If you have an Android based device then chances are that you have heard about Google’s Chromecast which is a sweet little device which can stream content from your phone or Tablet running Android to a TV wirelessly and even supports 3rd party apps like Netflix, Hulu etc. This is based in a propriety Google standard and since it is Google they decided to support only Android and iOS and not Windows Phone.
On Windows Phone you can use Microsoft Screen Sharing for Lumia Phones which is a Miracast standard based device but this only works with the new Windows Phone 8.1 devices such as Lumia 830 or Lumia 930. The older Windows phone 8.0 devices such as my Lumia 925 only supported DLNA.
The problem here is that not everyone in this world uses an Android or iOS or Windows device. Neither their family member use devices from a same platform. There is no one size fit all solution.
Well, guess what. There is one such device which is gaining lots of popularity. Its call EzCast and it is supported on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices equally. It is actually a small Android running device only.
I found about EzCast while doing some research online. There are many EzCast devices available online and they are all dirt cheap devices. So cheap that if one device stops working in sometime, you won’t feel the pinch. I purchased my EzCast adapter for $21 during GoSF 2014 in India. That is less than the price of a new trouser these days.
While EzCast is meant to be used with a TV, I connected it to my Samsung P2370MS Monitor which supports HDMI input and has a USB plug to provide power to EzCast. This monitor is nothing short than a TV. You can also read my review of this monitor.
To connect, you just plug the adapter in TV’s HDMI port and give power using bundled USB + WiFi adapter. Then, your TV will automatically display this EzCast interface.
Once you start it, it will automatically search and show you nearby EzCast devices and will show you the same name as shown in the interface on TV screen. Connect to it to start the EzCast UI on TV. By default, it is already configured for good out of the box experience but you can customize it.
One thing to note is that EzCast doesn’t need internet connection to stream videos, pictures and music from your device to TV screen. This means you can use it even without a router. However, to watch YouTube videos etc you will need to connect your device to a WiFi based internet connection which it will tell you to add right after connecting app in your phone to EzCast. You can see various tutorials for connecting on YouTube.
Now the reason I purchased EzCast and not a Chromecast is because I want more from my device than what a ChromeCast can provide and I don’t use Google’s ecosystem. If you are deeply into Google ecosystem then you should definitely buy a Chromecast instead.
I can use this device with my Lumia 925 as a DLNA adapter and show pictures and videos and play music on my TV wirelessly. This reduces the need of a PC to show and see everything on a big screen.
My video consumption is online only now using either YouTube or Torrents. Since I have a Dell venue 7 tablet which I use for downloading all my torrents, I no longer have to copy them to my PC to see them. I can just stream them using EzCast to TV, put the tablet in its cover and I don’t even need an internet connection to see them as this is just offline streaming from tablet to TV.
I can mirror my Android Tablet’s screen to my TV in case I need to show something to people in my living room. This is very helpful during social gather ting when I can show them my Facebook albums on the big screen. Here is a picture of this mirroring using Miracast in action.
You can see a tutorial about how to use the Miracast on YouTube.
Overall, I am very satisfied with EzCast and the features it is providing at a dirt cheap price. Here is a short list of what I can do with it.
- Use with my Lumia 925 as a DLNA receiver to show pictures, play videos and music on my TV.
- Use with my Dell Venue 7 Android tablet to directly play the videos I have rented/purchased on YouTube on my TV without the need of any external media player or Plex.
- Mirror the screen of my Android Tablet/Windows Phone device to TV using Miracast and show content to lots of people
Again, if your house runs on an all Apple or all Google ecosystem or all Windows ecosystem then you should go ahead and buy an Apple TV/ChromeCat/Lumia screen sharing device but if you have multiple such devices then EzCast is a better option.