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7 Reasons You Should Look for Wireless Alternatives to HDMI Cables

HDMI cables physically connect your device to a larger display so you can share what’s on your screen. This sounds great in theory, but screen sharing via HDMI cables presents seven key challenges that should have any school or business looking for alternatives:

  • Restricted mobility
  • Misplaced, broken or stolen HDMI cables and adapters
  • HDMI cable incompatibility with devices
  • Unclear connection instructions
  • Cable clutter
  • Complex, costly floor and in-wall wiring
  • Wasted time and money required to replace cables and adapters

HDMI cables are outdated and problematic in collaborative environments. There’s a world of wireless presentation alternatives out there for schools and businesses looking to increase meeting productivity and save costs. If you want to get rid of clunky HDMI cables for good, this brief summary of the most popular wireless alternatives will help you decide which is right for you.

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Computer screen mirroring to TV

Presenting wirelessly: The basics

Wirelessly displaying a device onto a TV, computer or other external display is called screen mirroring. This requires a screen-sending technology and a screen-receiving technology.

For example, Apple developed AirPlay as its screen-sending technology and the Apple TV as its screen-receiving technology. Macs and iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad use AirPlay to wirelessly mirror to Apple TV and other AirPlay receivers.

Google’s screen-sending technology is Google Cast. Google Cast-enabled devices, such as Chromebooks and devices running the Chrome browser, can wirelessly connect to Google’s screen-receiving technology, Chromecast.

Learn more about how screen mirroring works: What is Screen Mirroring? Everything You Need to Know

Alternative 1: The two giants

With millions of combined units shipped, Apple TV and Chromecast are the most popular and successful screen-mirroring receivers on the market.

While prevalent in the living room, there are some limitations to using Apple TV and Chromecast in school and business environments.

Chromebooks, Android devices and Windows machines cannot connect to Apple TV because they are not equipped with AirPlay. Apple devices cannot screen mirror to Chromecast (aside from Chrome browser tabs on macOS). In short, these technologies do not work together.

Additionally, Chromecasts do not offer security features. Most schools and businesses require these features, such as user customization settings and on-screen passwords and codes.

Apple TV and Chromecast are great screen-mirroring receivers for consumers to use as home entertainment. By themselves, however, these receivers are limited in functionality for diverse environments.

The best option for schools and businesses looking to use an Apple TV or Chromecast as a wireless HDMI alternative is to couple the receiver with screen-mirroring software solutions. This will enhance compatibility and create a better setup for any organization’s needs. 

Cables, Apple TV and Chromecast

Alternative 2: Screen-mirroring software

AirPlay and Google Cast are not robust enough for schools and companies using a mix of macOS, Windows, iOS, Android and Chrome OS devices, and neither option provides presenter-focused features.

Screen-mirroring software like Ditto allows phones, tablets or computers to display on another device screen. While AirPlay and Google Cast are native only to a limited number of devices, other screen-mirroring software solutions exist that go cross-platform. These software options often contain more features and are more customizable than what’s offered by Apple or Google alone.

The best screen-mirroring software is an all-in-one system that can also work in-tandem with the conference room setups you already use. Supplementing Apple TV, Chromecast and other devices with screen-mirroring software such as Ditto provides a convenient and more advanced alternative to HDMI cables and adapters in conference rooms, classrooms and meeting spaces.

Ditto allows macOS, Windows, iOS, Chrome OS and Android users to screen mirror to a number of compatible receivers. It also adds presenter-focused features that native AirPlay and Google Cast lack, such as the ability to mirror an entire screen or a specific window or app to keep the focus on what matters most.

Computer screen mirroring specific app

Alternative 3: Proprietary hardware solutions

There are proprietary hardware solutions that do not use Apple TV or Chromecast for screen mirroring. These solutions require receivers to be plugged into the HDMI ports on TVs, similar to Apple TV and Chromecast. They may also require USB or HDMI transmitters plugged into computers or clunky, downloaded applications to connect to conference room displays.

If you have the time and expendable IT manpower, hardware solutions can be reliable, dedicated systems to share data and present information. However, faulty hardware technology has been shown to waste time and lower productivity at work. They generally require lengthy setups, complex wiring and expensive replacements when adapters or cables inevitably break or go missing.

Proprietary hardware solutions are costly and could require the ongoing purchase and installation of new models as the trademark owner releases new hardware and updates. 

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Going, going...wireless

Finding a wireless HDMI alternative resolves a myriad of issues caused by wired solutions in conference rooms, classrooms and meeting spaces.

IT consulting company NOVALOGIQ saw the benefits when they switched to a completely wireless presentation solution, Ditto. “I took all of the HDMI cables off of the conference table,” general manager Carlos Castillo said. “They’re in a box on the bookshelf now, and nobody uses them.”

Wireless cross-platform solutions replace cables, eliminate clutter and omit the need for multiple adapters and dongles. They make sharing screens simple and easy, so users can connect without hesitation and use any device.

The best alternative to HDMI cables should give the IT department a break. If it’s simple to set up and requires little to no maintenance – as many software solutions are – you’ve found a true HDMI alternative that meets your department and organization’s needs.

Last updated 5/17/19

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