Miracast

How Miracast Communicates Over Wifi Networks

 

Miracast adapters like the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter and the Netgear PTV3000, etc. negotiate a connection with the source device. To do this, they broadcast a message that basically announces that they are available for a connection. To do this, the adapter will use one of the three non-overlapping 2.4GHz 802.11 channels (1, 6 and 11) which in essence are the lowest common denominator and would be the most broadly available and used channels. (For this reason, if you are on a device that allows 5GHz only connections and suppresses 2.4 GHz, you cannot connect). Therefore, 2.4GHz is a requirement to negotiate a connection using Miracast.

1. If 2.4GHz is the only frequency supported by your router, then issues might occur due to saturated channels from nearby routers in your environment. You might try changing the channel on your router to see if conditions improve. To see all the Wireless channels nearby, open a cmd prompt and type:

netsh wlan show networks mode=BSSID [press Enter]

2. If you are connected to your router using a 5GHz channel, the Miracast frequency can be negotiated to use 5GHz (but remember, the negotiation initiates over 2.4 GHz).

3. If you are not connected to a WiFi network, the Miracast connection will always be negotiated on 2.4 GHz

A Miracast session creates a virtual, second network on a direct, peer to peer basis between your host computer/device and the target Miracast display/Miracast enabled TV/Miracast adapter. You can see this in the Network and Sharing Center in Windows 8.1 after a connection is successfully made:

 

miracast virtual adapter

Surface Pro 3 Miracast+Already Active Bluetooth Screen Res Issue

 

I’m not sure when this issue first started, but it is being reported with increasing frequency on Microsoft Communities. Note that while the following applies to the Surface Pro 3 running Windows 8.1, fully updated, it has been reported that the same issue occurs for those running the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

 

The issue:

A full HD connection via Miracast is expected but does not occur (to any Miracast display, not just the MS branded one) when Bluetooth peripherals are paired and connected. Only a 1366 x 768 connection is established. (This does NOT apply to the Surface Pro 3 Pen which has no impact on screen resolution.)

 

Below is my TV, ready to connect at full HD 1920 x 1080:

ready 1920.1080

The problem:

The connection is made at 1366 x768. You can see below the VGA like desktop on the Surface itself which switches screen resolution to match what is negotiated on the TV. (Looks even worse on the TV, and with streaming video, this stinks).

1366.768

The reason this happens (bug):

If you already have an active connection with a Bluetooth device like the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition, or other peripherals (I tested with my Parrot Zik BT headphones and repro’d this easily), some BT connected phones, etc. this BUG seems to force a 1366 x 768 connection.

 

Work around:

For some people (and I realize that folks using the Surface Pro 3 Dock may not find this useful)

1. Don’t use Bluetooth peripherals OR

2. Don’t CONNECT your Bluetooth peripheral to your SP3 until AFTER you have established the Miracast session.

Either way, you will be able to get 1920 x 1080 if your TV supports it.

 

1920.1080

 

I don’t know what the experience is like for folks using the Surface Pro 2 or Surface Pro original, but I’d be interested to know if there are similar Miracast + Bluetooth issues there as well. Please tweet your experience to me on Twitter @barbbowman

Single Device Replaces Three In My Connected Living Room

 

I’m all about the Connected Home (as the title of this blog implies). My Living Room Home Theater system up until yesterday consisted of a circa 2010 Samsung 52 inch TV, an ancient Sony 5.1 Receiver, an Xbox 360 used solely as a Media Center Extender, a WDTV Live Hub which I used for DLNA Play To streaming, a Netgear PTV3000 for Miracast, an Apple TV for You tube, Hulu, Netflix, etc., a cable DVR and a first generation Samsung Blu Ray player. Separately, I have a pair of Sonos Play 5 speakers. A few days ago, the ancient Samsung Blue Ray player started groaning and screeching and it was the final incentive to replace it with something newer.

I did some Internet research and decided that the Samsung BD-F5900 would certainly improve my movie experience several fold. I downloaded the user manual and was even more impressed. While Samsung is likely to have a replacement model any day now, the $99 on sale price (at Best Buy no less) and the local availability drove me out in the 2 degree weather to purchase the device.

My intention was to replace an aging Blu Ray player, but what I got was a whole lot more.

No where on the box, the device itself, or in the user guide does the term DLNA appear. The BD-F5900 works perfectly as a Play To target. HD movies even play across the network smoothly. I can now move the WDTV Live Hub out of my Living Room (it is still a great NAS device).

playto samsung bd

The user guide mentions Samsung’s proprietary All Share multiple times, and mentions Miracast once.

add wireless display samsung bd

Miracast works perfectly. My Netgear PTV3000 can move upstairs to the bedroom TV or travel with me.

I can also use my iPhone with the PlugPlayer App as a small remote controller (the manual refers to similar functionality only working with s Samsung branded phone).

Last but not least, I had been using the Apple TV as a device to watch YouTube, etc. and not for Airplay of late (since the arrival on Miracast on Windows 8.1). I’d been watching some Amazon Prime Instant Movies on my Surface and using Miracast to display on the TV, (and didn’t have any app direct on a device that accessed this). Amazon is one of the apps available (along with 100+ others including the other big names like Netflix, Hulu, etc.) on the BD-F5900. Streams at 1080p HD smoothly and looks great. I’ll put the Apple TV away for now.

Bottom line, I’ve now got one device that replaces three and have removed some of the clutter in my living room.

In related news, there is rumor of a Microsoft Surface branded Miracast dongle via an FCC filing. Interesting development to say the least. It will be interesting to see what price point this launches with (if it launches). Stand alone Miracast adapters like Netgear’s PTV3000 and Actiontec’s Screen Beam are selling for $65-70. I guess I feel really good having purchased the Samsung BD player for $99 and getting everything but the kitchen sink included.

How to Make Miracast work on Surface Pro

 

Microsoft broke Miracast for Surface Pro (original) users on Windows 8.1. They have not officially commented on this or provided any information on a fix. As pointed out on Twitter by Rafael Rivera, you can work around this by disabling and re-enabling your WiFi connection. Every time you want to use it. Hat tip to Paul Thurrott for letting the Twitterverse know that the Surface Pro 2 firmware and driver pack was available. (Note: there is still no new driver for the Surface 2 so the WiFi toggle is the only option).

 

Microsoft just released a Surface Pro 2 firmware and driver pack. This is NOT for the original Surface. At your own risk, you CAN download and extract the Marvell WLAN network driver (the chipset in both the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 is the same) and fix your issue instead of cooling your heels waiting for the Microsoft Surface team to even acknowledge the issue.

1. Download the  file from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=40856

 

2. Drill down to to the x64 folder inside the Marvell\WLAN\win81 folder    ..\October2013SurfacePro2.zip\Marvell\WLAN\win81

 

3. Copy ONLY the x64 folder to another location or folder and rename it so you know what it is. Something like x64Marvell driver would be a good name.

getdriver

 

4.Open Device Manager and expand to show the Marvell Wireless Network Controller

miracast2

 

5. Right click/press and hold to display Properties and select the Driver tab, then select Update Driver.

miracast3

 

6. Browser to the folder where the driver is located and click OK.

miracast4

 

7.Windows display the path to the driver. Click Next and it will be installed.

 

miracast5

 

8. Reboot when prompted.

 

9. If you open Device Manager, you will see the new driver

miracast6

 

10. Windows will now find the Miracast device when you select Project. (If you did not try the previous work around of toggling WiFi off and on, you may need to use Add a wireless display the first time you want to you your Miracast device).

 

miracastworking

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