Aerb Wi-fi Display Dongle Hardware Review

Aerb Wi-fi Display Dongle Hardware Review

Dec 30, 2014

Screen casting is all the rage in mobile computing, and with good reason. Aerb Wi-Fi Display Dongle looks to be an option that spans platforms, and we were happy to check it out.

The review unit Aerb sent us contained the dongle, and HDMI extender, micro-USB cable and documentation. The physical pieces are mostly black, and the dongle itself isn’t too big at just about the size of other similar units. Figuring out how to get the unit going was a bit of a drag. On the first hand, it was intuitive enough with regards to removing the protective cap and connecting the dongle to an open HDMI port on the TV. I then connected the micro-USB to the open micro-USB port on the unit, and then powered it by connecting the cable to a USB port on the TV.

Then, it is a matter of accessing the HDMI port on the TV through the menu. The Dongle shows up as clearly, and depending on how one’s Android device is set up, it’s a simple matter of pairing it to the dongle via the Miracast option. As soon as this done, the device’s screen is mirrored.

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In practice, the mirroring works well, and, surprisingly, the TV output mostly kept up with the device output. there were times a bit of lag occurs, and graphics got jumbled, but I was able to play games with the casting device solely used as a game controller. Youtube videos reflect well, and I like how the whole system comes together.

A big question remains… with casting options being seamless on major devices nowadays, why bother with this option. Well, it’s a one stop shop for different devices. Every OEM seemingly has a different type of casting system, and this unit somewhat streamlines the process. Further to that, the easy pairing process allows for one to switch sources efficiently.

But the most effective use I found for it is effectively reducing the need for AppleTV to stream on iDevices. having devices from different OSes is becoming more commonplace, and, as such this attribute is golden in my book. It worked well, out the box, with an iPad 2 on the latest iOS.

It’s also rated to work with Windows Desktop systems, but I did not try this out.

All in all, my biggest gripe is the documentation, which could use some work; I am told this is already in progress. As a pocketable, affordable ($29.99 via Amazon) cross-platform screen mirroring solution, this piece is quite effective.

Android 4.2’s Miracast Wireless Screen Mirroring: Why It Could Be The Future – Or Also Not

Android 4.2’s Miracast Wireless Screen Mirroring: Why It Could Be The Future – Or Also Not

Oct 31, 2012

While Jelly Bean 4.2 doesn’t really bring a lot to the table, it does bring one particularly interesting feature to Android devices: wireless display mirroring through the Miracast protocol. This is designed to be an open standard that hardware manufacturers can implement to support secure wireless display transmission. Haven’t heard of it? Well, the protocol is just starting out, but hypothetically, it could be something widespread if Smart TVs take off in a substantial way. Imagine being able to play back a video from the Nexus 4 on a TV directly without worrying about having an HDMI output cable, or in the case of Apple and the AirPlay standard, having to have a separate box.

Granted, while AirPlay has the advantage of Apple’s massive distribution entities, for consumers it has the disadvantage of being Apple-only. Want to use AirPlay Mirroring? Hopefully you’re an Apple user! Miracast has few devices certified for use right now, though Netgear has a promising device in the pre-certification stages. The benefit to the open approach is that users won’t be locked in to one hardware provider, but considering that Apple benefits from the closed approach in ways that are best expressed with dollar signs, the open approach is a tough hill to climb, and Miracast could easily go the way of many other attempted standards.

However, considering that there are millions of Nexus 7s out there (and more being sold every month, even in the face of growing competition), and new devices that will get this protocol right away, along with a year or so from now when everyone else catches up, the sheer amount of hardware that will support it may be enough to propel it along, especially as Smart TVs start to spread. That may actually be the clearest path to success for Miracast: if it just becomes a quiet ubiquity, something users expect to have because it’s just everywhere.

But even Android manufacturers could be their own worst enemy here if they decide to try their own proprietary standards. Samsung’s doing it with AllShare supporting wireless display mirroring, and as mentioned earlier: proprietary standards if done right can have long-term benefits of selling more hardware now and in the future. But in the Android space, no one has had much success doing that. Even Apple still regards the Apple TV as a side project.

So Miracast may be a long way from being the kind of universal screen mirroring and media sharing protocol it has the potential to be, but maybe it being a part of 4.2 is just the flickering ember it needs to light up.