Apple TV lets you access iTunes or view content from a Mac or iOS device on the big screen. The same holds true for Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV. Unfortunately, each only works with devices in that company’s ecosystem. Looking for something more platform agnostic? Check out the IOGEAR Wireless Mobile and PC to HDTV With WiDi and Miracast.Before digging into the review of this product, let me step back and spend a few minutes discussing why something like this might be a good option for someone like Judie or me. You see, both Judie and I have been pretty much all in with Apple’s echo system for the past few years. Sure, now and then each of us would dabble in Android or Windows phone devices – Judie more often than I – but inevitably we always came back to using Apple’s products.
We each had the current Apple iPhone, the current iPad mini and we have both been using a 15 inch MacBook Pro with retina display since it first came out. (As a quick aside, this is the longest I have had a single laptop in many, many years.) All of that changed when we both purchased the Sony Xperia Z2. The phone is amazing, and the larger screen is something that is hard to step back from once you’ve used it even for a brief amount of time. As a result, we both sold our iPhones more than a month ago, and we haven’t looked back. That means we currently have Apple laptops but android phones. In addition, I’m using an android tablet as often as I use my iPad, and I received a Dell #2in1 tablet/laptop as part of a promotion. In short, if I want to be able to throw the pictures or video from all of my devices to my television, I currently would need to have an Apple TV, a Google Chromecast, and I still wouldn’t be able to get the image on the Dell laptop in a larger format. That’s where this device comes in. It is far more device agnostic than any of the other available options, and it means there is one television add-on and only one needed. Let’s take a closer look.
Inside the $89.95 package you’ll find the IOGEAR Wireless Mobile and PC to HDTV With WiDi and Miracast Adapter, a USB two micro USB power cable, a wall adapter, a quick start guide, and a warranty card. Unfortunately this does not ship with an HDMI cable, so if you are purchasing this and don’t have an extra HDMI cable lying around you’ll be unable to use it until you make this additional purchase. That’s clearly a shortcoming with regard to this product, but it’s not a huge deal if you go into it aware that this is the case.
The following specifications are required to get this system up and running.
If You Are Using a Computer
A PC a third generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 with a 2 GHz processor and above.)
2 GB of system memory (IOGEAR recommends having 3 GB of RAM.)
Microsoft Windows 7 or above.
It’s worth noting that my MacBook has all of this from a specifications perspective, but unfortunately it doesn’t work with this system. Yes, Apple wants you to use Apple TV and live within their boundaries. The only option available to those using Apple laptops is to run Windows using Boot Camp, Parallels or some other product that allows Windows to run on a Mac.
If You Are Using a Mobile Device
To use the system with a mobile device you’ll need something that has Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Miracast. These include Samsung enabled smartphones and tablets which offer screen mirroring. (In Samsung’s language referred to as AllShare Cast) and while the documentation doesn’t list devices such as the Sony Xperia Z2 I did find that my phone and Sony tablet work perfectly with this system as well. If your Android device does not have this technology baked into it or you are using an iOS device you simply need to download the free iMediaShare app for Android or iOS. It will allow you to get up and running in no time at all.
The system basically works as an interface between your laptop or mobile device and the large-screen television. It grabs the signal from your laptop or mobile device and projects it onto the screen as if the device were plugged into the television directly.
Features of the IOGEAR Wireless Mobile and PC to HDTV With WiDi and Miracast Adapter
- Wirelessly send your favorite apps, videos, photos, music and Internet content from your smartphone, tablet and laptop to your HDTV
- Wireless distance of up to 30ft away
- Supports wireless 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound
- Latest Wi-Fi technology – Works with Intel® WiDi and Miracast™ Certified Devices*
- Miracast™ Certified Devices; Smartphones and Tablets
- Samsung’s enabled smartphones / tablets with Screen Mirroring (AllShare Cast*); Including the GALAXY S III / 4, GALAXY Note 10.1, and GALAXY Note II / III
- 3rd Gen Intel® i3, i5 or i7 laptops with embedded Intel® WiDi
- Supports iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and Android Phones and Tablets
- Via Free iMediaShare Personal app for iOS and Android**
- Small form factor makes it convenient travel accessory for your mobile on the go lifestyle
- Great home solution for living room / home theater setups, bedrooms and office
- Benefits boardrooms, conference rooms and schools with HD TVs and projectors
- Plug and Play – Fast and easy to use
My experience setting up the device and sharing media with my large Sony television was actually quite good. It took a little bit of finagling for me to understand the system itself, but that was only because I hadn’t taking the time to read the instruction manual. Had I done that at the beginning, I have no doubt that everything would’ve been completely straightforward.
I plugged in the box went into the settings on my Sony phone and found the setting for mirroring my screen on an external television or tablet. I flipped it on, selected this device when it appeared in the menu, and within a few seconds my smart phone screen was mirrored on the large Sony television with very little to no lag whatsoever. I tested it out with my Sony tablet, and I found the same held true.
When it came to using the system with the Dell computer, I first went to the Intel website and downloaded the most up-to-date version of the software, so that I wouldn’t have any interface issues. This may have been unnecessary, but I didn’t think about checking what was available on the computer prior to doing it so it’s impossible at this point for me to know if this would have been required or not.
I activated the program, it asked if I wanted to share my screen with the device; within a few moments the laptop’s screen was mirrored on the large television. Once again I experienced little to no lag time whatsoever.
The situation was a little bit different when it came to using my iPad. In this case I first needed to download the iMediashare application.
Once I did that I had to give the application access to my photos, and then I had to search for the device itself. It didn’t immediately appear, so I backed out and went to the settings on my iPad.
I jumped over to the Wi-Fi options and saw the media server available as one of the options.
Once I selected the server, I was able to go back to the application and I had a number of different choices as far as what media would be available on my device. Among these are my camera roll photos, my music, my camera roll videos, Facebook, Picasa and then there were options for free movies, music videos and online videos.
When sharing a video from my camera roll there was a slight delay while the video was converted and buffered, but once it began playing it worked quite well. Unfortunately this means you aren’t able to use this streaming system to, for example, take a movie you rented through the iTunes Store and share it from the iPad to the big screen. To do that you’ll still need to go back and use an Apple TV.
In all, there are some limitations with this approach, but it does allow a household that uses both iOS and android to share the content from their mobile device and let larger groups of individuals enjoy that content. It certainly isn’t a perfect system, but it does what it promises and it does it quite well. Best of all it does it for $89.95, and all you do need to go out and purchase the HDMI cable in order to get up and running.
The box really says it all.
This adapter allows you to send smart phone, tablet and laptop PC content to the big screen. It allows you to play your favorite apps, games photos videos and music on the large screen TV.
And it does so in a far more open way than any of the proprietary streaming systems currently on the market. Where I see this being most useful is for somebody who wants to make a presentation from a Windows laptop and wants to do so wirelessly. For that scenario it is quite useful and since the device is as small and light as it is there is no reason it can’t be thrown into a briefcase and brought along when you’re traveling. I certainly can see using this with one of the large screen televisions we have installed in many of our religious school classrooms. For more information jump over to the product page by clicking here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the IOGEAR Wireless Mobile and PC to HDTV With WiDi and Miracast Adapter
What I Like: Works with my Windows laptop and Sony Android phone without an additional applications necessary; Works with iOS devices and non-compatible Android devices once you download the free app
What Needs Improvement: Not as seamless or complete when accessing content on your iOS device; Does not work with Mac unless you are running Windows through Parallels or BootCamp