Chromecast, which has been named as TIME Magazine's top gadget of 2013, has inspired a series of devices that try to either imitate it or put their own spin on the form factor. Now even electronics and accessory maker Belkin is jumping into the bandwagon and launching its own take on the streaming dongle device category.
It may look like Google's Chromecast but Belkin's Miracast Video Adapter is different in many ways. Sure, it comes in the form of a USB thumbdrive that plugs into a TV's HDMI slot. It also drives its power from the same TV's USB slot, just like the Chromecast. But in terms of streaming capabilities, Belkin's device is a bit more featured, at least compared to the Chromecast's current supported sources.
The Belkin Miracast Video Adapter, as the name conspicuously points out, utilizes the Miracast standard for wirelessly mirroring content from an Android device to the HDTV via the adapter. In short, it can practically accept any kind of content, like movies, photos, games or apps, and not just those officially sanctioned commercial streaming services. Of course, you can do that too, except it will all have to be done on your Android device. That said, this implementation does have one critical weakness. Devices streaming to Belkin's adapter requires support for the said Miracast technology. While the list of confirmed supported devices is quite substantial, it does leave out some, including 2012's Nexus 7, the Nexus 10, the HTC One, and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
If you're smartphone or tablet is luckily included in that list, you can purchase the Belkin Miracast Video Adapter from either Belkin's online store or from Amazon. The dongle has a price tag of $79.99 and also includes an extension cable for those hard to reach HDMI ports.