NVIDIA has just announced support for Miracast, a WiFi-Direct based protocol that allows phones, tablets and other computing devices to clone a live mobile device display to a compatible TV. This lets mobile applications being displayed effortlessly onto a big TV. Obviously, this concept has immediate applications for games, video and presentation apps.
To do this, NVIDIA needs to compress a video stream fast enough and with sufficient quality. Given what the company has done with GeForce grid (which is used by Gaikai), there is no question that it has the know-how. Additionally, the low-latency of a home network should make that a walk in the park, mostly.
That said, making it work on a low-power device is probably what makes it challenging. Fortunately, the Tegra 3 chips already have dedicated video hardware, although it is usually more dedicated to de-code, and encode. However, from NVIDIA’s whitepaper (.pdf link), it looks like they managed to use dedicated hardware for all of it.
We haven’t seen it in action yet, but NVIDIA claims that its Miracast implementation provides very low latency, which is one of the main grippe when it comes to “beaming” video to a remote screen. We’ll have to see how low is “low”, but this looks promising. Secondly, because this is done using the dedicated hardware and not the CPU, this should have a significant impact on application performance and battery life.
Now, NVIDIA and the WiFi Alliance have to convince display and TV manufacturers to embed Miracast in their products. So far Intel’s WiDi has only had limited success and Apple’s Airplay has too much latency to do anything more than streaming video or music, after a buffering delay. What do you think? How would you use such a feature if it was integrated in your TV?