firmware or change the name of a Miracast device, you may also need to change the settings on the device that it’s paired with. Most often, this will require you to be in physical proximity of the device in order to communicate with it, which may pose additional challenges for IT administrators in a school or a business setting.
Airtame has a Cloud management platform that monitors all connected Airtame devices from one control panel. Another handy features is Pin Code Connect, which when enabled, requires users to enter a 4-digit PIN before starting a stream.
While Miracast technology is hassle-free because it uses direct peer-to-peer connectivity between devices via their WiFi adapters, the drawback of this technology is that the devices need to stay relatively close to each other.
Mirroring via Miracast is very sensitive to interference from other devices that use WiFi connectivity. This may become an issue if you are operating devices connected via Miracast in a high-density environment with a lot of other devices connected to a WiFi network, which is often the case in a busy office or a classroom where students have laptops wirelessly connected to a network or the Internet.
Airtame connects devices by either using its own built-in WiFi or by using an existing WiFi network. If you need to stream your screen in a location with poor WiFi connectivity, you can use Airtame’s built-in WiFi. If you are located in an office or school with an excellent wireless network, you can use the network to mirror your screen.
In addition, if a noisy WiFi network is an issue in your workplace, you can use Airtame’s Ethernet adapter to hardwire the device to your network and avoid network interference completely.
The goal of Miracast is to connect devices. The technology may come with usability quirks. For example, to see Miracast-enabled devices in Windows 8.1+, you will need to go to PC Settings or Devices tab. With many Miracast-enabled devices, the default background will show the name of the device and possibly a logo of the manufacturer. If you are using Miracast to stream a movie from an Android device to a TV screen and your device goes to sleep, the TV will simply go dark.
With Airtame, you can customize what happens to the background of the TV when there is no stream. The background in Airtame is actually a web browser, which is why you can even enter a URL of a dashboard with changing KPIs as an Airtame background.
With Airtame’s Homescreen, you can customize the background of the TV when there is no one streaming to Airtame. Homescreen lets you display custom branded images, websites, dashboards, and even slideshows using tools like Google Slides. This makes Airtame a great light digital signage alternative.
Miracast uses the H.264 codec to mirror 1080p video and 5.1 surround sound audio. It also comes with a DRM layer for mirroring of copyright-protected content. Airtame also mirrors full HD video at 30 frames per second.
A single Airtame costs $299. Direct comparison of pricing between Airtame and Miracast devices is difficult because as of March 2017, the WiFi Alliance certified over 6,000 Miracast devices. Miracast-enabled devices consist of an array of products, including Smart TVs and laptops. Some of the cheapest Miracast devices include Actiontec Screenbeam (approx. $60), Lenovo Pro WiDi Adapter (approx. $150) and Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor (MSRP $49.95).
Miracast is a great technology if you want to quickly connect two compatible units located in close physical proximity of each other. It may be not the best fit for offices or classrooms because it is sensitive to interference from existing networks and it is not compatible with Apple devices or Chromebooks.
Airtame is a device-agnostic solution designed for businesses and schools. It can work using its built-in WiFi or an existing WiFi network, which means that it can deliver a stable performance in any environment.
We aim to be as objective as we can in this article to give a fair comparison between Miracast and Airtame.