Screen-mirroring technology is quickly replacing cables and adapters in businesses, universities and schools. Which screen-mirroring solution is right for you? Read our list of seven reasons you should look for wireless alternatives to HDMI for a high-level summary of what’s available. This article focuses on the key differences between Ditto and Airtame.
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Ditto is a software-based, wireless presentation solution created for places where people meet. It allows people to screen mirror and present to devices that are commonly used in businesses and educational institutions.
Airtame is a hardware-based wireless screen-mirroring solution that was initially created to be a home-entertainment device. It wirelessly connects devices to a proprietary HDMI hardware receiver and allows users to share content to it.
Ditto and Airtame are both cross-platform solutions, meaning they work with different types of devices people use today. However, the types of compatible devices differ for each solution.
Both solutions require receivers to be set up with a TV, projector or other large display in order for users to screen mirror. Ditto software works with receivers that already exist in many conference rooms and presentation environments: Apple TV, Chromecast, Windows PCs and Macs.
These popular devices are bound by the quality assurance standards of Apple, Google and Microsoft. Once Ditto is installed on the receiving device, users can present wirelessly to them.
Airtame uses a proprietary hardware receiver. Initially a cable-free HDMI-dongle, a newer iteration is a round device that uses a series of cables to connect to a display’s HDMI port and a power source. Separate extension cords and ethernet cables are available for an additional cost, all proprietary to Airtame.
Ditto and Airtame both allow numerous devices to present wirelessly to their respective receivers. The cohesiveness, functionality and support differ for each.
Ditto supports devices running Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Chrome OS. These devices connect with Ditto via an app called Ditto Connect.
Additionally, Windows and macOS users also have the option to connect to Ditto through a web browser. The web browser loads a temporary version of Ditto Connect which deletes itself after use, eliminating the need to download and permanently install software on a computer. The temporary application is ideal for guest presenters and users on personal, unmanaged devices.
Airtame supports devices running Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux, and in some cases, iOS and Android. Users connect to an Airtame receiver by downloading and installing an application on a user’s device.
Airtame’s compatibility with iOS and Android devices is limited. Airtame calls iOS screen mirroring an experimental feature with limitations or missing features in comparison to native AirPlay. Airtame is not compatible with certain popular Android devices. See “Connecting to Airtame on mobile” below.
Presenting easily without substantial lag time is critical to any meeting, lecture or presentation. Connection quality varies between proprietary hardware and software solutions. Ditto and Airtame are good examples of this.
The screen mirroring experience is the same across all devices connecting to Ditto: Each Ditto receiver displays a unique room code. Users connect to Ditto by entering the room code into the Ditto Connect app. Ditto detects the device and automatically initiates screen mirroring.
Airtame connections rely on several factors. Airtame receivers broadcast signals to user devices. For most devices, users must wait for their device to recognize and accept the broadcasted signal, enter an on-screen pin code, and then choose which type of connection they’d prefer.
For mobile screen mirroring, the Airtame experience is limited. Mobile connections are disabled by default and must be enabled by an IT administrator in Airtame’s admin settings.
The Airtame device broadcasts screen mirroring protocols that allow it to be used as an AirPlay receiver. Users must initiate screen mirroring natively on their iPhones or iPads to connect to Airtame, similar to the way users connect to an Apple TV.
Users cannot mirror their screens to Airtame with the iOS app. Additionally, mobile users cannot stream videos with the Airtame app, and animations inside slideshows will not play. Streaming certain static content from the app is supported, such as photos and some document file types like PDFs and slideshows.
It’s important to note that Bonjour and Multicast must be enabled on your network for iOS screen mirroring to be possible with Airtame. Many universities and businesses disable Bonjour and Multicast for security and performance purposes. Ditto does not require any of these protocols to work.
Android users cannot mirror their screens to Airtame. Additionally, Samsung devices are not compatible with the Airtame app for Android, according to Airtame documentation.
Android devices that are compatible with the Airtame app have similar functionality to their iOS counterpart. Users can stream static content like photos and documents, but videos or animations are not supported.
Connecting a device to a Ditto receiver is nearly instantaneous. The Ditto receiver accepts this code without needing to look up device-specific network information, which saves time when connecting the devices.
Airtame uses a broadcast system. User devices must search for the Airtame broadcast signal on the network. Depending on network traffic, signal strength and network accessibility, this process can take several seconds or longer.
Latency indicates how long it takes the screen of one device to mirror to another display. Your specific network, receiver, personal devices and signal strength affect the output speed of any wireless presentation system.
These latency specs are representative of each product in an ideal presentation environment:
Many schools and conference rooms are already equipped with Macs, Windows PCs, Apple TVs or Chromecasts, which means you could begin screen mirroring with Ditto today. Since Ditto can be deployed with common devices you already own, you won’t have to spend the time or money to procure and purchase a proprietary hardware receiver from a manufacturer.
With any hardware device, you’ll need to wait for a shipment to arrive and then manually deploy them across meeting spaces, which could take weeks in total.
Ditto and Airtame are priced on a per-room basis rather than a per-user basis. This drastically reduces the cost when many people need the ability to screen mirror. The specific price points, however, are different:
Ditto is compatible with a variety of conference room technologies already used in businesses, universities and schools. That means you have the ability to use Ditto without purchasing any additional hardware. If you do require a wireless receiver, numerous options are available. Even if you decide to purchase a high-end option, such as an Apple TV HD (priced at $150), the total cost of Ditto, paired with a receiver, is $300 for one room.
Airtame costs $399 for a single Airtame 2 device. Standard shipping to most locations is $20. Connecting your Airtame via ethernet with power sourced through the same cable (as the company recommends for reliable, stable performance) requires a proprietary PoE adapter. This adds an additional $119 per room. If you require a traditional ethernet connection, Airtame’s proprietary ethernet adapter is $20 per room. If you need a regular extension cord without hardwiring, that’s another $19 per room. All of these accessories cost $20 for shipping to most areas. If your device’s Aircord (Airtame’s proprietary USB-C to USB-A and HDMI cable) breaks or is misplaced, the cost to replace it is $40 plus $5 in shipping fees.
Several Airtame features such as digital signage and home screen app integrations are currently in beta and free to users. When these features and other ancillary services are fully released to the public, Airtame will charge a premium fee for their use on a subscription basis, in addition to the cost of procuring and purchasing hardware devices and replacement parts.
Without including premium services or maintenance fees from Airtame, it would take four years for Ditto to reach the price of Airtame in one room. As a hardware manufacturer, Airtame has demonstrated a production schedule of releasing new hardware every three years. In that case, customers will have to pay to upgrade all Airtame devices in all locations every three years in order to maintain the most up-to-date hardware and keep performance stable. The hardware costs and time to purchase, procure, deploy and maintain these devices must be considered to get a true estimate of the total cost.
Ditto is a robust software ecosystem where desktop and mobile users alike can present consistently and cohesively across every major platform. If you want to leverage a robust ecosystem of applications to present to proven, reliable receivers, go with Ditto. If you’re looking for a hardware solution that focuses on desktop support and premium subscription-based features, go with Airtame.
Last updated 9/30/19
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