Here’s my story of how I was able to get Intel Wireless Display to work on my first-gen HP Envy 14. TLDR: Make sure you have a supported adapter or TV and make sure to install an old version of the WiDi software.
You may know that I like my HP Envy 14. I also haven’t owned a TV in a long while so when I bought a new TV recently (a 47″ LG 47LM7600, highly recommended), I was surprised to see Intel Wireless Display (or Intel WiDi) show up in the menu when I was playing around with it. I remembered hearing about this feature a while ago and though it was a pretty cool idea. I was excited that it seemed like my tv had this built in so I wouldn’t need an adapter to try it out. I never tried setting it up on my laptop before but I remembered reading that the basic hardware requirements of a laptop was an Intel Core series laptop with Intel Integrated Graphics (which basically means Core i5 and most i3 for laptops since mobile i7 doesn’t seem to have integrated graphics, at least not for the first-generation mobile core processors). The system requirements page also noted an Intel Centrino wireless-n wireless adapter as a hardware requirement, which also comes with most HP Envy 14s. It looked like I had everything I needed to set it up.
When I tried to turn on WiDi on the tv to scan for nearby devices, I didn’t see anything show up. I remember seeing “Intel My WiFi Technology” in my start menu and I hadn’t known exactly what that was for so I turned that on as well but still no luck.
Next I tried updating my drivers. HP doesn’t bother updating drivers on its official page anymore so I went to the Intel site to get new software and drivers for my wireless card and integrated graphics. I also found an Intel WiDi widget and decided I would try that as well.
Still no luck. Also, it looked like the new wireless software removed the My WiFi Technology and had another dashboard instead. I downgraded the wireless software but kept the new drivers.
I went back and checked the requirements and I noticed this statement from an Intel press release:
Intel Wireless Display requires a laptop PC based on select 2010 Intel Core processors, Intel HD Graphics, and Intel Centrino wireless with Intel MyWiFi Technology enabled. In addition, the laptop needs to have Intel Wireless Display preinstalled.
The highlighting is my emphasis but since the HP Envy 14 didn’t come with the Intel WiDi software preinstalled, it sounded like I might be out of luck. Luckily, I wasn’t discouraged since I knew that I met all the hardware requirements, which led me to believe that the preinstalled software requirement sounded like a marketing tactic.
I had a mini-breakthrough when I realized that I hadn’t installed the actual WiDi software yet. The WiDi widget seems to be a launcher for the WiDi software, which doesn’t seem very helpful. I had a mini-roadblock when I tried installing the software and it didn’t work.
Finally, I came upon this little tidbit hidden on the WiDi software download site. When you click to expand the step for Intel WiDi software update, there is a note stating:
Intel® 5 Series Mobile Chipset based systems are not supported by the software linked above. Please click here for the appropriate version.
I’m not sure why this is but it basically said that computers with Core i5 processors had to use an old version of the software (version 126.96.36.199). I quickly tried installing this older version and huzzah, my laptop was connected to my TV.
After going through all this, I was a little disappointed with the result. I wasn’t able to output the full 1920×1080 resolution of my TV. Also, when I had the WiDi running and connected to the TV, that process alone was using up ~30% of the processor by itself according to Task Manager. I’m sure the integrated graphics on 2nd gen and 3rd gen and newer processors wouldn’t tax the processor as much but this was a definite downer for me. I also had trouble moving windows into the 2nd display.
In the end, even after going through all the trouble of getting everything to work correctly, all the downsides of WiDi on my Envy means I won’t be using it much anymore. I’ll be sticking to my HDMI cable to output my laptop screen to my TV. Luckily, I have a 6 ft cable that reaches just far enough from my TV to where I sit on my couch.