It’s not so difficult to screen photos, videos, or cast your phone or tablet display to your television. If you haven’t tried it yet, we’ve got an easy guide here on how to connect your smartphone or tablet with a TV. 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 connect your smartphone to a Smart TV directly via Wi-Fi. This allows you to stream different media from Android devices. Among the major Smart TV manufacturers are Samsung, Sony, Philips, LG and Panasonic. Their Smart TVs provide the possibility to connect smartphones and tablets via Wi-Fi onto the same network for streaming.
Some manufacturers also allow a direct wireless connection to the Smart TV. For example, Sony and Samsung’s newer TVs provide "screen mirroring", allowing you to display whatever’s on your smartphone screen.
It’s pretty straightforward to transfer photos, videos and stream YouTube to a Smart TV with Android smartphones and tablets. While the YouTube app for Android can be easily connected to a TV via the streaming icon, displaying photos and videos might be a little more effort. Where the old Gallery app requires you to send each image individually via the TV share button, this function is no longer available in the Google Photos app.
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 this 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 mightn’t 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 TV, or regular TV. You can do this with a smartphone or tablet via HDMI input.
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 mobile 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. Otherwise the TV could be given a boost with the help of set-top boxes, or media sticks that act as a bridge between Smart TV and smartphone.
Have you used these methods to connect your phone to your TV? Or do you prefer an alternative? Let us know in the comments!