Roku is getting AirPlay-like wireless video mirroring with Miracast

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Roku has teamed up with Broadcom to bring Miracast video mirroring to its video streaming devices. The technology will allow consumers to stream video and mirror a device’s desktop directly from their laptop or mobile phone to a Roku device, much in the same way AirPlay allows the mirroring of content from iOS devices on an Apple TV.

Broadcom first hinted at a cooperation with Roku at CES, and it highlighted the partnership at Mobile World Congress this week. Roku has been using Broadcom chips for some time, and in the past IT closely collaborated with the chip maker on the launch of its second-generation hardware, so it makes a lot of sense for Roku to add support for Broadcom’s Miracast as well.

Check out the video below for a demo of Miracast:

There is no official word yet on which devices are going to support Miracast. However, Roku’s recently introduced Streaming Stick already supports Wi-Fi Direct, the wireless networking standard at the core of Miracast’s technology that allows devices to directly communicate with each other.

I noticed that this would enable wireless video streaming when Roku first demoed the stick back in September, and Roku Director of Product Management Lloyd Klarke confirmed at the time that the company was working on bringing video mirroring to its devices. One can assume that Miracast will be added to the Streaming Stick through a firmware update, perhaps when Roku is rolling out version 5.0 of its software.

It’s unlikely that Miracast will work with Roku’s existing streaming boxes, but the company seems to be working on a hardware refresh already: Engadget spotted an FCC filing for a still-unanounced Roku 4200X player earlier this month, which likely supports Wi-Fi Direct as well.

Roku didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this article. A Broadcom spokesperson confirmed that the hardware used for Roku’s Streaming Stick is Miracast-capable, but declined to comment on Roku’s plans for the technology.

AirPlay-like wireless video streaming has emerged as a key strategy for connected device makers in recent months. In January, Netflix and YouTube launched a joint effort for an open second-screen protocol called DIAL, and just a few days ago, Samsung unveiled its very own media streaming device to mirror content from Samsung mobile devices on legacy TV sets.

Broadcom’s Miracast has added a number of partners in recent months, including Intel a nd Google, which integrated the technology into Android 4.2. However, hardware support for Miracast video mirroring is still somewhat spotty. For example, Miracast is supported by the Nexus 4, but not by the Nexus 7 or 10.

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