Archive | July, 2014

Miracast Woes (continued)

30 Jul

Some time ago I purchased myself a new 3D Blu-Ray player (probably over a year ago) with Miracast built in. When I subsequently acquired my Surface Pro 2 I was, as far as I was aware, ready to go.

Only the Surface couldn’t communicate with the Blu-Ray in either direction. At various points in time the two would see each other momentarily, then just disconnect for no apparent reason.

As time has passed both these devices have had numerous firmware and software updates, which leaves me in the state I’m in today.

Now, the two devices are somewhat more likely to discover each other (although not consistently) and long enough for Windows to “install” the device as a projection target, but after this the devices disconnect again.

Only once have they managed to connect long enough for the Surface to start projecting the screen contents, unfortunately this wasn’t long enough for anything to actually appear on my TV.

I thought it was just me, but reading through several unassociated reports on the web it appears that Miracast is just not ready for prime time – yet.

And this is a problem for Microsoft, even though it’s not of it’s own doing.

Unlike Apple’s AirPlay or Google’s ChromeCast, Miracast is based on open standards. Unlike the other two, Miracast is only just getting to the stage where it is starting to work reliably on new devices with new chipsets. AirPlay and ChromeCast have both been working for a while now.

So what will people choose to use?

I’ve just been sat listening to a couple of people discussing how easy it is to use AirPlay. Everything “just works”.

This almost makes me cringe, after all: What can I use as an alternative. At the moment the answer is nothing really.

I also find it ironic that the Android crowd who constantly bemoan how much better and open Android is (when it isn’t, but more on that another time) rally around their closed alternative.

But then that’s exactly why Apple and Google could get their products working first, by controlling both ends you control the fixes for any issues found and are not so heavily reliant on anyone else.

So by doing “the right thing” and going for an open standard, Microsoft have lost some ground yet again. Of course, I don’t know how much of the problem is down to Microsoft themselves, but since these issues exist with Miracast on other platforms I’d suggest there is an underlying issue there somewhere.

So now I expect the only way I’ll get Miracast working reliably is to sit out the next few months and buy a new device at some point.

Shame.