How to connect a smartphone to a TV? This question is asked by many mobile phone owners who want to view their photos and videos on the big screen. Chip has prepared a selection of 10 useful accessories and ready-made solutions with which a picture from a gadget can be displayed on a large screen.
Most modern mobile phones with the Android or iOS operating system have a creamy filling, providing the user with the functions of a full-fledged PC and equipped with advanced cameras, which turns them into a real machine for making amateur photos and videos. Of course, all of this requires the ability to connect to a TV to show your family and friends your vacation photos and videos.
However, not every user knows how to connect their favorite gadget to their home TV. If there are no problems with household players – the connection is made via an HDMI cable, you cannot plug it into a smartphone. Even with a modern Smart TV (a TV with an Internet connection function and various built-in applications), it is not easy to set up the ability to transfer content from a smartphone or tablet to a large screen.
The iChip.ru editors are ready to share 10 different ways of connecting a phone to a TV and talk about the pros and cons of each of them.
Which is better: Bable or Wi-Fi?
Today, not many people remember that most smartphone models had a not so high-speed Wi-Fi module, and manufacturers, seeing the need to transfer content to TV, equipped their devices with a special video output chip via HDMI. For example, the LG 2X smartphone had a separate Micro HDMI port on the upper edge for these purposes. It made it possible to broadcast to the TV everything that was happening on the smartphone screen in original quality.
LG 2X Smartphone is equipped with a separate Micro HDMI port for connection to a Television.
Today this connector is a thing of the past, and it has been replaced by the universal USB-C and several other convenient ways to connect a smartphone to a TV.
1. Connection via USB Type-C
This method is suitable for Android devices. Flagship smartphone models with a USB Type-C connector can be connected to different TVs using an adapter. There should be a USB Type-C plug on one end of the adapter, HDMI, VGA, DVI, Display Port, or miniDP on the other, depending on the input on your TV.
It is best to purchase universal adapters: they have several ports into which you can insert cables from different TVs and monitors and projectors.
You can find out if your smartphone supports a USB Type-C TV connection by following this link (look for your model in the table):
List of smartphones that connect to TV via USB Type-C
2. Connection via MHL
Later, manufacturers of even inexpensive smartphone and tablet models on MTK processors began to implement the MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) standard in their devices. Allowing you to take a video signal directly from the data transfer port and Micro USB charging. True, this required a special MHL adapter. Thus, the user could watch any video content from his smartphone, including photos and videos taken on vacation, and play games on a large TV screen.
The downside of this adapter was to transmit the signal. It was necessary to connect a separate 5 V power cable to amplify the signal transmitted to the large screen. But at the same time, the smartphone did not receive any recharge and was discharged rather quickly. Also, lags are observed at the maximum image quality of 1080p.
Currently, inexpensive mobile devices – smartphones and tablets with support for MHL technology – are practically not sold. If this function is vital for you, you should choose a device from very ancient models, including the Galaxy S5.
Some older flagships, such as the Sony Xperia Z2 and Z2 Tablet, implement the MHL 3.0 standard, which allows you to broadcast an image from a smartphone to a TV in 4K format (3840 × 2160 pixels) at 30 frames per second. MHL 3.0 is compatible with Blu-Ray audio formats – True HD and DTS HD MA.
The latest Samsung flagships, starting with the Galaxy S6, do not support the MHL standard.
3. Connection via SlimPort
The main competitor to MHL almost immediately became the SlimPort (Mobility DisplayPort) standard. But it was implemented mainly in devices from LG and Samsung. It provided a better picture because the broadcast goes without decoding the signal, eliminating lags in image transmission. Simultaneously, a unique micro USB-HDMI adapter did not need to be connected to a power source. Although there is such a port in the adapter, it is already designed to power the smartphone itself, which is very convenient for long video content demonstrations or games. The maximum image quality transmitted to the TV screen is the same – 1080p.
Among the minuses, we note the high-quality requirements for the HDMI cable. If you have one that is cheap, then there may be noise and even no signal.
The only thing is that your device can support it instead of MHL without any alternative (as did the Galaxy Nexus smartphones). You can find out if your smartphone can be connected to a TV via SlimPort here:
4. Wirelessly stream content to the TV via Wi-Fi and apps
Alas, manufacturers did not see cable connection prospects and focused on wireless standards for transferring content to TVs. Its main advantage is the absence of the need to fiddle with wires – to send a photo or video to a large TV screen. It would help if you organized their pairing via Wi-Fi. For example, YouTube allows you to display videos from your smartphone on your smart TV screen directly through its application.
The disadvantages of such a connection: the impossibility of broadcasting everything that happens on the smartphone display – only video. However, the manufacturers did not wholly deprive the user of watching videos from a smartphone and offered special wireless adapters – more about them.
So what is there for a wireless TV connection today?
5. Direct Wi-Fi Connection
Wi-Fi Direct technology is implemented on all Smart TVs equipped with a Wi-Fi module. It is also available on most modern smartphones. Its essence lies in connecting devices to each other without the mediation of an access point. The TV then recognizes the phone as a multimedia device, not a storage device. To establish a connection, you need to activate the Wi-Fi Direct mode on the smartphone and the TV’s Share mode. On devices with any OS version, it is located in the wireless settings.
With this connection, it is only possible to use the Photo Album application on the smartphone to view the pictures. Videos cannot be considered. The display speed, especially for large pictures, is relatively slow.
You can find out if your TV supports Wi-Fi Direct here by entering its model in the Keywords field:
6. DLNA: the classic for Android
DLNA is one of the most widely used wireless standards. Most TVs that can connect to wireless networks support it. Android users will need a dedicated BubbleUPnP app to transfer music and photos from their smartphones to their TV.
The image resolution, in this case, depends on the receiving device. For new TVs, this is usually HD or Full HD. Unlike Miracast and Airplay (we’ll talk about them below), DLNA does not provide the versatility of displaying content – it only transfers music, photos, and some video file formats.
7. Chromecast: Simple But Expensive Streaming
Those who want to wirelessly stream media files from an Android mobile phone to a TV in the easiest way should use a streaming Chromecast or Chromecast 2 flash drive from Google.
In this case, you are also upgrading your TV device if it did not have a network connection function.
By default, Chromecast adds a lot of media content to the TV, YouTube, and the Chrome browser.
8. Lightning Digital AV Adapter: for iPhone and iPad
To connect Apple mobile devices to your TV, you need a special adapter. It comes in both the new Lightning connector and the old 30-pin connector. According to the results of a study by the portal Panic.com, it turned out that the Lightning adapter does not transmit the native image in 1080p format but converts it from lower-quality HD. Because of this, artifacts sometimes appear on the photos when transferring data.
9. Wireless data transfer with Apple TV – AirPlay
Apple’s third-generation set-top box is currently the most convenient solution to display content from an iOS mobile device on a TV. Connecting the iPhone / iPad to the streaming device is quick and easy, and the picture quality is excellent, thanks to support for 1080p. The latency is about half a second, so sometimes you can even play not very lively games.
10. Miracast: a competitor to AirPlay
Android supports Miracast from version 4.2, Windows Phone from version 8.1. This wireless standard evolved from Intel’s WiDi (Wireless Display) and was conceived as a competitor to AirPlay. But Miracast has not yet succeeded in implementing the imagined: the delay when broadcasting an image from a mobile device to a large screen is too long.
Despite the 1080p resolution, the picture on the TV does not look perfect due to the large number of artifacts. Nevertheless: many new smart TVs support this standard.