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Windows 8.1 to include native Miracast wireless display support and internet sharing

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Windows 8.1 Start Screen (Embargo)
Windows 8.1 Start Screen (Embargo)

Microsoft revealed a number of new features for its upcoming Windows 8.1 update last week, but at Tech-Ed today the company is focusing on business-related changes. Windows 8.1 will include native support for the wireless Miracast format, allowing users to mirror their screens to compatible devices. Miracast is designed as an open alternative to Apple's own AirPlay mirroring, and makes use of Wi-Fi direct connections to stream content from a PC, smartphone, or other source to TVs.

Potentially, Microsoft could also include Miracast support in its upcoming Xbox One, making it possible for Windows 8.1 devices that are compatible with Miracast to wirelessly project their screens via the Xbox One. Display manufacturers and PC makers will both have to ensure their equipment is Miracast compatible for the Windows 8.1 support to work, but it helps opens up the door to a future without wired projectors.

Aside from Miracast, Windows 8.1 will also include Wi-Fi direct printing support and broadband tethering. The tethering support will allow compatible tablets and PCs to share a 3G or LTE connection as a wireless hotspot. It's a common feature of modern smartphones, but as Microsoft targets small form factor Windows tablets it's another option to share a connection to other devices.