Surprise: Microsoft just launched another Chromecast competitor


Microsoft really wants to give Windows Phone and Surface tablet users a way to share their screen with the TV: The company introduced a new Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter Tuesday that looks and works a bit like Chromecast, with some key differences. The launch comes just two weeks after Microsoft’s Nokia unit unveiled its own screen sharing adapter.

The [company]Microsoft[/company] Wireless Display Adapter is a HDMI dongle that looks a bit like an oversized thumb drive, just like Chromecast. And just like [company]Google[/company]’s streaming stick, it’s also powered via USB, with Microsoft apparently suggesting that users plug it directly into their TV’s generally under-utilized USB port.

However, there is one key difference between the two devices: Microsoft’s adapter is based on Miracast, which means that it is essentially mirroring the screen of a compatible desktop or mobile device. Chromecast, on the other hand, only uses mobile devices to control the playback, with media generally coming straight from the cloud — which makes it possible to turn off your phone or tablet once playback on the TV starts.

The other difference? Microsoft’s adapter costs more, with the company selling it for $60 through its own store as well as via [company]Best Buy[/company] starting in October. Chromecast is $35.

Microsoft’s [company]Nokia[/company] unit had announced a similar streaming adapter just two weeks ago, which also offered some NFC functionality to start mirroring the screen of supported devices as soon as users tapped a sensor. That device will sell for $79 in the U.S., but hasn’t made its way into the Microsoft store just yet.


Art Graham

Chromecast Beta beams your screen to TV, just as this device does. Does it come with a power adapter? Some TV’s don’t have USB yet. And the price point, you could almost get 2 Chromecasts. And what about content provider support? There are more questions than answers in this article


Unless it comes with a mains>USB adapter, what happens if your TV has no USB socket? Not a huge fan of mirroring devices. I think chromecast’s mix of (mainly) direct online streaming, with *some* ,local content, still has the edge, particularly at those prices.


I don’t understand. This doesn’t appear to be anything more than a Miracast adapter. But all the tech blogs are reporting it like Microsoft has done something new here. You could have purchased a miracast adapter from any number of companies for the past couple of years.

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