Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc updated the Windows blog with news that the company now offers a Wireless Display Adapter for $59.95. The device connects to an HDTV that provides both HDMI and USB connectivity. One end plugs into the HDMI port while the other plugs into the USB port for power. The adapter is also rather small, making it unobtrusive and easy to take on trips.
The catch is that devices connecting to the adapter need to be Miracast compatible, which includes most Windows 8.1 products like PCs and tablets. In LeBlanc's blog, he uses the Dell Venue 8 Pro after plugging the adapter into the TV and selecting the right HDMI input.
"With my Dell Venue 8 Pro connected, I was able to see everything on its screen also on my HDTV (I chose to mirror the screen). I ended up opening Nextgen Reader and reading a bunch of articles before going into Flipboard. I also watched a bunch of videos from YouTube," LeBlanc said.
In Windows 8.1, swipe in from the right side of the screen and choose "Devices." After that, click/tap on "Project" and then click/tap on "Add a wireless display." Select the correct wireless display in the list of devices and then follow the platform's instructions. Once that is set up, users merely return to "Devices" and then click/tap on "Project." Microsoft provides additional options here.
LeBlanc said that he was also able to project the screen of his Lumia 1520 using the Wireless Display Adapter. He pointed out that the adapter even works with Android devices that are Miracast compatible. However, to get that to work, consumers need to have a device with Android 4.4 "KitKat" or later. Instructions on casting an Android screen can be found here.
Is the device a direct competitor to Google's Chromecast? The difference is that Chromecast accesses the Internet to retrieve content requested by the Chromecast app or extension. Microsoft's dongle doesn't take the Internet route, but rather depends on the device for streaming content.
LeBlanc said he liked the idea of having Microsoft Office documents on the screen, and that it would be a great tool to use in an office environment. The device also works with projectors and monitors, he said.
You can pre-purchase the new Wireless Display Adapter from Microso now, but the device doesn't ship until sometime in October when it will be offered on Microsoft's online store, in Microsoft Retail Store locations and at Best Buy.