The Wi-Fi Alliance send out a press release to announce that it has begun certifying the first batch of Miracast-enabled devices. Miracast is a new wireless display standard that promises simple streaming of content between different device classes, including phones, TVs, computers, tablets, projectors, etc. Setting up a Miracast connection should be really easy, and it doesn't even require a WiFi network because devices should be able to communicate directly via Wi-Fi Direct. Additionally, some DRM is also included to to protect copyrighted content.
The Miracast standard is supported by Broadcom, Marvel, MediaTek, Ralink and Realtek controllers, and it now seems that even Intel has jumped onboard by offering support with its WiDi (Wireless Display) offering.
A connection between Miracast devices is established over a 2.4GHz frequency. Once the connection is made, video and audio is transmitted as a H.264 stream over the less congested 5GHz band.
We spoke with Intel yesterday to shed some light on the subject. It turns out that the upcoming WiDi 3.5 update is going to introduce support for the Miracast standard, among a handful of new features and improvements. In the words of the chipmaker:
Intel has built in WFA Miracast support into the latest Intel WiDi 3.5 software release which will be pre-installed on new systems this Holiday season and available for existing users with Intel WiDi on a 2nd or 3rd Gen Intel Core processor based system.
Along with espousing Miracast, WiDi 3.5 will add support for Windows 8, 3D content, and USB devices. USB support will allow devices like keyboards, mice, and game controllers plugged into TVs or receivers to control Wi-Di connected systems like smartphones or notebooks. Oh, and Intel says it's reduced WiDi latency quite a bit—down to just 60 ms on Ivy Bridge processors. (Folks with Sandy Bridge chips will apparently be stuck at 250 ms, the same latency as with WiDi 2.x.) The drop in latency should make user interaction feel much more responsive, especially when touch input is involved. As I understand it, though, Intel doesn't guarantee that level of performance with all Miracast-capable gear—only WiDi hardware.