They are called AirPlay, AllShare, Miracast, Allplay, Chromecast and Allcast. They do pretty much the same thing, but the various technologies for reading the contents of your smartphone or tablet on your TV work in very different ways. If you are looking for best low latency bluetooth transmitter to connect your outdated TV wirelessly, I recommend you to read all the reviews before buying any gadget online.
There are many brands of tablets and smartphones, a handful of TV manufacturers and audio and video solutions for the home as well as a few operating system vendors. Combine all this and you end up with a seemingly endless number of solutions for transferring and / or viewing video, music and other content from your mobile device to your TV. In the end, there are a large number of technologies dedicated to this use. So it’s not easy to navigate.
Defining which solution is best for you depends on the hardware you have, the applications you use, and the patience you are willing to use. Here is a panel of technologies and devices that you can use to read the contents of your phone or tablet to the big screen in your living room.
AirPlay is Apple’s technology for sharing music and video via the Wi-Fi network. Technology has emerged with the AirPort Express portable access point used as a way to share music from iTunes to speakers, and then was extended to some third-party products authorized by Apple. Its scope then expanded to add video with the refocusing of the Apple TV as an accessory for the iPhone and iPad, though some third-party actors have found ways to implement support for the iPhone. Receiver on other products without the approval of Apple.
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AllShare is Samsung’s technology for sharing music, photos, and video between its mobile devices and home products, such as TVs and Home Cinema systems over the Wi-Fi network, a customization of the DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) to the colors of the brand, technology optimized by Samsung for its own devices.
AllPlay is Qualcomm’s technology for sending music to a diverse range of indoor devices. It is linked to a number of device-to-device communication experiments put forward by the chip manufacturer. This includes AllJoyn for Peer-to-Peer (Peer-to-Peer) communications, and AllSeen for integrated devices connected to the internet. While most other technologies only work on the Wi-Fi network, Allplay can potentially work on any type of connection: Bluetooth, Ethernet. Allplay currently works with audio-only products, but supports installations in several rooms.
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It is a new evolution brought about by the very people who developed the Wi-Fi technology, to allow you to send video from mobile devices (smartphones or tablets), mostly Android, to your TV. Unsurprisingly, it comes standard with Wi-Fi Direct technology that allows users to create a private network (ad-hoc) between their device and their television. For all the rest, it basically works like AirPlay. Microsoft has added support for Miracast with Windows 8.1. And Google also supports this technology even if the Chromecast key does not use it. Miracast has also managed to make its debut in some products, like the Android console Gamestick and the Fire TV of Amazon.
Chromecast is the small Google module that plugs into an HDMI connector on your TV, but requires a power source (a USB port or a traditional power outlet). Once connected to your Wi-Fi network, it supports a growing number of video and music apps. Unlike other solutions, Chromecast redirects video streams from the Internet rather than from your device. This way, you can put your phone away once you start watching your video, if you are ready to do remote control functions like pause and fast forward.
AllCast is an Android application developed by the developers of ClockworkMod, the same developers behind applications to manage Android ROMs (custom versions of the mobile OS). Originally known as AirCast, the app supports a very wide range of devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon’s newest Fire TV, and many Wi-equipped TVs. The application can be downloaded for free, but to get more than just an overview of its capabilities, you will need to pay € 3.65 for the premium version.
In the end what to choose?
AirPlay and AllShare are well established technologies that are optimized for Apple and Samsung products. They are a good option for anyone who uses these brands. Miracast and Allplay are more universal initiatives that are only at the beginning of their development. These technologies therefore have limited compatibility to certain devices. Chromecast falls between these two approaches. It’s an economical way to get content for your TV. It does not work directly with video content providers (at least not yet), but the application library is growing rapidly. Finally, Allcast is a kind of bridge between these different technologies, but as it’s an unauthorized third-party application,
As was said at the beginning, the devices you own and the applications you want to use largely determine which technology you will want to use to send music or videos from your phone to your TV. But at least now, you will be able to differentiate them.