The Surface is a really cool little tablet. It’s light weight and powerful. Unfortunately, one of the trade-offs for that compact form factor is screen size, another is speaker volume.
As a result, although great for individual use, the Surface is not really a good choice for watching a movie with a bunch of your friends – unless you like to be really cozy with each other and can hear really well.
Fortunately, it is quite easy to wirelessly stream content from Surface tablets to larger displays such as TVs and projectors.
This capability helps negate the disadvantage of the small screen and speaker size which makes watching movies or listening to music from your Surface much more comfortable.
Stream Video From Surface: Setup an External Display
Video streaming from Surface tablets usually means utilizing a technology built into many of the Surface tablets (including the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3) called Miracast. In case you’re curious, Miracast is a technological standard designed to allow for video and sound to be transmitted over WiFi. Think of it as “HDMI over WiFi”.
To successfully stream video from Surface tablets wirelessly, the Surface is only half of the equation. You will also need a Miracast capable device to receive the signal such as one of the following…
- Miracast Capable HDTV or Projector
- Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
- FireTV Stick
- Roku Steaming Stick
- XBox One
There are other devices that will work but the above list shows the most popular options.
Once you have a Miracast capable device, displaying what’s on your Surface screen is pretty simple. In the example below, I’ll be streaming video from my Surface 3 to a 55″ Samsung TV.
- Make sure you have the latest updates installed as there have been issues with Miracast in the past
- Make sure you have a good internet connection
- Bring up the charms menu by swiping in from the right of the screen
- Choose Devices then Project
- Choose Add a wireless display
- Your Surface will search for any compatible wireless displays it can find . When it finds the one you want, Tap on it
- You may be asked to follow some on screen instructions on the device you’re connecting to. What you will need to do will vary from device to device
After you follow the instructions on your device, drivers will install and your screen will be displayed on the TV.
Be aware that it can take some time to connect and if the drivers don’t finish downloading by the time the receiving device times out, you may need to repeat the procedure.
Stream Video From Surface: Connecting and Disconnecting
After the first time your Surface sets up the external display, you’ll see an entry for the wireless display when you tap on the Project charm. To project, just tap it and your Surface will connect to it.
If you are connected to a display and want to disconnect, just access the Project charm and choose the Disconnect option.
Pretty simple, right?
Stream Video From Surface: Chromecast
Another option to wirelessly stream video and sound from your Google Chromecast. We wrote an article on how to do just that a while back which you can find here: Chromecast on Surface.
Using a Chromecast actually has a significant advantage over the Miracast projection method above as it allows you to “hand off” a single tab or application to the Chromecast. This means that you can often, unlike with Miracast, let the app or Chrome browser tab run in the background while you do other things with your Surface.
Stream Video From Surface: FireTV Stick
I already mentioned it above but, if you happen to be an Amazon Prime subscriber, you may want to look at an Amazon FireTV stick (that’s if you don’t already have a Miracast capable device or Chromecast.)
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.