Technology Trends

Roku Miracast: Goodbye Chromecast

roku chromecast feature
Larry Press
Written by Larry Press

The Roku just got Miracast, which makes the Chromecast a little obsolete. Larry Press commentary.

aNewDomain.net — I’m a tried and true cord cutter. I’ve got a Chromecast (which I used to love) and a Roku streaming stick, both plugged into the same TV. I’ve let go of traditional cable channels and use rabbit ears antenna for local broadcasts, which is great but won’t work for everyone. And, in short, my Chromecast has just become obsolete.

It’s all about content

The Chromecast and Roku used to give me various content options, but these days there’s not a Chromecast app I want that the Roku doesn’t already have. The Roku actually has quite a bit more apps than the Chromecast. PBS, for instance, is a great channel on Roku, but it’s missing from the Chromecast. As Bill Clinton would say, “It’s the content, stupid.”

Until now my Chromecast remained functional for one main ability: screencasting. I could (and still can) mirror my phone or computer on the TV set easily with Chromecast, but my Roku streaming stick has this ability now, too. Roku just released a beta version of Miracast, which allows screen mirroring for selected Android devices and Windows 8.1.

You can see the overlap below. When I go to the Screencast setting on my Android phone, two destinations now show up.

screencast rokue chromecast

I tested the playback on both devices using the new CBS All Access video streaming service. I streamed “Big Bang Theory” to both devices and found the playback to be fairly seamless on each in terms of quality. Occasionally there was a half-second stutter, or the audio would drift out of sync, but I could watch easily on the Roku or Chromecast.

The Miracast technology is still in beta, so next generation hardware and improved compression and video algorithms are sure to clear up those glitches. That’s as long as my ISP keeps the bits flowing …

Miracasting is only available on two Roku models — the Roku 3 and the Streaming Stick — and selected Windows 8.1 and Android devices, but no doubt wider support is coming. If you have a Miracast-compatible device, you might as well unplug your Chromecast.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Larry Press.

About the author

Larry Press

Larry Press

Based in Los Angeles, Larry Press is a professor of information systems at California State University at Dominguez Hills and a senior editor covering tech issues here at aNewDomain.net. Check his Google+ profile to contact him or see what else he is up to: http://bit.ly/viXqr4.