Most talk this week is going to be about the impressive new Nexus 7 and its many features, but that doesn’t mean that the many original Nexus 7 tablets out there are suddenly no longer relevant. One of the big improvements that the new Nexus 7 has over the original is the inclusion of SlimPort HDMI out, especially since the lack of HDMI out was one of my biggest complaints about the original tablet. That alone was nearly enough to convince me that the new tablet was a worthwhile investment, but it turns out that a few people have almost gotten Miracast working on the Nexus 7, nearly eliminating the need for a hardware HDMI connection.
Miracast is essentially a WiFi peer-to-peer screen casting protocol that supports cable-free mirroring to HDTVs. It is the same technology that was showcased in the new DROID Ultra, is supported by many new HDTVs, and can be used through an accessory on older televisions. Theoretically, Miracast is even better than having to use an actual cable to connect your device to the TV, because of the obvious benefits of being a wireless technology.
Early this month, a video was posted on YouTube demonstrating Miracast working between a Nexus 7 and Nexus 4. Since then, users have reported it working with a few Nexus 7 specific ROMs and the Samsung AllShare Miracast dongle. Not everything works exactly right yet, but the hack has reportedly worked with some LG TVs as well, and there are some small efforts to get the modification added to CyanogenMod at some point in the future, now that it is clear that Miracast can be enabled through software.
With the Chromecast now offering users an easy and inexpensive way to stream Google content to their televisions, Miracast on the original Nexus 7 isn’t as much of a necessity. In fact, the forum post concerning Miracast development on the tablet was nearly derailed by talk of the much easier and cheaper to acquire Chromecast. Still, Chromecast mirroring is still in beta currently only supported for the very specific application on the Chromebook Pixel on a Windows/OS X machine, so it certainly isn’t a complete solution. As such, I hope to see more development around the software especially for the Nexus 7, even though the tablet may have just been eclipsed by a newer version from Google.[xda-developers]