How to connect smartphone to TV? There are many wired and wireless solutions. Find out what they are and choose the one that's right for you
Thanks to its rapid technological evolution, today's smartphone can be considered as a small computer where you can store videos, music, documents and many other contents. However, when you want to watch a movie or a documentary, the small screen of the cell phone proves to be annoying and limiting. In these occasions, you need to connect your smartphone to the TV.
There are several ways to connect an iPhone or Android device to the television. Some are simpler than others, or the device turns out to be suited to one technology over another. Some types of connection require special wired solutions, such as MHL and Slimport that allow you to connect an Android smartphone to the TV with a cable. Then there are real devices designed to connect smartphones and television wirelessly. Among these, one of the most famous is the Google Cast. Each system has its own characteristics and peculiarities.
Connecting smartphone and TV with HDMI or MHL cable
The Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) is among the first technologies to have made possible the connection between smartphone and television, but also between PC and TV. It uses the micro-USB connector to transmit the video signal (HDMI) to the TV.
Slimport works in much the same way, but in addition to the HDMI signal, it can also send DVI, VGA and DisplayPort. So it offers a wider choice, however it is more suitable for dated smartphones. Today MHL and Slimport solutions are increasingly difficult to use because smartphones and TVs allow wi-fi connection. So before buying an HDMI cable, you need to find out if your cell phone can connect to external devices in any other way.
Connecting smartphones and TV wirelessly: Google Cast and Miracast
To connect smartphones and TVs without a cable, you need to rely on specific devices, such as Google Cast or Miracast. The difference between wired and wireless systems is that, while wired systems project the entire screen of the smartphone onto the TV, wireless ones instead allow you to choose what to share. For example, you can share a movie from Netflix on your TV while simultaneously messaging on WhatsApp from your phone.
Of the technologies that allow a wireless connection, Miracast is the oldest. Initially, to use it, the TV had to support Miracast technology. Recent devices usually support this feature without any problems. The Miracast standard is also the one used by the Amazon Fire TV, and this is a limitation because, for example, on some TVs it might prove impossible to watch a Youtube or Netflix video. Again, therefore, you need to do your research before making any risky purchases.
Google Cast is one of the newest systems, and it's spreading like wildfire around the world. Until recently, it was simply called Chromecast, and it is definitely the most suitable and easy-to-use system, especially if you own an Android smartphone. To project a content on your TV, you need to tap the Cast button of the chosen app. You can watch Youtube movies, Netflix and other content from video streaming platforms. In addition, you can project images and videos from your cell phone or even Power Point presentations onto the TV screen. However, before relying on a technology, it is essential to understand what features and technical opportunities TV and smartphones offer.