Although it might seem like it, it's not very difficult to stream photos and videos and mirror your phone or tablet screen onto your TV. If you haven’t tried it yet, we’ve got an easy guide on how to connect your Android smartphone or tablet to your television. Read on for the details.
- Connect your Android to your TV via Wi-Fi
- Useful apps for casting to your TV
- Using Google Chromecast
- Try a cable connection
- Options for older devices
- Alternatives you can try
It’s pretty easy to hook up your phone to a Smart TV thanks to Wi-Fi Direct. It is a standard which allows devices to connect to each other without requiring a wireless access point and enables you to connect your phone to your Smart TV seamlessly. Want to broadcast a YouTube video or a Twitch stream? First, you need to enable Wi-Fi Direct on your TV (most modern smart TVs should support it), then open the content of choice on your phone, tap the share button and select Wi-Fi Direct. Your TV should show up on the list of devices. Just select it and start broadcasting!
If you want to share your holiday photos with friends and family, that's also possible via Wi-Fi Direct. From the Google Photos app, just select the ones you want to show and again tap the share button.
Of course, you also might want to show off your mobile gaming skills on the big screen. For this, some smart TVs from major manufacturers like Sony and Samsung offer screen mirroring, allowing you to display the content on the big screen. Samsung phones specifically have an option called Smart View which automatically searches for nearby screen mirroring and Chromecast devices.
Using Bluetooth to connect your phone to your smart TV is also an option, but only for streaming audio. Of course, that can come in handy if you are using a service like Spotify and want to play the music on a TV that's hooked up to a powerful sound system.
Free streaming apps like ‘iMediaShare - Photos & Music’ come in handy. They let you transfer photos, videos and music from your smartphone or tablet to Smart TV or other DLNA-enabled devices, such as sound systems and set-top boxes. With iMediaShare, you can select by file type and also play videos in automatic succession on your TV. Another option is to install Android apps on the TV itself.
Casting over a wireless network is usually associated with delayed playback on Smart TVs. This doesn’t matter so much with casting images, but it can make transmitting video a little annoying.
Then there’s the Google Chromecast. This device allows you to cast content from your Android smartphone or tablet right to the TV. All you need to run it is the Google Home app, which you’ll find for free in the Play Store, and plug the Chromecast into the HDMI port of your TV.
In the Google Home app menu, just select Cast Screen/Audio, then tap on the blue button, then select the device you'd like to connect to.
Alternatively, some devices have a Cast button found in the quick settings pane, found by swiping down from the top of your device's screen. If the Cast option isn't available, you might be able to add it to quick settings in your phone's options.
There are many apps for Chromecast, such as video streaming behemoth Netflix. And whosoever likes to show off photos or videos to friends can stream content via the ‘AllCast’ app. The second generation of Chromecast can be found in the Google Store.
Bear in mind that you might not always be able to stream content from your phone to the TV via wireless connectivity. Anyone who wants to avoid problems like this should run a direct connection to the Smart (or regular) TV. You can do this with a smartphone or tablet via an HDMI cable.
While a compact HDMI output for tablets is hard to find, whether in the form of mini-HDMI or micro HDMI, you won’t need this for your smartphone. Most phones simply don’t have enough space for chunky adapters. This problem can be solved with the USB port expander Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). MHL 3.0 even allows HDMI transmission of 4K content from mobile devices to Ultra-HD televisions.
Google, along with other phone manufacturers, has not backed MHL, but rather SlimPort. Aside from HDMI, Slimport is can be used in combination with USB to output the signal to DVI, VGA, and DisplayPort. Unfortunately, that was only until the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Neither still supports HDMI output, SlimPort or MHL.
SlimPort-compatible devices are becoming rarer, although some manufacturers, like LG and HTC, still include MHL and/or Slimport support in their phones, but at this point it’s becoming hard to rely on. You'll need to research your specific phone to be sure.
If neither wireless streaming or MHL/SlimPort are a solution to connect your Android smartphone to the TV, then perhaps you can simply plug it into the USB port of the TV. In this way, stored photos and videos can be also displayed on the TV from the internal memory or microSD card.
Have you used these methods to connect your phone to your TV? Or do you have an alternative method? Let us know in the comments!