How to connect an Android device to the TV

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How to connect an Android device to the TV

Display too small? Enjoy movies on the big screen at home

Your Android device's screen isn't gigantic, that's for sure. Even if you use a so-called "phablet" the dimensions tend to be less than 7 inches. And a tablet hardly goes beyond 10 inches, unless you want to consider it a notebook (with the addition of a keyboard).

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The living room TV, on the other hand, is usually very large, if not huge, even 55 inches or more. The reasons for using a large screen are different: one is for gaming, mobile gaming is a whole other thing than a mass of pixels compressed into a few inches of space, the other is for viewing photos and videos. In addition, of course, to the ability (in the office) to show presentations more easily.

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So how to see the contents inside the smartphone or tablet on the big screen? Here are the alternatives:

1) Google Chromecast

It is probably the most obvious way to stream multimedia content from mobile to TV. Chromecast has an HDMI connector and a USB power cable (most TVs have a USB port that provides enough current to power the device. Once paired with your Android phone it's ready to go.

2) Amazon Fire Stick

Another way to cast your Android device's display is to use Amazon's Fire Stick. The idea is similar to that of the Chromecast, you connect the two devices and "send" the main screen to the TV. This way you can see any type of content, apps, games and any streaming content.

3) Miracast Dongle

Miracast, a wireless HDMI system, is already present in many modern TVs. If your TV isn't Miracast compatible, your Blu-ray player or other media center probably might. Otherwise, you can connect a cheap (a few tens of euros) Miracast dongle to the HDMI port of the TV.

4) From USB to HDMI

A converter that translates signals from USB to HDMI can be found for a few euros on any online shop.

Compatibility for these converters differs from one device to another - it's great for Samsung phones and tablets, as well as some Motorola and HTC, but may not work for others. Don't buy a generic converter, but go to Google and search for "USB HDMI Adapter for [device name]" to see what comes up.

There are two types on the market:

- MHL: It stands for Mobile High-Definition Link and offers HD video and 8-channel surround sound. Models with micro-USB and USB Type-C are available.

- Slimport: has modest power requirements, which means you can connect your mobile to the TV without draining the battery ... unless you are playing a game with heavy graphics requirements, of course! Fortunately, many Slimport cables have a microUSB port for connecting a power cable.

Other AV adapters are also available: if you don't have a TV with an HDMI port you could opt for a VGA-compatible Slimport cable.

5) Connect the mobile phone as a storage device

Another way to connect an Android mobile to TV is as a USB storage device. It is a solution that on the one hand is not good for sharing the screen, but on the other hand at least it allows you to see photos and videos on TV.

Just make sure the USB port on the TV is usable (and not reserved for other uses). The remote control of the TV should also have special controls to search for the files you want to view on your mobile.

6) Broadcast on TV via local network via DLNA

Various devices, from TVs to Blu-ray players, to consoles, support the guidelines of the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance). This means that with the right app installed on your Android device you can stream media files directly to your TV.

DLNA is widespread, and is present in many devices, making the purchase of external accessories unnecessary. An app like BubbleUPnP for DLNA / Chromecast or AllConnect - Play & Stream 

7) The HDMI connector on old cell phones

A few years ago, several Android phones and tablets were equipped with a physical HDMI-out port. Among them, Sony Xperia S, LG Optimus 2x, LG Optimus 3D P920 and others.

If you have one of these devices you will need a special HDMI cable, with a standard Type A connector on one end and a suitable connector on the other, such as Type D (micro-HDMI), Type C (mini HDMI) or standard Type A.

The problem with these phones is that they are old. You won't be able to install the latest versions of Android with the old hardware, and you won't be able to install the latest security updates either.

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