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Community Member

Best software / hardware for screen casting mobile to PC

I am wanting to screen cast mobile devices to a Windows PC for the purposes of taking screenshots/screen captures and to also be able to display the device screen through a projector attached to the PC. I looked through the Community and found Go Completely iPad in the classroom posted by don.bryn@donbryn.com concerning the use of Airserver, but, so far, that is the only thing I was able to find. 

Is there anyone else who uses screen casting with iOS and/or Android devices for any of the reasons I mentioned above?  If so, what hardware/software are you employing to make this possible?  I would prefer a single solution for both iOS and Android, as I use and test both types of devices, but if an all-encompassing solution does not exist, I don’t mind acquiring multiple pieces of hardware/software.

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Thanks Ryan!

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Community Member

If you search for broadcasting to projector you find a lot of classrooms being set up with Apple TV.   I actually tried it out--bought a refurb AppleTV and everything.   But our system uses a video/audio router that wouldn't pass through the signals correctly for the AppleTV to connect.

I found Reflector and Airplay.   I tried out Reflector but when I got our IT department involved they just took the ball and installed Airplay.   Works fine with iPad for video but not audio.  I teach music so audio is important.   Audio sometimes doesn't play at all and when it does play, it's distorted and drops in and out.  So I still have to walk to the podium and plug audio into my iPad.  I tried lowering the video quality, but it didn't improve audio and the video was almost unusable, so I switched back.

Airplay DOES, however, record, so if audio is not important I can verify that it would work.

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Community Member

I've been using an Elgato game capture HD to record my iOS Devices.  It works great!

How to Use the Elgato Game Capture HD with an iphone/ipad(EASY) - YouTube 

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Community Member

So I tested both Vysor and LonelyScreen when I got home today, and so far I am impressed with both as while they may not provide me with everything I was looking for, I will still be able to perform certain tasks with them. 

These are my findings so far.

Vysorandroid.png

Pros: First, it was easy to install and set-up, which is always a major plus.  I like the fact that the image fits the window.  The ability to control the device using the computer's mouse and keyboard was interesting, and could be great while presenting live, although I am not certain it would display typical function for screen capturing a tutorial especially with a mouse cursor floating around the image.  There appeared to be little, if any, lag between an action being performed on the device and it occurring on the screen, at least not that I could tell. 

Cons: I noticed that there did not appear to be a screen casting feature built into the app but only a screen capture feature, but this could be solved using Jing or CamStudio if one does not have access to Camtasia.  Perhaps the worst aspect was that the resolution of the image displayed on the computer would suffer while doing almost anything on the device, but this might be solved by paying the one time price of $39.99 for Vysor Pro, which lists High Quality Mirroring as one of its features.

Summary: Having tested the free version, I guess I could not expect too much.  It is great for screen captures.  It captures clear and crisp static images.  Screen casting, however, produced a blurry, at times, image that could still be seen but was not something I would want to use for producing professional development tutorials.  Again the Pro version might solve this.

iphone.pngLonelyScreen

Pros: The mirrored image is clear and crisp and remains that way while using the device.  A screen casting feature is built into this app making it very easy to immediately capture whatever I was doing on the device, the media is saved as MP4, and clicking the play button at the bottom of the device opened my default media player to play the cast.  The screen cast that I captured was clear and there was no lag between action on the device and what showed on the screen.

Cons: Although this is a minor gripe, I wish the mirrored image fit the window.  The screen cast also captures the extra black space around the mirrored image.  The app was not completely intuitive to use.  It opens with the bottom area where the record button is located closed, and I would have not even known it was there had I not clicked on the arrow on the lower-right that opened it.  This is probably explained on the website, but who has time to read directions, right? :smileysilly:  At one point, the mirrored image froze on a screen even though I had moved to a different screen.  I turned off AirPlay on the iPhone, disconnected the iPhone USB cable from the PC, and eventually closed LonelyScreen all in an attempt to get it to reset.  Then when I went to restart LoenlyScreen, I did not realize that it was already running but hiding in the Notification area.  Once I found it there and clicked to open the window and reconnected the iPhone, it worked again.  No built-in screen capture, probably because that can already be done on the phone, but then that requires the additional work of transferring files, which I was wanting to get away from altogether.

Summary: The screen casting is of such quality that I would use the captures for PD tutorials.  I like that the screen casting is built-in, and that the files save as MP4's.  There is not a lot to it, so it is very easy to use, once you learn it.

Still wanting a single solution for screen mirroring both Android and iOS, I will test Reflector next week, if I have the time, and report what I find.

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Our school ran into this issue a couple of years ago as well. However, the last couple versions of the AppleTV have worked properly, as they now rely on Bluetooth rather than Wifi to establish the connection. Depending on what generation AppleTV you used, that might have been your issue. I believe the first 1080p AppleTV was the first one to use the Bluetooth connection protocol.

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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

In reality, AppleTV really would seem to be the best iOS solution.  But it's not free.  Smiley Sad  There are pretty decent apps which extend the display, meaning the iPad can act as a second or tertiary monitor.  Also not free. 

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Community Member

My experience so far:

I tested Vysor and Lonelyscreen with great results, as I posted previously.  Then yesterday I downloaded and tested the trial version of Reflector 2.  I had some connection issues at first, but once I finally got my devices to connect and display on my PC, everything seemed to work great.  I was actually very impressed with Reflector 2 for mirroring both devices.

However, for my initial trials, I have been performing all of my tests at home using my personal desktop and my devices.  Well, when I attempted to set-up and use the various software at work theses were the results:

  1. Lonelyscreen was blocked from installing, and I assume that this is because the site that the install is coming from is being blocked by our firewall as an insecure site?  I will have to research this further with IT.
  2. Vysor downloaded and installed just fine, launches when I plug-in my Android device, and works just fine.
  3. Reflector 2 downloaded and installed just fine; however, our institutional Wi-Fi is not set-up to allow devices on the network to be discoverable, so all I get when I launch the program is the little box in the corner stating that there are no devices detected.  Although, after some searching on the good-ol' internet, I did find a not-so-recommended workaround here Can I use Reflector with a USB cable or bluetooth? : Squirrels Support that explains how to connect an iOS device through a USB cable, and, upon initial testing, it appears to work just fine.

So, it appears as though I have three choices for screen casting to create tutorials for mobile usage.  I can either 1) use the workarounds; 2) get with IT to see if there is a way to allow my office PC and mobile devices to "discover" each other on the Wi-Fi; or 3) anytime I need to record a screen cast, I will simply have to work from home that day, since I know everything works on my set-up. :smileylaugh:

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I had the same issue installing LonelyScreen. I'd be interested to hear what you learn, but I also expect it goes back to the wifi ports being blocked so it likely wouldn't work anyways. I expect it would be the same situation as using an older AppleTV.

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Surveyor

For creating recordings, I've had good luck with TechSmith's Camtasia 2 for the Mac. It runs on the notebook/desktop, connects to the mobile device, and then you record to the desktop. There's a minimal amount of hocus-pocus involved in getting the phone to talk to the desktop software - the tutorial on their site was all I needed.

If you're recording onto a PC, you need to use one of the mirroring apps (some of which were described above). There's a support blog post that goes into a bit more detail on the PC side.

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Community Member

There are many applications on the web that allows one to mirror Android to PC. However, I recommend using ApowerMirror. I've tested the program and it works perfectly fine for me. It also contains useful features including screen recorder that capture screen performance without limits. There is also a screenshot button that takes snippets.