Best Miracast and Screen-Mirroring Devices 2017

Product Use case Rating
Google Chromecast For Android Devices 8
Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter For Windows Devices 9
Apple TV (2015) For Apple Devices 7

Whether you want to share photos with your family or kick up your feet and binge-watch some Netflix, there are many reasons to send content from your computer or mobile device to your TV. If you don't want to string cables, you can select from a variety of products and technologies that wirelessly transmit the content from your device screen to your TV screen via a small wireless receiver box or dongle.

Screen Mirroring vs. Streaming

Most streaming devices offer some form of screen mirroring, but they're not exactly the same thing. Streaming is when a device independently transmits information to your TV directly from an online source, such as Netflix or Pandora. (This is true even of the Chromecast, which uses your phone as a controller.) Screen mirroring, on the other hand, uses your phone as a middleman. This process, as the name suggests, simply takes whatever is on your phone's screen and displays it elsewhere; no more, no less.

In other words, if you connect a Roku box to your TV and watch Netflix, Netflix is transmitting information directly to that box. If you boot up Netflix on your phone or tablet, then mirror it to your TV with a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, your mobile device is doing all the legwork; the Display Adapter is just a receiver.

Generally speaking, streaming works better than screen-mirroring, as it doesn't require an elaborate daisy chain of devices. However, streaming also has its limitations; you have access to a limited variety of apps, whereas with screen mirroring, you can see anything from your mobile device or computer right on your TV.

Finally, most streaming devices have a screen-mirroring option built in; they just vary wildly in quality. The Chromecast and Apple TV (both described below) are good at both streaming and screen-mirroring. For other devices, it's best to check the manufacturer's web page, and both professional and user reviews to see how well the screen-mirroring functionality works.

Read on to find the right receiver for the gadgets you own.



MORE: How to Screen Cast to Chromecast

MORE: How to Use Miracast and WiDi



MORE: How to Stream Video to a TV from a Mobile Device or Computer

The HDMI cable fallback option

If none of these products fits your particular devices or your budget, you can go the old-fashioned way and attach your mobile device or computer using a cable or cables. This may be the best option for gamers, as there is less input lag with a direct connection than over wireless. For instructions, see How to Connect a Phone, Tablet, Mac or PC to Your TV.

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3 comments
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  • Oceanic16
    What are your options to stream/mirror your tv to your laptop or tablet?
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  • alexofindy
    You praise Chromecast for screen mirroring, but don't mention its major limitation: both the client and the receiver need to be connected to the same wifi network. This is usually easy enough at home, but can be difficult in an office, friend's home, or hotel. In these situations Miracast is the way to go for screen mirroring, since it uses wifi direct and doesn't require connecting to a wifi network. For example, most hotel rooms have TV's with free HDMI ports. With a Microsoft display adapter, or other device such as some Roku's and Amazon fire sticks which support Miracast, you plug the dongle in to the TV, and wirelessly connect your cell phone using Miracast. You can then cast anything on the cell phone's screen, as well as the audio, to the TV. Can't do this with chromecast.

    Most recent vintage Android cell phones, except for Googles's, support Miracast. It's on the settings menu, under display. Miracast is disabled on Google branded phones for mysterious reasons, but can be turned of if you're willing to root the phone.
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  • Anonymous
    I don't understand where this statement is coming from:

    "Generally speaking, streaming works better than screen-mirroring, as it doesn't require an elaborate daisy chain of devices."

    In the context of this article, both require the same "elaborate" setup--which is a single dongle connected to the TV. And mirroring, in my experience, works better than streaming as it doesn't require an internet connection play media--you can play media files on your phone directly on the TV.
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