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Miracast, an upcoming standard for wireless displays, was added to Android in version 4.2 today. Miracast lets users view pictures from a smartphone on a big screen television, share a laptop screen with the conference room projector, or watch live programs from a home cable box on a tablet.

Miracast connections are formed using Wi-Fi Direct, which allows devices to connect to each other without going through an access point. That ability is inside all Miracast-certified devices. Miracast can work with all forms of Wi-Fi up to 802.11n.

The Miracast standard, created by the Wi-Fi Alliance, is based on Wi-Fi Direct used by wireless cameras and other devices, which lets two devices connect directly together.

Intel’s own Wireless Display standard (WiDi) required Intel chips, but Miracast is supported by chip vendors such as Nvidia Tegra 3, as well as by Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Marvell Technology Group and others. Intel has announced the WiDi 3.5 update with Miracast support.

In the future, the Miracast standard should be able to include products with the faster 802.11ac WiFi on the 5 GHz band. WiGig (802.11ad), operates on the 60 GHz band up to 4.6 gigabits.

Miracast devices provide simplified discovery and setup, so users can quickly transmit video content from one device to another. Industry analysts predict annual shipments of Miracast-certified devices to exceed one billion units within the next four years.

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