Update: with Chromecast app update to 1.9.6, Android screen casting (screen mirroring) is available in ALL Android devices with Android KitKat 4.4.2 or later versions.
Screen mirroring with Chromecast Arrives: cast your Android screen without relying on apps
As announced in Google I/O 2014, Chromecast would get some nice update and new features. We will discuss these new features in later posts once they are available;e publicly
One of the most exciting new features of Chromecast is screen mirroring (or screencasting) for Android devices. You can mirror whatever on your Android devices to a TV without using any apps (of course, for non-Nexus devices, you need the Chromecast app) including audio.
Now, with the Chromecast app update (to 1.7.4), screen mirroring with Chromecast is now fully working on some selected (models) Android devices.
Please note, screen mirroring is different from the wireless display that has been introduced to Android since Jelly Bean 4.2. Wireless display in Android is using Miracast technology. To use this feature, you need a receiver (usually a TV) that supports Miracast. Currently, only some high-end smart TVs support Miracast. Otherwise, you need to get a Miracast dongle/adapter (for example, Netgear Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter). For the differences between Chromecast and Miracast technology, please read this post: Chromecast VS Miracast: everything you need to know about Chromecast, wireless display and screen mirroring.
Why screen mirroring with Chromecast is an exciting feature?
The major drawbacks of wireless display with Android devices include:
- The mediocre performance of casting from some Android devices. Sometimes, the lag is unacceptable. Synchronization of audio and video is another major problem on some Android devices when using the wireless display. Please note, the wireless display is usually only enabled in some high-end Android devices. Most Android vendors disable this feature in low-end devices partially due to performance issues.
- The receiver also matters! Some TVs (with Miracast support) work quite well with wireless display; while some don’t although they are also Miracast certified. Some Miracast dongles/adapters work well; some don’t.
Apparently, screen mirroring with Chromecast addressed these two issues very well.
The performance of screen mirroring with Chromecast is surprisingly good. I didn’t experience any issues in watching videos, streaming music, playing games during my 3-day testing with Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3 and Nexus 4. It is as stable and reliable as many formal features. I don’t know why Google still consider this as a beta feature.
The screen mirroring with Chromecast is an exciting new feature for most Chromecast owners for the following reasons:
- It does not rely on individual app developers. You don’t have to wait for the app developer to add Chromecast support.
- It works with all TVs with an HDMI port.
- It is not limited to the media. The TV simply is your second screen.
- It is deadly simple to use (at least as simple as wireless display).
- It is free. It is just added value for your $35.
- The performance may be far better than your expectation of a $35 device.
What Android devices can use screen mirroring with Chromecast now?
Screen mirroring with Chromecast (or screencasting as the official term) requires Android Kitkat 4.4.2 or higher and is currently supported on
the following devices ONLY:
Update on December 11, 2014: with Chromecast app update to 1.9.6, Android screen casting (screen mirroring) is available in ALL Android devices with Android KitKat 4.4.2 or later versions. Please refer to this post on the details.
- Nexus 4
- Nexus 5
- Nexus 7 (2013)
- Nexus 10
- Samsung Galaxy S4 (including Google Play edition)
- Samsung Galaxy S5 (including Galaxy S5 Active)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (with KitKat update)
- HTC One M7 (not M8, I don’t know the reason.) (including HTC One M7 Google Play edition)
- LG G Pro 2
- LG G2
- LG G3
- Sony Xperia Z3 (added on Oct.1, 2014)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (added on Oct.1, 2014)
- Tesco hudl2 (added in October 2014)
- TrekStor SurfTab xintron i 7.0 (added in October 2014)
- Sony Xperia Z3v (added in November 2014)
- Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (added in November 2014)
- Sony Xperia Z2 (added in November 2014)
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (added in November 2014)
- Nexus 9 (added in November 2014)
- Nexus 6 (added in November 2014)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (added in November 2014)
- LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition (added in December 2014)
- NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet (added in December 2014)
How to use screen mirroring with Chromecast?
For Nexus or Google Play edition devices, you can go to Settings-Display–cast screen to enable it. You can also access it from the Quick Settings–Cast screen.
For other devices, you need to install (very likely, you already installed it) the Chromecast app and make sure it is updated to 1.7.4 or later versions.
Once opening the Chromecast app, you will be greeted by the message “Cast Screen now available”. Once you dismiss this message, you should find the cast screen in the menu as shown below.
Tap the cast screen button to find and connect to the Chromecast. Once the screen is mirrored, you can close this app. You can now run any apps and everything will be displayed on the TV. Audio will also be transferred to TV.
To stop screen mirroring (screencasting), in the notification area, tap “Disconnect”.
If you cannot find the cast screen option in the Chromecast app, very likely, you are using an older version of the Chromecast app, or your device is not among the supported devices yet.
Will screen mirroring with Chromecast replace Miracast (wireless display)?
Currently, screen mirroring (screencasting) with Chromecast is still a beta feature on limited devices (see the list above).
Eventually, this feature will be available for more and devices with KitKat 4.4.2 or later. But Google didn’t give a time frame yet.
So, if you need a screen mirroring feature, but you don’t have a supported device, you probably have to use a wireless display if your device supports it.
Based on my personal, informal and non-scientific test, screen mirroring with Chromecast works better than the wireless display on Android. This feature definitely has a very bright future.
But I don’t think Google will drop wireless display (Miracast) in Android because more and more smart TVs will have better Miracast support.
Chromecast is excellent, but not everything.
Android is not everything.
This screen mirroring with Chromecast is confusing for Samsung users
The official name of the screen mirroring with Chromecast is “cast screen” or screen casting.
But I often call it screen mirroring, and it is hard for me to change. This may cause confusion among Samsung users because Samsung used screen mirroring for their Allshare casting, which essentially is an improved implementation of Miracast. Based on my experience, Samsung did the best job on implementing Miracast on Android. Their implementation was even earlier than that in Android Jelly Bean 4.2, and works better than other Android vendors’ device.
Anyway, now in some Samsung devices, you have another way to mirror your screen with Chromecast.
Do you have any questions about screen mirroring with Chromecast (or Chromecast screencasting)?
Please let us know your questions or problems about screen mirroring with Chromecast in the comment box below.
Discussion on screen mirroring (screencasting) with Chromecast is also welcomed.