The Surface Pro 3 never ceases to amaze me with everything packed into its slim form. This nifty little trick up the Surface’s sleeve is no different. The surface can stream video wirelessly to monitors, media devices, and TVs that support Miracast. I know Apple does this with Apple TV and their latest Macs and displays but Miracast is one of 2 competing technologies that allows the rest of us to stream our displays WIRELESSLY! Sorry I got a little carried away there. Ok so what do we need to perform this magic of over-the-air video? A display that supports Miracast. I want to use my TV…It doesn’t support Miracast, but that Roku box I have been eying does and it is a lot less than a new TV, SCORE. Maybe a Roku isn’t the right solution. Microsoft has a wireless display adapter that is USB powered and is compatible with Android devices that support Miracast. Plug this little baby into your HDMI port and the USB in to a powered USB port on the display and you are ready to go. This would be great in a conference room or for a projector. There is a plethora of Miracast receivers out there so Google away until you find one you like. Check out this review of the Best and Worst Miracast adapters of 2014 to get you started (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/miracast-receivers,review-2284.html).
Ok so we know what extra hardware we need to get our display from the Surface wirelessly to an external monitor or TV. The next question is how do we do it? Well it is really simple. From the Start Screen swipe left from the right edge of the screen. Now tap Devices then tap Project. Windows will have detected nearby wireless displays so now tap Add wireless display in order to pair with one. Now you can choose how you want to display on the second screen. You can choose to have it duplicate what is on the Surface display, Extend the display like at your desk when you have multiple monitors, or to just use the external display making the tablet display go off. The third option doesn’t make a lot of sense with a tablet so I think sticking to Extend and Duplicate are our best bets in most cases.
So why am I so excited about wireless displays? Think about what you can do with your tablet if the screen was 60″ and not trapped in your hands. You could easily share pictures and videos with guests and family all at once without playing a rousing game of pass the tablet. You know what I am talking about. You play a video for Aunt June and she tells Nana you have to see this, and then Uncle Jed and all his kids want to see and suddenly it’s been an hour and you have no clue where your Surface went. I usually find mine in one of my kids’ hands hiding under a table playing games. Speaking of games how about trying to play your favorite game on a much bigger screen. Then there are the obvious work related uses. Displaying a document or presentation on the TV in the conference room quickly comes to mind.
This is a really cool feature that is really built into Windows 8.1 but is much more useful when paired with a device like a tablet. Wireless display isn’t great for really high quality video playback or fast-paced gaming because the refresh rate is still a bit on the slow side but for most applications and other display applications this is a great feature to find hiding away in the Surface Pro 3.