Chromecast vs. Miracast: What’s the Difference? Which One’s Better?
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In the last couple of years, the Google Chromecast has become a must-have TV accessory, whether you have a smart TV or not. But what you probably didn’t know is your smart TV already has a Chromecast alternative built in: meet Miracast.

Miracast isn’t anything new. In fact, it has been around for longer than Chromecast has. The two technologies are similar, but not the same. Miracast is like a wireless HDMI connection, mirroring everything from one screen to another. It works both ways too, not just as a “receiver” like the Chromecast.

What’s Miracast All About?

Unlike Chromecast, which is a device, Miracast is a part of the Wi-Fi features on new gadgets. The Wi-Fi Alliance, a worldwide consortium of companies, agreed upon Miracast as a standard protocol. This protocol means that any Miracast device will work with any other Miracast-supporting gadget.

Miracast uses Wi-Fi Direct, a Wi-Fi technology you already have but don’t know. Wi-Fi Direct lets two devices connect to each other wirelessly, without a Wi-Fi router, for faster data exchange.

Essentially, Miracast is an alternative to HDMI cables What Is Miracast? How to Use Miracast for Wireless Media Streaming What Is Miracast? How to Use Miracast for Wireless Media Streaming HDMI may be the standard for connecting media devices, but it has a lot of downsides. Here's how to use Miracast instead. Read More , since it does the same job but without any wires. Its job is to mirror the screen. If you are playing a video on your phone and want to show it to others on your TV, then you can mirror your screen with Miracast. The video will be playing on the phone’s screen and the TV’s screen at the same time.

Does Your Phone or TV Support Miracast?

Does your phone or TV support Miracast? Check at Wi-Fi Alliance's product finder

The first question you probably want to ask yourself is whether your devices support Miracast. There is an easy way to find out.

Chances are, if you bought a gadget after 2014, it will support Miracast. This includes most TVs, who disguise their Miracast feature under names like “SmartShare”, “AllShare”, and so on.

But don’t go by the post-2014 generalization alone. Each Wi-Fi device goes through the Wi-Fi Alliance’s tests for different standards and protocols. So if you want to find out about your device, check their site.

The Advanced Product Finder has a Miracast option among the filters on the left. Check that, and then use the category or the search box to locate your gadget.

Miracast vs. Chromecast: Is Miracast Better?

Far too often, we compare two similar technologies as competitors. But Miracast and Chromecast aren’t exactly competitors. It’s not that one is better than the other. It’s all about which functions you actually need.

For example, in an office environment that primarily uses Windows products, Miracast is a better solution since you can easily cast a Windows screen with Miracast How to Project Windows 10 to TV With Miracast How to Project Windows 10 to TV With Miracast Windows 10 has built-in abilities to mirror its screen on your TV. Here's how to use Windows 10 with Miracast. Read More . In Windows 10, Microsoft has included a simple guide to connect to wireless displays. You won’t need any HDMI cable or a Chromecast dongle for this.

The built-in nature of Miracast also makes it easy to turn any device into a “receiver”. For example, you can cast your Android screen to your Windows PC. With Chromecast, only the dongle-plugged TV is the receiver.

But perhaps most importantly, Miracast works completely offline, which Chromecast can’t do. And that is a big win for the Miracast.

Miracast Works Completely Offline

As explained earlier, Miracast creates a closed Wi-Fi connection between the devices. Since it’s closed, it does not require an active internet connection. And that is its biggest strength.

The most frustrating part of Chromecast is that it won’t work if you don’t have an active internet connection. From adverse weather conditions to undersea cables, our internet connections are not yet fully reliable.

Chromecast requires an active internet connection even if showing photos from your own hard drive or mirroring your screen.

On the other hand, Miracast works splendidly without internet. Play a movie saved on your hard drive, cast the screen to the TV, and you will be able to watch it on a big screen, even as the storm rages outside.

Miracast Isn’t a Media Player

As good as the Miracast is, you can’t use it regularly as your “smart TV media companion.” The simple reason for this is that it only does screen mirroring. Your phone or tablet will be unusable while you cast the video running on its screen to your TV. This also leads to a huge battery drain.

But the Chromecast is a media player first, and a screen mirroring device second. If you want a way to use Netflix or Plex on your phone to stream videos on your TV, the Chromecast is a better option.

Miracast Doesn’t Work With Apple Devices

Apple iPhones iPads and Macbooks don't support Miracast

Oh, and one more thing. Apple decided not to go with the Wi-Fi Alliance’s recommended protocol. Instead, it uses the proprietary AirPlay standard, which more or less does the same thing.

So if you use an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac, you can’t mirror your screen to your smart TV through Miracast. It’s actually something a Chromecast can help you with.

Which Miracast Should You Get?

If your TV doesn’t already have Miracast, you can buy a Miracast dongle like the Chromecast. It costs significantly less, and will work offline.

My personal recommendation would be the AnyCast M100, which works with Apple’s AirPlay standard so you can also mirror your iPhone or iPad screens.

4K/1080P Anycast M100 Wireless Display Adapter, SmartSee WiFi Display Dongle HDMI Screen Mirroring Dual Core H.265/HEVC Decoder HD TV Stick Without Switching Miracast Airplay DLNA Support 4K 1080P 4K/1080P Anycast M100 Wireless Display Adapter, SmartSee WiFi Display Dongle HDMI Screen Mirroring Dual Core H.265/HEVC Decoder HD TV Stick Without Switching Miracast Airplay DLNA Support 4K 1080P Buy Now On Amazon $24.99

If you can spend a little more, you might want to try Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter, which has proven to be quite popular for Windows desktop users.

Microsoft P3Q-00001 Wireless Display Adapter Microsoft P3Q-00001 Wireless Display Adapter Buy Now On Amazon $38.99

Choose the Best Media Player

Miracast is one of those technologies that you probably didn’t know about, but will change your life when you start using it regularly. In fact, the convenience it offers for people who do presentations regularly is unparalleled.

When you are choosing a good media player Chromecast Ultra vs. Apple TV 4K vs. Roku Ultra vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: Which Is Best? Chromecast Ultra vs. Apple TV 4K vs. Roku Ultra vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: Which Is Best? Between the Chromecast Ultra, the Roku Ultra, the Apple TV 4K, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: which is best? Read More , you should keep Miracast in mind too. Miracast is included on two of the best streaming sticks today, the Roku Ultra and the Amazon Fire Stick.

Image Credit: cunaplus/Shutterstock

Explore more about: Chromecast, Media Center, Media Streaming, Miracast, Mirroring, Screencast.

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  1. Saulius
    October 23, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Miracast lets you have internet on your device: [ NET->Miracast->Device ]
    Miracast has a button selecting Adroid or Apple mode.
    I have no pros'es for chromecast for me.

  2. Aboobacker
    September 17, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Am using Samsung j2 but not connecting

  3. William
    July 2, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Miracast works with Android 7 n below. No problem at all.
    Until Android 8/Oreo... It doesn't work due to some bugs..... Sad sad...

  4. Geoffrey Williams
    December 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    My girlfriend got me the Anycast M2 Plus, thinking that it was for casting, not mirroring. All I want to be able to do is cast apps like Netflix and Spotify from my S7 and still be able to use my S7 independently from what I'm casting. After an incredibly frustrating time with the maunal's incomplete and jumbled English translation and several YouTube tutorials that tell you nothing, I realized that I wasn't asking the right question (which this article answered) - does it cast or only mirror? It only mirrors.
    Interesting discovery though - when I tried to watch Netflix with mirroring, it was the only app that didn't work as it should. I could see Netflix on my phone screen just fine. I could hear Netflix on my TV and even see the title and player controls on the TV, but not the picture itself. Other apps like Showbox mirrored just fine, it's just not what we were looking for.

  5. Bluebell
    November 29, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Might it work with an Android TV Box?

  6. Carl
    November 26, 2017 at 3:57 am

    I have tried chromecast and it was useless. It says the chromecast (screen mirroring function is experimental, and it was.) It dropped, and then froze and generally was very poor at mirroring anything. Also unless you have a very fast reliable internet you too will get very annoyed with it.! I threw mine away after 1 week.
    I purchased an unbranded make to use for miracasting and it works flawlessly with my PC Win 10 and my phones. Anycast m2 or m4 plus WORK JUST AS WELL, but do not cost much over a tenner. They have 3 types of operation and having tried all three on my unbranded one I have found they all work very well. DO NOT waste your money on Chromecast.

    • Evan Langlois
      November 6, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      If you want to mirror your screen, miracast is great. But, most of what I do doesn't involve screen mirroring. I want the media on a different screen. In many cases miracast won't mirror copy protected content anyway.

      If you want to play local files, use dlna. If you want to mirror your screen for games or whatever, use miracast. To cast from youtube, netflix, hulu, hbo or the thousand other apps that can play media, use chromecast.

      Chromecast isn't useless. It's just not the right solution for you. Incidently, chromecast can create an entirely new interface - using your phone as a controller and displaying different content on the remote display. This can't be done with miracast. And Chromecast integrates with Google Assistant so I can say "Hey Google, play The Big Bang Theory" and Google Home hears it and plays it on my TV.

  7. AA
    September 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Works pretty well with my Roku 3 as a receiver (article failed to mention this) hooked up via HDMI to my TV. I have an LG V10 which does support Miracast.

  8. silverlokk
    April 19, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I have an EasyCast dongle which seems to be Miracast-compatible. Works with my old ASUS Fonepad 7 (which I still have, albeit SIM-less), my current Lenovo Phab Plus, and a tablet that came with our DSL subscription. The last, though, warns that it needs to disconnect from the network — and therefore the Internet. The other two don't, although since I connect to our router's 5GHz network from the Phab, I get a warning that the dongle and the phone are connected to different networks and so performance may be degraded. Indeed, videos lag now and then.

    One neat thing though — Google Slides displayed the slides on the LCD monitor, and the slide controller on my phone. Or, I could display in addition the slides' notes so I could read them from my phone. That means that I could bring the dongle to, e.g., a client's site, and just my phone — I can leave my laptop at home. Dongle's so cheap I could buy another one if I didn't want to unplug the one I already have

  9. Thomas
    April 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Maybe it's the abysmal avastar WiFi in every Microsoft surface product but my track record of Miracast actually working is at best 50%. Wont connect, disconnects, freezes, corrupt video, lag.

  10. Kevin
    April 3, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    It's great if you like watching choppy movies. Pretty much sits unused in my settings because it just isn't fast enough

  11. True Cord Cutter
    April 3, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I used to love Miracast on my S4 since I have no data connection at home. I could just bring up Netflix on the phone and Miracast to the TV putting the phone down.
    Now I own a pure Android experience 5x that by default has Miracast turned off without hacking it. Chromecast sucks because you need a network connection to actually stream to a TV. The TV/Chromecast dongle have to have a network connection and the phone is nothing more than a remote control. Useless!

    • Evan Langlois
      November 6, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      If you have no data connection at home, you shouldn't have bought a Chromecast. It is possible to use without an Internet connection, but you have to jump though some hoops.

      Yes, your phone is nothing but a remote. Thats the DESIGN. It doesn't make the product useless. It just means you are using it for the wrong purpose and didn't read the box where it says that a high speed internet connection is REQUIRED.

      Try watching Netflix in 4K from a 1080p phone with miracast. Or just try using your phone while a movie plays, or have two different things playing on two displays (news in one room, music in another), and I can do that without my phone even being powered on. Again, its different purposes.