Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chromecast isn’t Miracast/WiFi Direct/WiDi/Airplay… at least not yet

I got really excited when I caught wind of the new device Google rolled out earlier today, ChromeCast. I’ve been trying out a NetGear Push2TV PTV-3000 and an Actiontec ScreenBeam pro just the last few days, with a very frustrating and mixed bag of results (more on that in a detailed future post). I hoped that Chromecast might represent a big new player (Google) coming into the wireless HD market (so far, we’ve had very few players and only a handful of devices) that might herald in a new era of easy, platform agnostic connections between devices and screens. Such does not seem to be the case… yet. For now at least, Chromecast only allows you to stream what you can see in your Chrome browser to your TV, and even then possibly only a subset of the content that might be there (although it works on a ton of devices/platforms, so good on you, Google). As it stands now, Chromecast can’t show anything you can pull up on your laptop/mobile device, just what you can display in the chrome browser—that no Microsoft applications, no gaming, no running an app on your smartphone over the Chromecast, etc. But I hope that may be coming soon, especially since this approach requires no special chipset(s) to work (unlike Miracast/WiFi Direct/WiDi/Airplay), just a Wi-Fi enabled device.

I did manage to snag a chat session with a google rep who answered some of my questions, but they had to beg off when I ranged into too technical an area, shunting our chat over to a technical specialist for an email follow up. Once I get more details, I’ll cull from the chat and email and have a more detailed post (including things like frame rate, delay, audio formats supported). Oh, they were able to tell me it support “up to 1080p.” We’ll hopefully find out exactly what that ominous “up to” means later.