What is so great about viewing things on your Android screen, as opposed to say, your TV? For starters, it’s often a matter of convenience and also mobility. You can easily access apps you’ve downloaded, pictures you have taken with your phone’s camera, websites you are interested in or that provide answers—and you can do it anywhere you take your phone. Why ever watch anything on your TV then?
The main reason is pretty obvious—the screen is much much bigger. Multiple people can easily and comfortably enjoy movies and TV shows, and play games. But what if you had the best of both worlds and were able to display anything on your Android’s screen onto your television? You might have seen or noticed other people doing it. But how, and what are your options?
Method 1: Cast Apps and More to Your TV
If you have an Android that is 4.4.2 or greater, you should be able to cast. That’s not to say that all devices are equal when it comes to casting. Devices such as Moto G (4) Play, Nexus 9, or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge are optimized. Even if you don’t see your device on this list, don’t let it deter you, because I personally have not found too much of a difference between optimized versus not optimized.
Check Network Consistency
Ensure that your Android is connected to the same network as your TV. Also, turn off Power Saving Mode.
On your Android, open an app that supports casting. Examples include: Google Play Music, HBO NOW, Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Playstation Vue, and more. Some apps, such as HBO NOW, may offer a free trial, but then you will need a subscription.
Download: Google Play Music
Download: HBO NOW
Download: Deer Hunter 2016
Go to Quick Settings
Navigate to Quick Settings by swiping downward from the top of your screen.
Tap Cast Screen
Tap the Cast Screen icon. If no casting option can be found on your device, you will need to download a casting app described in the following methods. This is just one example of what you can do with Cast or Chromecast from your Android phone.
Select the device you want to cast to. Choose your TV, if you wish. Sometimes you can run into issues with your Android and TV seeing each other on the network. At times, it’s just easier to download an app to assist in this process. For example, I was working with a Samsung Smart TV, so I downloaded Samsung Smart View.
Download: Samsung Smart View
Tap Play on your Android. You should receive an alert in your notifications that allows you to stop by pressing it and selecting Disconnect.
It’s normal for anyone who has access to your Wi-Fi network to be able to cast to your TV. If you don’t want someone to be able to cast to your TV or other device, make sure that your Wi-Fi is password-protected and do not share your password.
Method 2: Cast Movies from Your Android Screen Using Chromecast
Do you already have, or are you planning on purchasing, a Chromecast device? This is for you. You can display your Android screen on almost any other device’s screen with an HDMI input, although iOS may not always be an option.
Open Google Cast
Google Cast is the app formerly known as Chromecast. Your Android and Chromecast device should be on the same Wi-Fi network.
Download: Google Cast
Choose Cast Screen/Audio
Select the Chromecast device you want to connect to, set up if necessary, and your screen will be displayed. To stop casting, go to your notifications and tap Disconnect.
Method 3: Mirror Photos and More from Most Samsungs to the TV
More streaming devices, such as Roku, are starting to offer native mirroring support for Android devices. Mirroring isn’t always ideal; for instance, having to stream movies to another steaming device from your Android instead of directly from the web can drain battery quickly, but sometimes you don’t have a choice.
There can also be issues with lag or latency, which might not be a big deal with photos, but can definitely create issues with movies. These days, casting and mirroring are terms that are often used interchangeably, and the beauty of devices like Chromecast is that casting puts the burden on the dongle while your Android rests. Mirroring is mostly possible without a hitch. We are going to use Samsung devices for our example.
Check your TV settings manual to make sure that it is capable of mirroring. If so, choose Source on your remote, or follow the manual’s instructions.
Select Screen Mirroring or Your Android Device
Screen mirroring is perhaps the easiest way to look at photos from Facebook on your TV. My Samsung TV let me dispense with the rest of these steps and get right to business selecting videos, photos, etc.
Choose Connect and Share
From the Connect and Share menu on your Android, select Screen Mirroring.
Specify Display Device
Tap on the TV to which you want to mirror your display. Your TV should now show everything that’s on your Android’s screen.
Method 4: Cast Games, Websites, and More Without Using Chromecast
Odds are that you probably won’t feel like you wasted $35 to purchase Chromecast, but if you just don’t have the money to cough up and/or want to try a free app, download AllCast. Keep in mind, though, that the free version is limited.
For total functionality, you will have to upgrade to Allcast Premium for about $5. AllCast was developed by giant ClockworkMod, and the developer to thank for the streaming support of local content is Koushik Dutta, also formerly of CyanogenMod. There’s even more that you can do in addition to Cast or Chromecast from your Android.
Install AllCast to your Android.
Download: AllCast Premium
Download AllCast Receiver (Optional)
Although you can use AllCast with Chromecast or Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox 360 and more, you can also use it with the companion app AllCast Receiver to take a more direct approach.
Download: AllCast Receiver
Download AllCast to Your TV (Optional)
You can download it from the link above or conduct a search on your TV itself.
Open AllCast on Android
Tap the device you want to cast to.
Tap on Media
Select the game, video, or photo you have stored on Android. The app also supports streaming from the cloud, such as from Google Drive, so it’s also a great way to present work material.
Method 5: Stream from Plex Media Server by Casting from Android
There is a Plex app you can download to your Android to communicate with and play content through Chromecast. Plex makes it easier for you to stream local media.
Download Plex on Your Android
A remote control widget exists on the Plex home screen, but it can’t control Chromecast. This app can.
Download: Plex for Android
Sign Up/Install Plex Media Server
Download: Plex Media Server
You can unlock the app (or endure the one-minute limit) by either: signing up for a Plex Pass account or making a one-time in-app purchase.
Add Media to Plex
Plex supports most music, video, and photo files and makes them easier to access.
Open Plex App on Android
You can use Google Now to search for Plex content and use your Android device as a remote control if you have an Android TV.
Pick the Players Icon
It’s located to the top right of your screen.
Choose Your Chromecast
It’s located to the top right of your screen.
Browse for and play content using the Plex app.
We have gone through several examples of what you can do with Cast, Chromecast, or even third-party apps using your Android. And if you want to use your Android like a remote with Chromecast, you simply select it from the Cast app and turn the volume up or down on the device card. You can switch to landscape mode when you are mirroring. AllCast provides subtitle support if you are using it with a media server.
What cool things have you done or seen by casting or mirroring from your Android? Did you encounter any problems? Send us your thoughts.