Smartphones and smart TVs find each other well. Still, there are many different ways for the two to connect. Each way with its own pluses and minuses. We list the most frequently used ways to connect smartphone or tablet to the television.
Connecting smartphone and TV with an HDMI cable
When you think of a television that has to connect to another device, then you probably soon think of the HDMI ports and cables. After all, you use it to connect, for example, game consoles or Blu-ray players to the device: this is generally not done via WiFi. A telephone can also be connected with an HDMI port, although a smartphone itself does not have an HDMI output.
The USB-C port of a telephone can be used for this. Then you obviously need the right adapter, although there are also tablets that are equipped with a mini HDMI port, so you only need one cable. There are also converters that immediately offer you multiple types of ports, if, for example, multiple types of appliances are used within your household.
Then you can see exactly the same on the television screen as on the telephone screen, because the television is a clone of this. The advantage of this method is that you always have a fast connection and that you are not dependent on WiFi, so that in the event of a failure of the provider, you can easily switch to entertainment entertainment via the smartphone and its 4G connection. There is another advantage: some phones and tablets charge instantly while you watch.
For Apple products, a special Lightning Digital AV adapter is available to make such a wired connection to the television . If your phone has a micro-USB connection, you can, for example, use an MHL adapter. This has a micro-USB cable and a small box with an HDMI port for the cable to your television. Note that not all smartphones and tablets can work with this. You can see here if your device is capable of doing this.
Connecting via USB cable
Most smart TVs today are equipped with USB ports, so you have a little less effort to do the link with your phone. It means that you can simply plug the charging cable from your smartphone into your television and, for example, into the USB-C port of your smartphone. With USB you cannot stream streaming services to your television, because via USB your television can only show files from your phone that are stored as separate files. This means that you can watch your own films and videos, but not films and series from streaming services, even if they have been downloaded offline. Actually, USB on a television works much like a computer: you can view files, but not open apps.
Connecting to the app that comes with your television
Television manufacturers know that their service must go beyond just delivering of a smart television. That is why they make apps for smartphones and tablets. You can often find them easily in the Google Play store or Apple App store. For example, the apps can turn your smartphone into a remote control, but mirroring your screen or sending photos and videos to the TV is also part of the case in some cases. The app on your phone can recognize your television in the vicinity, because both are on the same WiFi network.
Whether there is an app for your television depends entirely on the model and brand. In most cases you will find this in the manual or on the manufacturer’s website. In our articles about Samsung Tizen OS LG webOS and Android TV you can read more about the possibilities.
Connecting to a Chromecast or Apple TV
Although many (Android TV) televisions already have a built-in Chromecast not every television is equally smart. You can connect your smartphone to your television via such a separate Chromecast or Apple TV, even though there is a device in between to make that connection. Such an accessory or media player often does not let you control the television, but mainly gives you the opportunity to show media such as streaming services or photos and videos from your phone on the big screen.
Connect to WiFi and DLNA
Although the above method also connects via the WiFi network, there is another way to use the WiFi network for this. That is via DLNA communication. Some phones already offer the choice whether you want to do this via Chromecast or DLNA when sharing media. DLNA is a more direct way: there is no device or app in between. DLNA is a bit like when you connect your phone to your computer via cable and the computer asks what it can view from the phone. DLNA gives your television access, so to speak, to go and look in your phone.
Via DLNA you can still use the remote control of your television, while using Chromecast in many cases less. has extensive functions. The advantage of DLNA is also that it is more universal. That is, it doesn’t have much to do with the brand or you can connect. There are many phone manufacturers who work with it and you can not only let your television communicate with your phone, but also your game console or your laptop. Please note: DLNA often does not allow streaming of known services, because DLNA cannot play content with Digital Rights Management (DRM) applied.
If you want to use DLNA, you need a separate application. Some phones already have a DLNA app installed by default, but you can also download it from the Google Play Store. The choice is huge, but one of the most used apps is the free BubbleUPnP. Within that app you can then select on which device you want to view the videos or photos and actually select the files (the photos / videos).
Connecting smartphone and TV with Miracast
There is also a way to connect wirelessly. without using the standard WiFi network. There are phones that support Miracast and we see it a lot in Windows devices too. Miracast allows a kind of mini-network to be built between the smartphone and the television, which no other device can access. Communication can then take place via high speed, without the need for an external WiFi network. You can often find Miracast in the screen settings of your phone, under “casting”. This is called different at Huawei: MirrorShare. At Samsung you can search for Screen Mirroring or Smart View.
If you give permission to use a wireless screen there, the phone will automatically search for nearby devices to create such a network to start with. Miracast is also called “screen mirroring” because you can see what you are showing on your screen. In addition to building your own network, there is a big difference between Miracast and Chromecast: large streaming companies often support Chromecast, while mirroring your screen, or Miracast, you often run into copyright restrictions just like with DLNA. As a result, you can not watch films and series from Netflix and its competitors, for example.
Connecting via Bluetooth
It is less used due to the fact that Bluetooth can handle less bandwidth, but there are smart TVs with Bluetooth and also you can connect to it with your smartphone. The advantage is that the devices can also communicate without WiFi, the disadvantage is that you cannot stream video with it. Music via Spotify could be possible, for example, because many televisions do accept audio via Bluetooth. For example, if you have a good speaker set or soundbar connected to your television, you can enjoy better sound than comes from your smartphone speaker.
Connecting via Apple AirPlay
Where many Android- devices are aimed at Chromecast, Apple has AirPlay. Via AirPlay 2 you can show movies, videos and photos on your television by simply tapping an icon on your iPhone or iPad. Obviously it works anyway with the media player Apple TV, the ‘box’ from Apple that makes it possible to stream something from your iPhone to your television (this does not work with Android phones).
It is a kind of Chromecast, but from Apple, with which you can stream photos from iCloud and Netflix, among other things. However, it is a bit more extensive, because it is completely tailored to the Apple ecosystem. For example, you can also play games from Apple Arcade. There are also more and more televisions equipped with AirPlay, including some Samsung and LG TVs.
You can also stream audio (from Apple Music) via AirPlay, to your television or to speakers that support AirPlay. You can even stream to a separate speaker slightly differently than to the television. If you own Apple TV 4K, it is even possible to stream 4K HDR video quality to your television.