Most TVs nowadays are equipped with an internet connection and a media player with which all these media can be displayed. In this article, we look at the options for Stream media to your TV.
Smart TVs and streaming
Do you have a smart TV ? A TV with an internet connection and a smart TV platform? Then there is a good chance that you can also display all your media on your TV. This is useful when you want to show some photos or videos to family or friends, or even when you want to listen to music. Smart TVs today support a large number of file formats and can display everything from other devices in your home network via a wireless connection. However, not every smart TV works as easily, offers the same support and comes with the same options.
Support for file formats
One of the most frequently asked questions is which file formats are supported by smart TVs with streaming capabilities. This is of course an important question as there is a good chance that you use dozens of file formats and want to be able to play them all. Unfortunately, an answer to this question cannot be given without watching a specific TV. Not all TVs offer the same support for file formats. Nevertheless, we can list which files are generally supported on new smart TVs;
- JPEG (photos)
- BMP (photos)
- MPO (3D photos)
- MP3 (music)
- AAC (music)
- FLAC (music)
- WMA (music)
- M4A (music)
- WAV (music)
- MP4 (video)
- MKV (video)
- DIVX (video)
- PDB (video)
- AVI (video)
- WMV (video)
- M4V (video)
- HEVC (video)
However, we cannot guarantee anything and it is wise to always look carefully at the exact support that a specific TV offers. You will find this nine times out of ten on the website of the manufacturer or in the manual of the relevant TV.
How can you play media on your TV?
Before we talk about wirelessly streaming media to your TV, we also discuss the other options for displaying the various files that you have on your PC on TV. Some TVs offer broader file support for media that are physically connected. For example, it is possible to fill a USB stick with your photos, music and videos and then connect it to a smart TV. You can also physically connect a laptop to your TV via an HDMI cable and you can connect a mobile device via an MHL connection , if supported.
Stream media to your TV
The most common and widely used way to stream media to your TV is DLNA. This protocol (or standard) is supported by almost all smart TVs and is supported by most PCs, laptops, NAS systems and mobile devices. This standard makes it possible for two devices to communicate with each other and display files from one device to another. However, DLNA requires both devices to be connected to the same WiFi network. Read more about DLNA .
Miracast is a relatively new option to have the screen of your smartphone or tablet mirrored on a TV. This standard is not so much aimed at streaming a specific file, but rather transfers the entire screen of your mobile device towards the TV. Then it is easy to show a video or show some photos on TV. Not every manufacturer gives this function the same name, but in most cases you will find the option under ‘Miracast’ or ‘Screen Mirroring’. Find the function within the smart TV platform (or the input selection) and follow the instructions to pair a device with your TV. The pairing may vary by mobile device and TV, but in many cases NFC is used to pair two devices. Read more about Miracast and NFC on your TV .
Another option to connect two devices without going through a router is WiFi Direct. It may be a bit confusing but this option is purely a standard to make two devices find each other, then use is made of, for example, Miracast or DLNA to display the media. WiFi Direct is supported by more and more devices, but here too we see many different names, which does not make it any easier for you as a consumer. As with Miracast, WiFi Direct must be activated from the menu of your TV and your mobile device or PC and then select one of the devices between your wireless networks.
Do you not have a smart TV or do you not have enough options to display your media on your TV? Then nowadays there are so-called smart sticks, or HDMI sticks, which can transform your TV into a smart TV on which all your media can be displayed. One of the most popular sticks is the Google Chromecast. This allows you to display almost all media from your tablet or smartphone on TV, without your TV having to be equipped with support for the relevant files or having an internet connection. Read more about Google Chromecast .
The latest Android TVs (TVs that run on the Android platform) nowadays often also have Google Cast, which is actually a built-in Chromecast. This option makes it easy to stream media from apps and Android devices to your TV. Google Cast is supported on Android devices as well as within various apps, both on Android and iOS. Read more about Google Cast .
But, that is not all, because manufacturers nowadays like to capitalize on the possibilities of quickly displaying media on their TVs. Many manufacturers have therefore developed their own apps with which the TV can not only be operated but also media can be streamed. For example, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and Samsung offer apps that allow you to wirelessly stream photos, videos and other media stored on your smartphone or tablet to your TV. Both devices must then be connected to the same WiFi network. Most apps are available for both Android and iOS.
Do you have an iPad or an iPhone? Then the possibilities that we discussed above do not always apply, with the exception of Google Cast and the apps that manufacturers themselves make available for iOS. This is because Apple has developed its own standard for streaming media called AirPlay. You can only display photos and videos on your TV when there is support for AirPlay, in the form of the Apple TV media player. This device can be purchased for less than 100 euros and offers, in addition to streaming functions, access to your iTunes library, apps and on-demand material. Read more about Apple AirPlay .
In this article we have discussed the most commonly used options for streaming media from the devices in your home network, but as mentioned, it is wise to find out exactly what the TV you want to buy offers. Manufacturers have a way of giving their own name everywhere and limiting support. For example, Samsung would like to see its own tablets and smartphones used and the possibilities are therefore greater for owners of these devices. A possibility that we have not discussed is Bluetooth, but this is of course only suitable for music and can also be found on many audio systems. You can find more about this via the links at the bottom of this article.