Chromecast vs Belkin Miracast (video)

Spider

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by Ankit Banerjee on January 18, 2014 12:36 pm


With video resolutions getting higher, more and more people are looking for ways to watch their mobile content on the larger displays of televisions. Today, we’ll be talking about two devices that provide this functionality. Here’s our comparison between the Google Chromecast and the Belkin Miracast. Let’s get started!


Introduction

Google Chromecast

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The Google Chromecast is one of the most interesting devices launched in 2013. An HDMI dongle that lets you watch Netflix, YouTube, and use your smartphone or tablet web browser on your TV, the Chromecast goes for just $35, so it’s no wonder it was received with high demand. Certain issues started to creep up after that, due to software restrictions that handcuffed indie developers, but the vast majority of users aren’t really affected by that.

In the beginning, there was a very limited choice of apps for the Chromecast, including Play Music, Play Movies, Youtube, and Netflix. But this problem was taken care of to some extent, with support for a host of new apps being added, including Pandora, Plex, and HBO GO, just to name a few.

Using Chromecast is one of the simplest ways to watch mobile content on your TV, and now, it features the apps to back it up. You can also use our mobile device as a controller.

Belkin Miracast

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The Chromecast may be an awesome little device, but there are some alternatives that try to steal its thunder. One such alternative is the Belkin Miracast. As the name suggests, this adapter uses Miracast technology to clone the display of your mobile device onto your television. Just like the Chromecast, you can use it to watch YouTube videos, Netflix and Play Movies videos, and Play Music, along with just about anything else on your smartphone or tablet. You can even play Android games on your large TV. At $80, the Belkin Miracast is more than twice the cost of the Chromecast, but it’s still quite reasonable considering its additional functionality.


Hardware

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Both the Chromecast and the Belkin Miracast are HDMI sticks, that can be connected to your TV via the HDMI port. Both require USB power, and if you’re TV does not have a USB port to plug the cable into, you’ll need to find another way to get this dongles plugged into an USB outlet.

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The Belkin Miracast is larger than the Chromecast, and depending on your set up, may not have enough space. To solve this problem, the Belkin Miracast comes with an HDMI extension cable.


Setup

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Setting up the Chromecast is painless, and does not require much effort. If you have access to a Wi-Fi network, connecting to the Chromecast is very simple. Initial connection time from boot up to watching your first video should not take more than five minutes.

Surprisingly, connecting to the Belkin Miracast is even faster. All you need to do is go into Settings, select your TV as a connection, and, in around 45 seconds, your TV should be mirroring your mobile device.


Functionality

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Using the Chromecast couldn’t be any easier. When you are using an application that has Chromecast support, an icon appears at the top right corner, usually next to the share button. All you need to do is tap on that icon to display the whatever the app is running on your TV. You can then play, stop, and pause the content on your TV using your smartphone or tablet as a remote. You can also turn off the screen on your mobile device, which doesn’t interrupt the video on the TV, which definitely helps reduce the strain on your smartphone battery.

With the Belkin Miracast there is no need to first open the application on your mobile device, as it mirrors your smartphone/tablet/laptop, including the homescreen. To connect, all you need to do is go to Setttings – Display – Wireless Display (depending on device manufacturer and UI overlay), and after a few moments, the image is mirrored. Unfortunately, if your device display turns off, the video feed is cut off as well. There is also a slight delay when making actions, so even though it is an advertised feature, gaming is very difficult.


Pros

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Chromecast Pros


  • Easy one-time setup
  • Easy to use
  • Beautiful splash screen wallpapers that can be used as screensavers
  • Supported application list growing
  • Does not drain host mobile device battery significantly
  • A great price at just $35
Belkin Miracast Pros


  • Initial setup is practically non-existent, and very easy
  • Does not need supported apps, mirrors your mobile device
  • Videos work exceptionally well
  • Can also be used to cast your laptop screen to the TV


Cons

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Chromecast Cons


  • Limited in functionality
  • Limited application selection
  • Still no open SDK
  • Not internationally available
  • No (official) local streaming
Belkin Miracast Cons


  • Host device screen needs to always be on
  • Intensive gaming is almost impossible
  • No one-time setup, connection takes 30-40 seconds every time
  • Size is not as small as competitors
 
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Frederuco

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Jul 6, 2011
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Agree with @vampirefo.

I have a Chromecast, I had some initial setup issues, but once it was setup it works great. I wish there was more app support, or open ness. I found ClockWorkMod's AllCast app which works great with any DLNA player...except Chromecast.

My TF101 does not support Miracast as last I checked it needs to be 5 GHz Wireless N and will not work on 2.4 GHz, so my tablet is out of luck as far as Miracast. I have been toting a miniHDMI to HDMI cable for my tablet and an HDMI-HDMI cable for my PC to use in hotels.

The Chromecast was a gift from a friend and it is OK, it will be better with more app support or an open SDK to allow all apps to get mirrored (perhaps on a rooted tablet?)
 

Greg_E

Member
Nov 15, 2011
248
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With the price of dual core Rockchip powered Android TV stick devices being as low as they are, is there a good way to turn them into a remote receiver? I need to look at "cheap cast" and see if it will do everything, but are there other ways to accomplish this task?
 
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