I recently gave the Belkin Miracast Video Adapter a try, to evaluate Miracast on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 compared to Chromecast on my Android devices. Unfortunately, configuring and using the Belkin adapter was an exercise in frustration. If I were to go by my experience with it alone, I’d say that Miracast is acceptable as a screen mirroring solution for simple uses like showing presentations and Web browsing but it’s next to worthless for streaming video and gaming.
I put together two videos taking a look at the Belkin Miracast adapter. I’m still working on my videography skills, and so pardon the choppiness.
The first video was conducted with an older firmware version, 2.3, and I was able to connect my Surface Pro 3 without too much issue. Video was unimpressive, however, with pixilation and audio dropouts even though I was connecting to the Miracast via 5Ghz 802.11ac. Also, there was significant lag, making the solution unusable for gaming. Given the issues I experienced, I didn’t spend any time evaluating how well the adapter worked with my Nokia 925 running Windows Phone 8.1.
The first video covers upgrading the firmware, to 2.4, and ironically once I did so I could no longer connect the Surface Pro 3. I tested with my Dell Venue 8 Pro and it worked fine, and so I don’t know if this is an issue with the Surface Pro 3 or with the Belkin Miracast adapter.
I’m going to give another Miracast adapter a try, specifically the Netgear Push2TV Wireless adapter (PTV3000), and will report back. Hopefully it will perform more acceptably, because Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 need a good streaming solution to compete with Chromecast. Note that while video can be streamed to Chromecast on Windows 8.1 via Chrome, full-screen mirroring isn’t supported; you could use both if your TV has enough free HDMI ports, one for video and one for mirroring, but that would leave gaming out of the equation and using multiple solutions is terribly inefficient. And, as far as I can tell, there’s no Chromecast support on Windows Phone 8.1, which makes my Nokia 925 a bit less attractive than my Nexus 5.
Let me know if you’ve had better luck with Miracast and Windows devices, and what adapter you were using.
Update: As mentioned above, I gave the Netgear Push2TV PTV3000 Miracast adapter a try, and my experiences were mixed. Performance with the Surface Pro 3 was much improved over the Belkin, but I couldn’t get the Netgear to connect to my Dell Venue 8 Pro. So, inconsistent device support remained a problem. In addition, switching from one device to another in general is more complicated than it should be, meaning that even if it worked as well as it should it would remain a relatively inconvenient experience.
Here’s a video covering the Netgear adapter, which, as with the Belkin videos, is quite choppy if for no other reason than that the process of trying to get the adapter to work properly was so problematic.
Overall, I’d have to say that Miracast is very hit and miss, and not nearly as seamless or pleasant as Google’s Chromecast. If I get some time I might try to find tips and tricks to optimize the Miracast experience, but it’s not something that’s going to become a priority anytime soon.