In these times of smart devices, no longer does one need to carry a laptop computer to make a presentations, even though these too have become uber-slim and easier to carry. Suffice to just plug in your device to the projector or a television, and you are set to roll.
But wires are so passé! Wireless is the flavour of the season. Let us see how we can do this wirelessly.
If you have a phone or tablet that runs on Android or BlackBerry OS, chances are that your device has a micro HDMI port. Plug in a micro HDMI to HDMI cable and you can see the screen of your device on a projector or a TV that has an HDMI port.
But if wireless is what you wanted, you will need to check if your device supports Miracast.
With Android’s 4.2 version, Miracast has become commonplace. The latest BlackBerry devices —Q5, Q10, Z30 — also have Miracast. Once you have confirmed that your device has Miracast, you can go ahead and buy a Miracast dongle, available at computer accessory stores, priced at Rs 2,900 or more.
The dongle plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and uses a micro USB to power up. If your TV has a USB port, you can just do all this without worrying about power connections.
Unlike Apple TV, Miracast does not require a WiFi network to be setup. It sets up its own WiFi direct between your phone/tablet and the dongle, and you are ready to stream.
The only problem is that if the screen of your device goes into the powersave mode or auto-lock, the TV will go blank. Make sure your device has enough power and the screen-lock is disabled.
The Google Chromecast also works through a dongle that costs $35 (about Rs 2,200) but retails in India for around Rs 3,000. The dongle is similar to the Miracast dongle, and also plugs into your TV’s HDMI port with power from a microUSB source.
Unlike Miracast, though, you cannot really use the Chromecast to make all kinds of presentations or run whiteboard utilities. It does work for watching YouTube videos, for instance, and lets you use applications that are Chromecast-enabled. It does not solve the remote display we speak about here.
Apple’s iOS devices last year saw a "small" change — the 30-pin analog pin for the charger/USB cable in the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad were thrown out, and a new, digital Lightning connector put in its place.
The Lightning connector is smaller and faster. But it also means that the way you connect the device has changed, from analog to digital. If you feel comfortable with a wired world, you can always buy a 30-pin to VGA, 30-pin to HDMI, Lightning to VGA or a Lightning to HDMI adapter.
These cables from Apple cost between Rs 1,500 and Rs 4,500, and you will need to ensure that you have the right cable for the device you plan to use. The cables are probably the best bet if you travel across the globe and make presentations all over using a projector or TV.
However, if you want to do this in your office or at home, you can go wireless. What you need is an Apple TV. The device costs Rs 8,990, and connects to your television or projector using an HDMI cable.
You can connect the Apple TV to your home / office network using wi-fi or ethernet, and once it is connected, your Apple iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, and even your Macintosh computer (if it is a new generation one) will now show you an option called Airplay.
You can either choose to mirror your device’s screen on the TV, or make presentations using your device to read speaker notes while the slide is being displayed on the TV/projector.
Apple TV is small enough to carry around, so you may even like to use it for presentations outside your own territory. But you would need to ensure that both your device and Apple TV are on the same network. And do set up an Airplay password.
Otherwise other devices may be able to hijack your presentation!
Last word: If you have been yearning to watch a movie from your mobile phone on a big screen, or to play Angry Birds on your 60-inch LED TV, or need to make the super presentation you’ve created on your tablet, there are various ways of connecting up. Go ahead, enjoy!