Modern meetings: How to share your screen to your conference TV

Apple TV, Chromecast, and Miracast can take you some of the distance; AirParrot and Ditto a little further

Go to almost any meeting these days and you'll see a sea of laptops around the table and sometimes some iPads or other tablets. That lets people look up information, take notes and do on-the-fly research during the meeting.

But if someone wants to share what's on their screen with the rest of the participants, good luck. The typical solution is to connect a computer or tablet to the TV via an HDMI cable, hoping the inputs are correctly set and requiring each presenter to move to get near the cable. The good news: A better way is emerging.

That better way is wireless screencasting. Macs, iPads and iPhones have supported screencasting via the Apple TV for several years. More recently, Google has supported screencasting via its Chromecast device on Android devices, some Chrome OS devices, and (for web pages only) from Macs and PCs via the Chrome browser. Microsoft supports a technology in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 called both WiDi and Miracast (some Android devices also support this technology) over a variety of Miracast devices.

If your meeting attendees use a variety of devices, the corresponding variety of screencasting methods can get downright confusing. Sure, you could get an Apple TV, Chromecast, and Miracast device for each room and connect all three to the room's TV (if it has enough HDMI ports), then have users change inputs based on who wants to present. But that's only slightly better than the HDMI-cable shuffle of today.

A company called Squirrels (yes, really) is now offering a service called Ditto to partially unify the device diaspora. You may know Squirrels: Its Reflector app is used to display iOS and Android screens on a computer -- and directly to YouTube, if desired -- so you can make training videos. Its AirParrot app for Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS lets those devices stream to both AirPlay and Chromecast devices.

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