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Home > How To > Airplay Miracast DLNA: What’s the difference between them?
Airplay Miracast DLNA: What’s the difference between them?

Airplay Miracast DLNA: What’s the difference between them?

By  Matthieu Andre 2018-10-26 7844 1

Airplay, Miracast and DLNA are three main wireless display technologies, and they are a great way for those without a “smart TV” to get access to streaming channels and services. All these three mirror solutions have advanced features for users to enjoy screen mirroring. But what’s the difference between them? Let’s find out.

Wireless display

 

What is Airplay, Miracast and DLNA

Airplay is a wireless streaming service from Apple (Itunes program), designed to allow users to stream contents from any Apple devices to speakers, AirPort Express or an HDTV.  Using Airplay, you can either display the content on a bigger screen with a full HD resolution or listen a high quality sound over WiFi.

 

Airplay

 

Miracast is a wireless display standard from WiFi Alliance. Designed for mirroring any Miracast devices to a TV, projector, monitor without any cables, it uses the peer-to-peer WiFi direct standard. That allows an optimal video 1080p HD and sound 5.1 running without a wireless router. In addition, easy to use and plug into HDMI or USB port, users can mirror the content on a bigger screen.

 

Miracast

 

 

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, and was set up by Sony. Defined as an open standard, that allows devices to share media content with each other such as photos, videos, music through TCP/IP network and UPnP protocol. In other words, devices are connected to the same home network, without having to store the content. Therefore, DLNA users can share its media to other multimedia devices, by streaming on bigger screen with a resolution of 4K ultra high definition.

DLNA

Main differences between Airplay vs. Miracast vs. DLNA

1. Compability

In term of compatibility, DLNA is more flexible and supported by most DLNA devices (e.g: TV, laptop, smartphones) and platforms, so that users can share content between devices. On the other hand, Miracast is mid-diversified by offering a compatibility on system such as Android and Windows to Miracast devices. Easy to use and plug into HDMI or USB ports, it doesn’t require any cables. However, Airplay is more limited and compatible with Apple devices to speakers, AirPort Express or an HDTV, requiring users to use Apple system.

2. Networking

In term of networking, Airplay, Miracast and DLNA use a wireless network based on 802.11 (a,b,g,n, ac). Nevertheless, to broadcast and perform an optimal content, the network protocol may differ between them. Airplay is a standard / network protocol stack using UDP for streaming media content and is based on RTSP network protocol.

 

On the other hand, DLNA uses a synergistic approach with a DLNA protocol set to ensure DLNA devices are suitable. Defined by an Universal Plug and Play, that allows devices to share media content with each other through its home network. In addition, DLNA and Airplay need WLAN AP for relay purpose compare to Miracast, which uses a WiFi Direct/TDLS and WPA2 security. That allows users to share multimedia between Miracast devices. In other words, Miracast use its own network even if the WiFi is not available.

 

 

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3. Interface and local APP

Airplay, Miracast and DLNA provide an interface to a larger screen. Indeed, they all adopt an APP-centric interface and make the TV look like a giant tablet via screen mirroring or extended screen. Intituive and creative with their functionalities, users can customize their favorite features and configuration. Though DLNA has a biggest advantage since it is multiplatform, users can enjoy and download free APP on their devices and rearrange them as favorite.

 

The menu bar and layout allow them to browse content and stream from any devices. Nevertheless, streaming players may differ in term of screen projection. Miracast and DLNA don’t allow Application content projection while on the other hand DLNA and Airplay allow client multi-task during projection.

4. Set up

In term of setting up, they all require a small device  (e.g: computer and office) to perform the content. DLNA Media Server is easier to set up, and doesn’t require to install anything because system is built-in with DLNA. On the other hand, Airplay requires an Apple TV or Airplay-enabled speaker to screen mirror, while Miracast require a Miracast compatible device and a Miracast TV or dongle to allow point to point projection.

 

Let’s sum up main differences

 

Differences

Airplay

Miracast

DLNA

Compatibility

- Apple devices

- Third party speakers, AirPort Express or an HDTV

- Android, Windows

-  HDMI or USB ports

- Supported by most platform

 

Networking

- Wireless type: 802.11 (a,b,g,n,ac)

- Standard protocol / prototype: proprietary

- Standard protocol / type: Airplay

- Need WLAN AP for relay purpose: Yes

- Wireless type: 802.11 (a,b,g,n,ac)

- Standard protocol / prototype:Open standard

- Standard protocol / type: Wi-Fi Direct / TDLS

- Need WLAN AP for relay purpose: No

- Wireless type: 802.11 (a,b,g,n,ac)

- Standard protocol / prototype:Open standard

- Standard protocol / type: DLNA protocol set

- Need WLAN AP for relay purpose: Yes

Interface and local APP

- APP centric interface: Yes

- Screen mirroring: Yes

- Application content projection: Yes

- Client multi-task during projection: Yes

 -  APP centric interface: Yes

 - Screen mirroring: Yes

- Application content projection: No

- Client multi-task during projection: No

-  APP centric interface: Yes

- Screen mirroring: Yes

- Application content projection: No

- Client multi-task during projection: Yes

Set up

- Require a device: Apple TV or Airplay-enabled speaker

- Require a device: Miracast compatible device and a Miracast TV or dongle

- Require a device: DLNA server, DLNA compatible device

 

Wrap up

To conclude, they all provide a bigger screen and require a small device to perform an optimal content.  Nevertheless, streaming players differ in term of technologies and performance though they have same type of wireless network.

 

If you are looking for a point to point projection capabilities and something mid-diversified in term of compatibility, Miracast is more suitable because it is supported by Miracast devices such as HDTV and doesn’t require to purchase an additional receiver. If you are looking for customized features and something easy to set up, more flexible, DLNA will be suitable since it support multiple platforms. On the other hand, if you are an Apple user and having an Apple equipment, the Airplay will be more suitable to the screen.

 

 

 You may also want to read:
AnyCast M2 Miracast TV Dongle Video Guide
TV box or TV dongle: which would you choose?
Solutions to AnyCast M2 Miracast TV dongle issues
Mirascreen MX DLNA Airplay WiFi display Miracast TV dongle receiver user manual in English

 

 

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