One of the most normal things to expect in this day and age is to be able to connect your Android phone to your TV. Smart TVs are making it easier to do this, but there are still a lot of people who do not know how to do this.
There are two major paths on doing this, and I’ll show you how to do both.
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First up, you can use connect your smartphone to your TV using good old cables. Nothing is easier if you have the right cables to do it.
But being creatures of convenience, surely there must be a way to connect your Android phone to your TV wirelessly in this day and age, right? Absolutely, you can do this wirelessly – provided that you have the proper tools for it.
I’ll guide you through 4 different ways of connecting your smartphone to your TV, so you’re sure to learn a way that’s easy and convenient for you. Here’s the summary. Click on the links to take you directly to the method.
If you buy a new large screen high definition TV these days, we’re 99.9% sure it will have an HDMI input port. This is the easiest way to use if you want to connect your phone to your TV using a micro USB to HDMI cable.
HDMI, short for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, is a really convenient standard for viewing videos on your TV because the standard supports is high definition – meaning that the quality of videos shown through this interface is relatively good.
The first thing you need to make sure of is if your Android phone supports HDMI output. Most people assume this will be the case, but there are only a number of smartphones that have this feature. Check out this list of popular phones that are available in 2018 that have HDMI output:
- Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra (USB-C)
- Google Pixel 2 (USB-C)
- Huawei Mate 10 (USB-C)
- Huawei Mate 10+ (USB-C)
- HTC 10 (USB-C)
- HTC U11 (USB-C)
- HTC U Ultra (USB-C)
- leTV Le Max Pro (MHL)
- LG G5 (USB-C)
- LG V20 (USB-C)
- LG V30 (USB-C)
- LG V34 (USB-C)
- Samsung Galaxy S8 (USB-C)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (USB-C)
If you have a phone that is not on this list, it is best to ascertain if your Android smartphone supports HDMI output. If you confirm from the official documentation that it does, then the next portion will tell you what cable to use.
If you’re not sure, do not fret. You can skip the portion below and move over to the wireless connection section.
What Cables Do I Need?
From the list above, you will see that there are basically two types of HDMI output ports on Android devices. Most of the newer smartphones use the USB-C port as the HDMI output port. Some phones use an Micro USB MHL port – that is, a Mobile High-Definition Link port.
Micro USB to HDMI Cable (MHL Cable)
If you have a phone that has an MHL port, like the LeTV Le Max Pro, or the older HTC One or HTC One XL – it would usually come with a Micro USB to HDMI cable (MHL Cable). That’s what you would need to connect an MHL-enabled Android phone to your TV.
Connect the Micro USB to HDMI cable (MHL Cable) to your phone, and then connect the other end to the HDMI input port on your TV, and you are good to go.
USB Type-C to HDMI Cable
For smartphones with HDMI output through the USB-C port, the HDMI output cable is not usually provided by manufacturers and you would have to purchase either an official accessory cable or a third-party accessory.
Once you have the cable, it will be as simple as connecting the cable via your phone’s USB-C port and the other end to the HDMI input port of your TV.
Connecting Your Phone to Your TV without HDMI
If connecting your phone to your smart TV via HDMI is not an option – either because our phone does not support HDMI output or because for some reason you are not able to get the cables needed – then there are other ways to connect your phone to your TV.
First up, we recommend that you explore connecting your smartphone to your TV wirelessly. If you haven’t checked out the technology available to make this possible, you’d be surprised at how easy it is.
Secondly, there are other types of cables available that you can use to push images from your smartphone to your TV. We explore these in the next sections.
Because WiFi networks are almost ubiquitous in homes these days, it is that much easier to use this network to connect your phone to your TV wirelessly. If your TV and your phone are both connected to the same WiFi network, then you’re halfway there.
Check out these two methods you can use.
There are smart TVs, which have the internal hardware and features to be able to connect to your WiFi network, and therefore the internet.
But there are also plenty of TVs which people bought in that short period of time before smart TVs were a thing – these, of course, have no internet capabilities.
Enter Google’s genius device – the Google Chromecast. The Chromecast a dongle that you connect to your TV’s HDMI port, and gives it the ability to connect to the internet. Specifically, it also allows you to stream videos, images, information, and instructions from your phone to your TV quite easily.
Once you’ve got yourself a Chromecast dongle, connect it to your TV via the HDMI cable. It also requires a power source plugged in via its USB port, but you can use one on your TV or power it from a wall plug with an adapter.
Download the Google Home App:
Miracast is an older wireless display standard that will allow you to connect your phone to your TV wirelessly. Miracast is embedded in some devices running Android 4.2 or older, and fortunately, a lot of older smart TVs have Miracast capability as well.
The first thing to check is if your TV and your smartphone both support it – and you will need to look into official documentation for this. Once you’ve confirmed that both support it, then you’re on your way.
You need to make sure both your TV and smartphone are connected to the same WiFi network. Then you enable the “Wireless Display” feature on your smartphone under settings or tap the “Cast” toggle on Android’s Quick Settings.
This will show you a list of available Miracast-enabled displays that you can connect to and start casting your phone’s screen too. Pretty easy, eh?
The only real reason why you would consider connecting your smartphone to your TV using an AV cable – also called an RCA cable or composite cable – is if the options we provided above are not working for you.
This situation will also be possible if you have an old CRT or flat screen TV that does not have an HDMI input port. In that case, we will have to get creative and use the AV/composite port that is the only one available on your TV.
A bit of warning, though. There are a lot of videos on YouTube claiming to have done this – and logically, it should work. But a lot of variables could work against you in this, and so there is a big chance it might not work.
That said, check out the process below.
What Tools Do You Need?
First, you will still need a phone that is confirmed to have the HDMI output feature, in which case you can check the list we gave above or check with your manufacturer if your phone supports this. Second, we need an HDMI output cable – whether via USB-C or via MHL. (See HDMI section above.)
Third, we need an HDMI-to-composite video converter. These are third party devices that you can buy from your local Radio Shack or online from Amazon or Ebay.
But what is this for?
Your phone outputs video in high definition (HD) format, but an older TV will not be able to accept video like that, much less display it on its standard definition (SD) display. So we need a device that will down-scale the HD output from your phone to an SD signal that your TV will accept and be able to display.
Last, we need an AV cable to connect your video converter to the TV.
You’ve Got the Tools, Now Make It Happen
In theory, this should work. But as mentioned, the number of elements between your phone and your older TV equals the number of points where the process may fail.
To start this, you connect your normal HDMI output cable to your phone and to the HDMI input port on the converter device. Then you connect the converter to your old TV via an AV/composite cable.
Make sure that you select the AV input on your TV and check if your phone’s video output is now viewable on your older TV set.
This section is a bonus. You are not going to be able to stream data from your phone to your big screen TV using Bluetooth, but there are a number of useful situations where this would be needed.
Smart TVs will usually accept a Bluetooth connection for streaming audio. If you’re playing music from an app like Spotify, you might want to connect to your TV which is hooked up to a better sound system.
In this case, you can just pair your TV with your smartphone. There should be no problem connecting a smart TV with a Bluetooth feature to your smartphone.
In some cases, you can pair your smartphone with the TV via Bluetooth to use your phone either as a remote control device or a gaming controller.
Final Thoughts on Connecting Your Android Phone to Your TV
If there’s one thing that this process has taught me, it is that there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to connect your phone to your TV.
Of all these options, going wireless is by far the easiest and most convenient way of doing this. If your phone has HDMI output and you have the cable for it such as the micro USB to HDMI Cable or USB Type-C to HDMI Cable handy, that is also a great option.
The other choices are more challenging, but with a bit of work, it can be done. Is there a particular workaround that you personally have to connect your phone to your TV? Share it with us in the comments section!