What is a wireless display adapter?

In some cases, you’ll want to set your television up as a second display screen. There are many different ways that you can connect to your television from your phone or another device that you’re using. One of the easiest ways for you to do this is by using a wireless display adapter.

But what exactly is a WDA, and how does it come to the other methods you can use to connect your devices together? Well, let’s find out a little more about wireless display adapters and how they work.

What is a Wireless Display Adapter?

Essentially, a wireless display adapter is an easy way for you to connect to your television with your laptop, phone or another device. You don’t need to use any other cables to do this, and it can be done completely wirelessly.

It allows you to use your television as a second monitor, which can prove to be very handy. You can connect to it with various different devices, but people mainly choose to connect via their laptops, phones and tablets.

It is full compatible with all Android phones and Windows devices, and it’s very easy to set it up and get started. All you need to do is plug in the Wireless Display Adapter into the HDMI input port on your TV and the other end of the WDA into the USB port to charge it. Then, you can simply go onto your phone or laptop and connect to the device.

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter

The name “wireless display adapter” has long been associated with Microsoft, who released their first version of this product many years ago now.

Whilst it’s still thought of by many as the first model to pop into your head when considering an adapter, there are a wide range of alternative models out there nowadays made by cheaper brands.

They’re all pretty similar, and they tend to have the same functionality.

The Microsoft one is well.. pretty expensive for what you’re actually getting. So whilst it definitely does perform well, it’s now considered to be a bit overpriced when you see the rest of the market out there.

Do you need wifi for a wireless display adapter?

One of the most common questions about these types of wireless display adapters is the technology that they use, and whether you need to be connected to the wifi for you to use them properly. This is probably because of the name, as nowadays we associate anything wireless to do with wifi.

The truth is that you don’t need an active wifi connection to connect the two together, as they don’t use wifi for this. They actually use Miracast technology to connect the two.

What is Miracast?

Miracast was launched all the way back in 2012, and it was actually launched by non-profit The Wifi Alliance, who’s black and white logo you’ll probably recognize. They set the standard that most companies have to meet with their devices if they want to be compliant.

And within the Wifi Alliance you have Miracast. It’s just a technology standard of connection between a sending device (laptop, tablet, phone) and a receiving device (TV, projector, monitor).

You’ll find that there’s a ton of different devices out there that support Miracasting. Phones, laptops and streaming devices like fire sticks and Roku devices too – most Androids and Windows devices are compatible.

Because it was designed by an independent company, it’s not solely limited to one brand. These means that two different brands can work together if they’re both Miracast certified.

Essentially, it’s designed to give you the same connection as a HDMI cable gives you, but over wifi instead. It’s good for television, as it has a maximum refresh rate of 30 Hz and can run at a 4K resolution.

You may find a faster fps than this at lower resolutions, but typically at 1080p or 4K it’s the standard 30 Hz. So for people looking to cut down on the cables in their house, it’s a great idea. There are many different streaming devices on the market that are Miracast enabled.

Is a wireless display adapter the same as Chromecast?

Whilst they are very similar to one another, Miracast and a wireless display adapter are not quite the same as Google’s Chromecast. They can both be used to mirror your phone or laptop screen onto your television, so there is an obvious similarity between them.

The main reason that people opt to use a WDA is that it can either make the TV mirror the screen that you’re viewing, or it can be used as a second screen as well. It’s quite a simple and easy to use device, as you only need to insert it into your HDMI port.

However, a Chromecast is the better option of the two if you’re looking to stream apps and YouTube from your phone onto your television screen. In this scenario, you phone just acts like the remote, and you won’t end up running through all of your phones battery by playing a film through it.

Another thing to mention about Chromecast is that it definitely does need a wifi connection for you to use it. So, this is another reason why some people end up opting for a wireless display adapter instead.

Can I use a wireless display adapter with an iPhone?

With many of us using iPhones nowadays, they are making more and more integrations between Apple tech products and other brands. However, one area where you’re not really going to get a crossover is with Apple and Microsoft, as they’re the biggest competitors on the market.

So whilst you can’t use a WDA to connect your iPhone to your television, there’s usually an Apple equivalent out there for you to use and connect to via Airplay. Just make sure that it is fully compatible with Airplay before you purchase.


If you want a very simple and easy way to connect to your television without a lot of hassle and cables, then opting for a wireless display adapter might be a good idea.

It’ll allow you to mirror your display very quickly and easy, as it’s really just a plug in and use type of device that can come in handy to have around the house. It allows for screen mirroring from your phone to the big screen, and can be used very easily.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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