Wi-Fi Alliance Simplifies Streaming With Miracast-Certification — Just Don’t Expect Apple To Play

The Wi-Fi Alliance has launched a device certification program for the new Miracast wireless streaming standard which aims to simplify video and audio sharing between devices made by different manufacturers.

The proliferation of connected screens — smartphones, tablet,  laptops, TVs, projectors and so on — means there’s no shortage of opportunities for sharing digital content from one bit of hardware to another. But with no single, agreed streaming standard, sharing hasn’t always been as easy as it could be. Miracast aims to reduce the complexity by badging those devices that will stream with each other and also simplifying discoverability and set-up.

Here’s the blurb from the Wi-Fi Alliance’s original release about Miracast:

Miracast devices make use of a Wi-Fi connection to deliver audio and video content from one device to another, without cables or a connection to an existing Wi-Fi network. These devices connect directly, so you can do things like watch videos from a smartphone on a big screen television or share a laptop screen with the conference room projector to collaborate in real-time. Televisions, set-top boxes, notebooks, handsets and tablets are among the device types which will be certified.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has now opened up the Miracast certification program so device makers can apply to have their kit approved.

“Wi-Fi users around the world want to experience multimedia on the device of their choice — no matter what brand — and Miracast is the breakthrough they have been waiting for,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, in a statement announcing the launch. “We have been delighted with the level of enthusiasm and support among our member companies for this new offering.”

The Miracast certified device standard is based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Display Specification — and builds on another streaming technology, Wi-Fi Direct, by adding “mechanisms to negotiate video capabilities, setup content protection (if needed), stream content, and maintain the video session”.

“Miracast builds on Wi-Fi Direct with a compelling application,” noted Brian O’Rourke from IHS iSuppli Research in a supporting statement. “This is a big step forward in a market migration from single-vendor display solutions, into an offering from a wide array of vendors.”

The first consumer products to include Miracast certification since the testing program opened up include the LG Optimus G smartphone, Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone and Samsung Echo-P Series TV. The number of Miracast-certified devices are expected to exceed 1.5 billion in 2016.

Several big name consumer electronics and chip companies have welcomed the Miracast launch — including Intel, LG, Marvell, Nvidia, Samsung and Sony. But Apple’s name is of course absent from the supporting comments (see below).

Apple already has its own wireless streaming system — AirPlay — which allows content to be streamed between iOS devices and connected TVs via Apple TV. It also licenses the audio streaming component of AirPlay to accessories makers for iPod/iPhone speakers and the like. So it’s a very safe bet to say Cupertino won’t be stepping outside its walled garden to sign up for Miracast interoperability any time soon.

“As a Wi-Fi market leader, Broadcom is honored to be one of the primary certification solutions for the Wi-Fi Alliance Miracast™ program and is committed to driving new Wi-Fi standards,” said Dino Bekis, Senior Director, Wireless Connectivity Combo Group at Broadcom. “The standardization of this technology will enable consumers to easily and seamlessly share content across the ever-growing landscape of connected devices.”

“Users clearly expect that they should be able to move their content and applications freely at home, at work, in the classroom, and on the go,” said Joe Van De Water, Director of Consumer Product Marketing at Intel. “Intel has seen tremendous user enthusiasm for Intel® WiDi, and as a member of the Wi-Fi Alliance, we support enabling this usage more broadly and are excited to announce WiDi as one of the first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Miracast solutions.”

“We celebrate the launch of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Miracast program,” said Hyunghoon Oh, Head of LG Mobile Communication R&D Division. “Miracast brings an exciting advancement in the way devices deliver display applications.”

“The Wi-Fi Alliance’s Miracast certification program will allow for easy sharing of video content, regardless of vendor,” said Bart Giordano, Director, Wireless Marketing at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. “We have included Miracast in our solutions, and are honored to have been selected for the program’s test bed.”

“The video streaming applications enabled by Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Miracast™ are key to the growth of the Wi-Fi ecosystem encompassing Consumer Electronics, Personal Computing, and Mobile devices,” said Mr. SR Tsai, General Manager of Wireless Connectivity & Networking Business Unit at MediaTek. “We are honored to have our Android mobile platforms, Digital TV, as well as our connectivity solutions for Windows platforms selected for the Miracast test bed.”

“Miracast on NVIDIA Tegra will bridge the distance between mobile devices and high-def TVs, providing customers a rich – and cable-free – multimedia experience,” said Matt Wuebbling, Director of Product Marketing at NVIDIA. “We have embraced Miracast and are working with our OEM partners to bring its amazing possibilities to market.”

“We are happy to have been involved in developing the Miracast program and to be one of the first companies to receive certification,” said Jessy Chen, Vice President and Spokesman at Realtek. “The solution will greatly expand the market for easy-to-use interoperable wireless display connectivity.”

“As a leader in N-screen technology, Samsung has introduced AllShare Cast (based on Miracast), which is incorporated into most of Samsung’s high-end smart mobile devices including the GALAXY S III, GALAXY Note 10.1, and GALAXY Note II, ” said Hankil Yoon, Senior Vice President of Product Strategy Team, Samsung’s Mobile Communication Business. “We will continue to support the program, and plan to offer more Miracast-certified devices to our customers going forward.”

“Sony Mobile is pleased to support the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Miracast™ certification program. We continuously strive to deliver new exciting user experiences and Miracast™ technology will enhance our ability to offer consumers seamless connectivity to move their content freely between smartphones and other screens,” says Nikolaus Scheurer, Director Marketing Planning for Sony Mobile Communications.

“Miracast will play an important role in enabling true seamless media streaming, gaming and content sharing between mobile screens and large displays,” said Ram Machness, director of marketing, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, Texas Instruments Incorporated. “Our OMAP™ platform, DaVinci™ video processors and WiLink™ connectivity products will offer Miracast-certified source and sink solutions to provide a rich experience for our customers’ end products.”