Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amazon Fire TV Stick Part 2.1 Miracast Revisited


If you're looking for information on playing games, particularly RetroArch, on your Fire TV, I created a new web site that includes the RetroArch guide as well as a lot of other stuff. I hope you like it. For the most current information go to:




www.gamingonfire.com






This is a small update to the second post in a series on the Amazon Fire TV Stick:
In the second part of my Fire TV Stick review I said that since my 2013 Kindle Fire HD 7 didn't support Miracast.  Well, two things changed shortly after that post. First, the 2013 Kindle Fire HD 7 had been having a problem with its battery, shutting off before it reached 0% on its battery meter.  I opened a chat window with Amazon and they said they'd just send me a new one since it was still in warranty. Turns out that the exchange unit they sent me is a brand new Kindle Fire HDX 7. Also a 2013 model (but still in production, unlike its predecessor which had been superseded), this 7" tablet is Amazon's top model, so it's higher end than my son's tablet that was having battery problems.  It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon System on a Chip (SoC) which is better than the older Texas Instruments SoC in the previous tablet, and it supports Miracast.  Second, and more simply, I was reminded that Windows 8.1 added support for Miracast, so I realized that I ought to be able to test this with a Windows machine.

Kindle Fire HDX

As anticipated, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 supported Miracast.  Essentially you open the settings menu on the Fire TV Stick and tell it you want to use it as a screen mirror.  You open the settings on the Kindle Fire HDX and tell it you want to mirror its screen.  After several seconds (and one of the times I did it after a couple of retries) the two sync up and everything from the tablet screen is shown on the TV screen.  There is a very small delay (maybe 50 milliseconds?) which would probably be pretty disturbing if you were trying to play any action oriented video game.  Honestly, I really don't think a lot of people are going to spend a lot of time using Miracast from their Kindle Fire tablets to their Fire TV's, but it might be handy occasionally.

Windows 8.1 Laptop

Here's an application I could see me using on occasion to toss my laptop's screen easily onto the TV, so I was anxious to test this out.  We have 3 laptops in our house. 2 are owned by employers and neither has Windows 8.1 on it. The 3rd has an older Intel video chipset and doesn't support Miracast.  For a Windows 8.1 machine to support Miracast, the display drivers must support it.  Current generation laptops are going to have this support, but laptops more than a year or two old aren't going to, though there may be better support on older hardware with AMD or Nvidia video chipsets.  Intel is pretty infamous for terrible support of their ubiquitous, but low end graphics chipsets.

So, unfortunately, the one place where Miracast would be useful, none of our hardware provided support.  I will circle back to this when I have something in house that supports Miracast on the PC.

Products referenced in this post:
All posts on the Fire TV Stick:


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