Improving Google TV: seamless wireless mirroring capabilities

Google TV still needs to evolve and is not as polished as we wish it was, though there has been major improvement. We can say it is not the smoothest and most user-friendly just yet, so we have decided to start a new series of articles pointing out Google TV’s flaws and needs. This happens to be the first one, but there will definitely be more to come.

Put all aesthetics and interface aside and let’s take a look at features for a moment. In this department, Google TV is as good as any smart TV platform can get, but there is one major thing it needs. Google TV needs more interactivity with other devices. The Google TV team has been doing a better job lately, but there is still more to do.

Today’s topic is wireless mirroring, which is nearly impossible to accomplish right now. After looking for a long time, I could find no convincing way to accomplish wireless mirroring with Google TV, whether it be with smartphones, tablets or computers. Yes, there are ways to stream videos to Google TV, there are ways to access media servers, there are ways to do it through cables. But there is no simple way to accomplish unadulterated screen mirroring yet.

The closest we can get to it is an app called Airtight, which is pretty much an AirPlay substitution for Google TV. The downside is it only works with iOS devices, and it does not support mirroring (yet). There is also media server services like Plex, but then again, this is streaming, not mirroring.

As a last resort, I thought I could use an Android app that turns your tablet into a second display. My favorite one is Air Display, but neither this one or any comparable one was available for Google TV devices from the Play Store. And even if you manage to sideload them, they are simply not the smoothest experience (very laggy).

The closest thing to a solution has been the Nexus Q, but as you all know, that option is no longer an option as its launch was canceled indefinitely. It just seems like there simply is no way to mirror a display wirelessly without having to give something up, if you manage to accomplish it at all, that is.

Quite frankly, I am jealous of Apple TV users. Airplay allows for screen mirroring of any iOS device or Mac computer. It may only work with Apple devices, but at least Apple is supporting multiple platforms, from high-end computers to tablets, smartphones and mp3 devices like the iPod Touch. Performance is almost perfect too – lag can be measured in milliseconds. Check out this demonstration from the guys at IGM:

Quite frankly, this is really the only reason why I am considering purchasing an Apple TV. This should not be the case, Google TV has the power to do this and more. We simply need more support, from both Google and third-party developers. Google TV runs on Android, after all. If tablets can do it, a Google TV should have no problem accomplishing quality wireless screen mirroring.