Google clearly landed on a fantastic formula when it built Chromecast, and that product’s standout success has led other companies to push out their own HDMI dongles in recent months. Roku’s got its $49.99 Streaming Stick, and now Microsoft is trying to create a worthy competitor with the brand new Wireless Display Adapter. No, names don’t get much more generic than that. But Microsoft’s device shares a lot in common with Chromecast. Its primary purpose is sending something you’re viewing on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the TV screen. It’s also powered by USB, but unlike Chromecast, it looks like the USB cord is hardwired and can’t be unplugged or replaced, Whereas Google’s approach is based around the company’s own Cast technology, Microsoft is relying on Miracast to make the Display Adapter work.
Microsoft unveiled a new HDMI dongle earlier today, jumping into a market that’s already crowded with gadgets from Google, Roku and others. Unlike its competition, however, the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter lets you stream the display from any Miracast-enabled device, which includes both Windows and Android products. The design itself is pretty similar to Google’s Chromecast, with an HDMI connection on one end connected to a USB power connector by a short wire. Microsoft’s device looks a bit boxier, though that shouldn’t really be an issue since if it mostly stays hidden behind your TV. That short cord could be an issue though, possibly limiting where you can actually use Wireless Display Adapter. In theory, the device should work on any HDTV, monitor or projector, wirelessly beaming whatever you’re looking at on your smartphone, tablet or laptop onto a bigger screen. That’s a step above the Chromecast, which only works with Google’s Chrome browser and certain supported apps. You’ll be paying a bit more in return; Microsoft’s dongle starting at $59.95. You can pre-order the Wireless Display Adapter today, though there’s no word on when it will actually ship. Until then you can check out Microsoft’s first commercial for the device below.