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The iPhone has access to a huge volume of content like photos, games and streaming video. Your television can play that content in all of its glory, offering a huge improvement over your phone’s small display. Seems like a match made in heaven, right?

That depends. Though playing content on your TV via your iPhone is great, it’s not possible out of the box – you need to add this capability with adapters, apps or hardware. Here are the five easiest ways to send content from your iPhone to your TV.

Physical Connection Via Apple AV Adapter

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The easiest way to play media on your television from an iPhone is to use an official Apple AV Adapter, which converts your iPhone’s 30-pin or Lightening port to HDMI. There are also adapters that output to Component, Composite or VGA. Your iPhone should be detected as if it were a streaming media player like a Roku or Apple TV.

Video will only play from apps that support video out. In some cases, support from an app may be dictated by the model of iPhone you have. Hulu’s app, for example, only handles video out on an iPhone 4S (or newer).

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Using the adapter is pretty simple, but it’s also costly. Prices vary between $30 and $50 depending on the type of video output you need. Also, this requires a wired connection between your iPhone and your television, which can be inconvenient if your television is far from your couch.

DLNA

arkmc

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance 6 UPnP/DLNA Servers for Streaming Media to Your Devices 6 UPnP/DLNA Servers for Streaming Media to Your Devices UPnP devices are able to see and communicate with one another, and one of the best uses for this technology to stream media around the house. Read More , and it’s a standard (like WiFi or USB) that’s meant to make connecting different home media devices easy. Many televisions support DLNA, and so does the PlayStation 3 How To Jailbreak Your PlayStation 3 With PSGroove How To Jailbreak Your PlayStation 3 With PSGroove Read More , streaming media players from Netgear and Western Digital, and plenty of other set-top hardware.

To use DLNA you’ll need to download an app that turns your iPhone into a DLNA server. I use ArkMC, which comes in a free lite version and a paid version for $4.99. Once you’ve opened the app and granted the relevant permissions, ArkMC makes photos, videos and music stored on your iPhone available for play. Other DLNA devices connected to your home network should automatically discover your iPhone, and all you need to do then is select it.

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Though simple, this option has some notable limitations. You can play files stored on your iPhone, but you can’t play streaming content from an app (like a video, or a game). This option is great for viewing a photo album or watching a movie you own as a video file, but useless for Netflix or Hulu.

AirPlay

All iPhones come with the ability to stream video using AirPlay, which is Apple’s proprietary version of DLNA. You’ll need an Apple TV (or other AirPlay device 4 AirPlay Receivers That Are Cheaper Than Apple TV 4 AirPlay Receivers That Are Cheaper Than Apple TV Built as a veritable entertainment box, the Apple TV isn't cheap. It's tempting to look for alternatives - AirPlay receivers that are cheaper than the Apple TV. We've laid out four options. Read More ) along with WiFi and an iPhone to make this option work. Software solutions like AirServer How To Mirror The iPhone Or iPad To Your TV [iOS] How To Mirror The iPhone Or iPad To Your TV [iOS] The iPad (or even the iPhone) is a great device to enjoy apps and video while you're on the road, or in bed. In fact, you can enjoy your media wherever you are. However, sitting... Read More also work for sending video to a Mac or Windows PC.

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You can turn on and start broadcasting or mirroring using AirPlay via the iOS 7 Control Center (the menu which appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen). Tap the AirPlay button and select your AirPlay destination.

That’s all there is to it. Once AirPlay is turned on, any photos, videos or apps that support video-out will display on your television via Apple TV. The iPhone effectively becomes a remote control, and there are even a few iOS games (like Worms 3 Worms 3: Finally, A Proper Worms Game For iPhone & iPad Worms 3: Finally, A Proper Worms Game For iPhone & iPad Team 17 originally released Worms for the Amiga in 1995, and it didn't take long before the world took note and the game was ported to the PC, PlayStation and even the GameBoy. Now, nearly... Read More ) that let you use your phone as a controller while the game plays on your television.

YouTube Pair

YouTube has a neat feature called Pair which makes it possible to pair an Android with any media device that will run a relatively recent version of the iOS YouTube app. This includes most smart televisions, media streaming boxes, and even game consoles.

Depending on your hardware, this feature may activate automatically. You’ll know that it’s functioning when you see an icon in the upper right hand corner of every video which looks like a television and a WiFi icon combined. Tap on it, then tap the device you want to stream the video to. That device will automatically open its YouTube app and start playing.

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Other devices (like the Xbox 360) won’t appear automatically, but can be paired using a simple process. Just open the app on the device you’d like to use, then go to Settings and select Pair. A code will appear on-screen. Open Safari and go to youtube.com/pair then enter the code you were given, and presto! You can now play YouTube videos on your television.

Technically, this isn’t’t streaming because the videos are played on the device you paired with rather than your phone, which is just acting as a remote. That has an upside, though; you can now use the phone for other activities without interrupting your YouTube video.

Roku’s iPhone App

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The Roku Roku 3 Review and Giveaway Roku 3 Review and Giveaway As more content becomes available online, the need for a traditional television subscription may not be enough anymore to justify the costs. If you’re already subscribed to services like Netflix or Hulu Plus, now may... Read More  has proven to be one of the best streaming media players in existence and a strong competitor to the Apple TV. Many iPhone owners have one instead of Apple’s box, and while it’s not possible to stream games to a Roku, the photo, music and video sharing features can be replicated.

All you need to do is download the Roku app, which is free, and login into it with your Roku account. Once you’ve done that, go to the Play On Roku option at the bottom of the app’s main menu. This will direct you to folder views of any music, photos or video on your phone. Just tap what you want to watch (or hear) and it will play via your Roku-connected TV within seconds. You can continue to play media while handling other tasks on your phone.

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The app also acts as a remote, so you can play streaming content or change settings. Like the YouTube Pair feature, however, you’re not actually streaming content from the iPhone to the Roku, but instead command the device’s built in streaming apps via your phone.

Conclusion

Streaming content from your iPhone to a bigger screen, as you can see, depends on what you want to do. There’s really only one way to directly play streaming media on a television, and that’s via the adapter cable. But there are many ways to view photos, listen to music, or command apps on other devices via your iPhone.

How do you send video from your phone to your TV, or do you even bother to do so? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Nicole Henning/Flickr

  1. lina
    August 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I use ArkMC for streaming media from my iphone. It is a video player and streamer with official Dolby Digital Plus. It streams and playbacks media files not only locally on your device, but also from your iPhone/iPad/Smartphone to HD TV, MAC, PC, AllShare TV, Xbox360, PS3 or any other DLNA/UPnP devices.

  2. Lina
    May 19, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I understand that it's been 3 years but I use ArkMC on my iPhone 6 and it works very smooth. Have no problems with streaming of video nor with audio. Recommend!

  3. David Yount
    August 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Can you stream live feed from say watchEspn from an iphone to Android TV and how would you go about doing so?

  4. David Cuffy
    June 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I finish work quite late at night. So when I get home if I don't go straight to bed, I'll find one of my favourite videos on YouTube and using the pairing feature stream the content from my iPhone 6 directly to a smart TV.

    WONDERFUL!

  5. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I live in the sticks and have to purchase our GB. Steaming movies just isn't possible for us to do without using a lot of Gb. Any suggestions on how to stream using an iPhone ?

  6. Photo_Mom
    December 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I used Apple TV to play a streaming video last night. Worked fine.

  7. Mike F
    December 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I don't think all iPhones are supported. Anything lower than the 4S will not stream video...only audio.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4437?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=tumblr

  8. Jeff
    December 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Is there a solution to mirroring the entire iPhone display on a TV regardless of what app you may be in at the time?

    • PacoSF
      December 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      DisplayOut by Ryan Petrich is a very solid app on Cydia. It Mirrors, detects orientation, supports game and video content and allows custom zoom & aspect ratio. it was a few bucks and sure worth it for me in the past. I kinda like choosing my own content vs. having Comcast, TimeWarner, or Apple decide for me.

      I've used DisplayOut on all iphones going back to 3G and also several iPads. Turns out, the iPad 2 was much better in terms of video quality than the iPhone 4S. I haven't tried w/ the newer iDevices, only the 30-Pins. I still have a $50 Component Video to 30-Pin cable from 5-6 years ago.

      These days I'd reccommend the AppleTV2 with XBMC for this type of tomfoolery. Or even the Chromecast.

    • wim
      January 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Lightning to HDMI connector will do that.

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