Watching your favourite TV shows and movies on the big screen is always more fun. While cable TV comes with its ups and downs, smart TVs have made the experience more seamless. But in case, you don’t have a smart TV at home you can simply mirror your smartphone to your television or cast the phone’s phone’s content on the bigger screen.
Keep in mind that there is no one way for all TVs and smartphones and it will depend on what protocols your TV supports. If you have a really old TV, say more than 10 years, a streaming dongle will be the most convenient way.
Most of the new Android TVs come with support for Google Cast. Some TVs come with support for Apple’s AirPlay technology as well. Some rely on their own technology and apps to allow screen mirroring. It would be best to check what functions are supported in the TV’s settings to ensure that streaming is easier.
Wireless casting: Dongles like Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick
If you have a non-smart TV, especially one which is very old, but it has an HDMI slot, the easiest way to mirror your smartphone screen and cast content to the TV is via wireless dongles like Google Chromecast or an Amazon Fire TV Stick device. There are other streaming sticks available in the market as well as such as from Flipkart’s MarQ, Airtel’s Xstream, though the Google and Amazon sticks are most popular.
Apps like Netflix, YouTube, Disney+Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video all support the Cast feature from Google, which lets you play the content straight from your phone, and it is mirrored onto the TV.
On Amazon Fire TV Stick, there is a screen mirroring option to display your smartphone screen onto the TV. It is available in the settings. When you enable this, it will reflect your smartphone’s screen on to TV and let you access others apps on the big screen. The one advantage with the Fire TV Stick comes with its own interface with apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Disney+Hotstar, Zee5, and Apple TV are all supported.
Basically what the Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick or any other streaming stick does is that it forms a wireless link between your smartphone and TV, without you having to rely on any kind of cable.
One thing you need to make sure though is that the Chromecast or the Fire TV Stick and the phone are on the same WiFi connection in order for the content to stream from your phone to your TV.
These streaming dongles are a useful device to have if you don’t have a smart TV, and just want to cast content from your phone to your TV without too much hassle. They also support screen mirroring, where the entire smartphone screen shows on the TV. And they will work flawlessly with an older TV giving you the joys of a smart TV.
Wireless casting: Using the TV’s inbuilt functions
As we noted earlier, most new Android TVs or smart TVs, which have launched recently, already support the Cast function from Google. So you will not need a dongle to connect your Android phone to the TV in this case. Just press the cast option on your smartphone, and it should connect wirelessly to the TV. Make sure both are on the same WiFi network.
Once the two are linked, your smartphone screen is mirrored to the TV and you can use it on the big screen to access some other apps, and not just the streaming services. Your photos, videos, etc from the phone’s storage can be also be reflected to the TV using this method.
Or you can rely on the cast buttons inside apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, to cast this content from your phone to the TV. But given that this is an Android TV, these apps should already be present on your TV. The Cast function here will let you access other content from your phone on the big screen.
For iPhone users, many TVs also come with Apple’s AirPlay function supported. So you can connect your iPhone or iPad or even MacBook to the TV using this feature if your TV supports it. With the AirPlay button, content from your iPhone or any other Apple device can be streamed straight to the TV wireless. Many Samsung, LG devices in India already support AirPlay as well.
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Some TVs also come with their own apps to let you connect your smartphone. This can let you access photos, music and videos from your phone on to the TV wirelessly. You will have to download the TV manufacturer’s app onto your smartphone for this connection. Once this is done and the TV and phone are linked, all the photos, music and videos from the phone’s storage can be seen on the TV in the relevant setting.
Connecting smartphones via HDMI to the TV
This is where you need to be sure of compatibility, and in some cases the support is limited to older Android devices. You can rely on the HDMI port of your TV to connect the smartphone, but you will need to check if phone supports HDMI output and you will need a compatible cable, which is supported by the device as well. Some older Android devices did come with micro-HDMI ports, but now most phones have a single Type-C USB port at the bottom.
So you will need to rely on converters or adapters if you want to link the TV to the phone via the HDMI port. However, this method will ensure that the charging port of your phone is occupied. You will be able to access videos you have shot on your phone on the TV via this, but copy-right protected content won’t work via this method.
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