Miracast, formerly known as Wi-Fi Display, is a Wi-Fi Alliance standard governing the transmission of visual content from a source to a display device. Driven by its inclusion in mobile high-definition video capture devices as well as digital televisions, IHS expects over 1.5 billion devices to ship in 2016 with this technology, as well as with Intel’s sister Wireless Display (WiDi) technology.
Based on Intel’s WiDi solution, Miracast is a concept whose time has come. Mobile devices, including smart phones, tablets, digital still cameras and camcorders, increasingly have the ability to capture and store compressed HD video. However, these devices are not always the best choice for displaying that video. Meanwhile HDTVs are the ideal solution for sharing HD video, but finding an economical, convenient way to transmit that video to the TV has been a barrier. Miracast knocks down that barrier.
Miracast is a software-based standard – it requires no hardware changes in the underlying 802.11 silicon. As a software solution, Wi-Fi chip makers are unlikely to charge customers for its inclusion in the silicon. They expect that adding Miracast will help accelerate the adoption of Wi-Fi into large markets such as DTVs and mobile CE devices, where Wi-Fi attach rates are less than 100%.
Miracast discovery and association is accomplished using Wi-Fi Direct, which allows for direct connection of Wi-Fi devices without the need to go through an access point. Wi-Fi Direct essentially takes the world’s most popular wireless networking technology, and makes it a peer-to-peer or interface technology as well.
The Miracast standard, announced in May 2012, should be released by the end of the third quarter in 2012, most likely by late August. Nearly all Wi-Fi chip makers are on board with Miracast, and host platform providers should find it fairly simple to find Wi-Fi silicon to enable Miracast products once the specification is released. The Wi-Fi Alliance plans to begin certifying products immediately upon official release of the specification.
WiDi and Miracast will be the leading wireless video technologies over the next three to five years. Over the next few years, mobile PCs and media tablets will be the leading applications, but over the length of the forecast, smartphones will emerge as the dominant application, with the use case of connecting phones to TVs for HD video display as the primary driver. There are already phones on the market that include a pre-standardized version of Miracast connecting the phone to a wireless dock.
For more information on Miracast and WiDi applications and forecasts, as well as technologies including 802.11ad, multi-stream Wi-Fi, WirelessHD and WHDI, please see the IHS iSuppli report, “Wireless HD Video: Wi-Fi Will Dominate Proprietary Technologies in CE and Mobile Computing Segments,” part of IHS iSuppli’s Display Electronics service