Wireless Display Testing - Miracast and the Nexus 7 (2013)

Note: Please read the new blog entry on Miracast. Things have changed quite a bit since this blog entry. I am leaving this blog entry simply for reference.

This has taken quite a bit longer to get to than I planned. To say it has been a busy summer would be an understatement, but I won't go into that. :)

A few weeks ago I received my new Nexus 7 (2013) and immediately started playing around with Miracast. To say I'm disappointed would also be an understatement.

I had high hopes for Miracast, the open wireless video standard. I have been quite critical of Apple's AirPlay technology. First it's a proprietary protocol, and second it's difficult to get it working on many school (non-personal) wireless networks. The Miracast protocol uses a direct device-to-device wireless network which should (and does) solve the networking issue. Considering it doesn't have to pipe its traffic through a wireless access point, it should also be lower latency and higher quality. It is definitely not either.

I'm getting ahead of myself because I haven't even talked about how challenging it was getting the Nexus 7 to connect to the Netgear PTV3000 and ScreenBeam. It took several tries, rebooting both the receiver and the Nexus 7, to get Miracast to finally work. After those several tries I decided to record a video showing what was (and what was not) happening, and of course it worked. Sort of.

The resulting mirroring wasn't just choppy. At it's best, it had a low frame rate. It would constantly suffer from artifacts, audio stuttering, and somewhat regularly the video would just freeze for a few seconds.

All of these issues were present when testing either Miracast receiver. Neither the PTV3000 nor the ScreenBeam performed well. The conditions were pretty much ideal. It was summer at a school, so there wasn't a lot of wireless network traffic. Occasionally my devices can pick up a neighbour's WiFi, but even when it does the signal is extremely weak. There honestly wasn't any reason why the setup should not have performed perfectly. Using AirPlay to connect my iPad to my laptop running AirServer, the video was quite smooth, so I cannot think of any reason why Miracast wouldn't work at least as well.

I have a feeling Chromecast came about because Google was equally frustrated with Miracast.

6 comments:

  1. Hey there! I too have been playing with my new PTV3000 and my Samsung Note 2.  I've also tried the Samsung Wireless Hub and the Rocketfish version and the PTV3000 seems to perform the best.  I'm wondering though if you have tried to update the firmware on your PTV3000? The latest version is 2.4.3.  You should update it and try it again.  I've streamed HD (Blu-Ray) ripped (1080p at 3Mb/sec) movies from my phone to the TV and am fairly impressed! It seems to be touchy if the phone and receiver aren't in the "right" positions, but I'm working on understanding that a little better.

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  2. I feel the same after buying a PTV3000 recently. I would expect Miracast to work without much hiccups with newer devices since it is an open standard. Instead I'm suffering from stuttering issues with a Nexus 7 2013 as well even with the latest firmware version 2.4.3 installed on PTV3000. I am not sure who is at fault here, Google or Netgear, but I hope they solve this soon.

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  3. My co-worker tested both his Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 2013 and experienced the same issues described here. Yes, I updated the PTV to firmware 2.4.3 and there was no improvement at all. I have tested at home and at work, and there was no improvement at all. Perhaps Samsung has a "better" implementation than Google. Rumours are that Android 4.4 KitKat has some Miracast updates, so maybe we'll see some improvements in another month or two. I'm not holding my breath.

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    1. @Kyle I see you commented that you are experiencing poor video quality with your Nexus 7 2013. I have tried to connect, I am running firmware 2.4.3, I have contacted Netgear tech support and they say the Nexus 7 can't be Direct connected to the PTV3000. Can you tell me how you managed to successfully connect?

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    2. Sorry for the slow reply. As I mentioned in the post, it took me several attempts to make the connection. In fact I didn't think it was going to work, and started to record a video of it. When recording the video, the connection just magically happened. There was nothing specific that I did the time that it finally connected. I wasn't doing anything different from the multiple times I tried previously.

      Apparently there are some Miracast changes coming in Android 4.4 (KitKat) which will most definitely be available for the Nexus 7 (2013). Hopefully they improve this situation.

      A far more interesting prospect is the work being done to enable AirPlay on CyanogenMod (https://plus.google.com/110558071969009568835/posts/bsdm8BgVh2L).

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  4. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

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