Droid Meets HDMI: How (and Why) to Connect Your Android Phone to Your TV
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Your Android display probably isn’t that big. Even if you’re using a phablet-sized device, the display will be 7 inches at most.

Meanwhile, the TV on the wall is 40 inches, or bigger.

There may be many reasons for you to want a larger screen for your Android device, but is it practical? How can you connect your Android device to your TV? Fortunately, you have several options, all of which utilize your TV’s HDMI port Video Cable Types: Differences Between VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports Video Cable Types: Differences Between VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports There are so many video cables out there and it can get confusing. VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort -- what's the difference and why do they even matter? Read More .


Why Connect Your Android Phone to Your TV?

One reason might be for gaming. On the big screen, mobile gaming suddenly becomes a public pastime rather than a private one, and you might even stop using your game console.

The possibilities are here are considerable. While I’ve only tested this with a handful of titles, you might find it such a good experience that you won’t want to play Android games without it. Connect a Bluetooth controller Enhance Android Gaming With These Controller Options Enhance Android Gaming With These Controller Options Gaming on a touchscreen can be difficult and frustrating. While being able to whip out your Android phone and sneak in a little Final Fantasy on your lunch break is great, having no tactile feedback... Read More to your device for the best results.

Meanwhile, your photo and video collection might also prove perfect material for sharing, while presentation software can take advantage of an HDMI link to your display. You might even want to use an HDMI connection to your TV How to Use Your Android Phone to Replace Your Desktop PC How to Use Your Android Phone to Replace Your Desktop PC Your phone is powerful, so why not use it is as your full desktop operating system? Read More for productivity purposes.

So, how do you connect your Android device to your HDMI TV?

1. Google Chromecast

Image credit: Robert Fruehauf via Shutterstock.com
Image credit: Robert Fruehauf via Shutterstock.com

Probably the most obvious method is via the popular Google Chromecast, which has been available since 2013. This is essentially a tool for streaming media — or your phone’s display — direct to a TV. The Chromecast has a HDMI connector and a USB power cable (most TVs have a USB port that provides enough energy to power the device), and once paired with your Android device, it is ready to use.

All you need to do is use the Cast command in Android’s pull-down Quick Settings menu, or find the icon in your favorite apps. For instance, the mobile Chrome app has a Cast option.

For full details on setting up Chromecast and streaming the content to your TV — or mirroring your games — see our comprehensive Chromecast setup guide How to Set Up Your New Google Chromecast How to Set Up Your New Google Chromecast If you own a brand new Chromecast but have no idea how to use it, let our easy-to-follow guide help you get started in mere minutes. Read More .

2. Miracast

An alternative to Chromecast, Miracast — which we looked at in detail early in 2016 What Is Miracast? How to Use Miracast for Wireless Media Streaming What Is Miracast? How to Use Miracast for Wireless Media Streaming HDMI may be the standard for connecting media devices, but it has a lot of downsides. Here's how to use Miracast instead. Read More — comes built into many modern TVs. Even if your TV doesn’t have Miracast compatibility, you might find that your Blu-ray player or media center does. Failing that, you can connect an inexpensive Miracast dongle to your TV’s HDMI port.

To connect to a Miracast device with a device running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer, open Settings > Device connection > Screen mirroring and follow the steps there. For older devices, use Settings > Display > Cast Screen, open the menu, and check Enable wireless display.

3. USB to HDMI

In recent years, support has improved for USB to HDMI. For this, you will need a converter to convert signals from the microUSB connector (or, more recently, USB type-C connector What Is USB Type-C? What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More ) to the HDMI cable and display the output on your chosen TV or monitor.

Image credit: JIPEN via Shutterstock.com
Image credit: JIPEN via Shutterstock.com

Compatibility for the converters differs across devices. Samsung phones and tablets work with them, as do some HTC and Motorola devices, but others may not. Don’t simply go out and buy a generic adapter – instead, search Google: “USB HDMI adaptor for [ANDROID DEVICE]” and see what comes up. Often the first result will take you to an Amazon page for the piece of equipment you need.

Two types are available.

  • MHL: standing for Mobile High-Definition Link, this offers HD video and eight channel surround sound. Founded in 2010 and currently offering the superMHL specification, devices are available for microUSB and USB Type-C.
  • Slimport: has low power requirements, meaning that you can expect to connect your phone to your TV without draining the battery. Unless you’re playing a game with heavy graphic requirements, of course! Fortunately, many Slimport cables feature a micro USB port for connecting your charger cable.

Note that other AV adaptor types are available; if you don’t have an HDMI TV, you might opt for a VGA-compatible Slimport cable instead.

These devices can vary in size, but they generally will have a cable with the USB connector at one end and a square box with the HDMI connector at the other.

Some Older Phones Have Another Option

A few years ago, several Android phones and tablets shipped with a HDMI-out port. These devices included the Sony Xperia S, LG Optimus 2x, LG Optimus 3D P920, Acer Iconia A1, Tesco Hudl, Archos 80 Titanium, Nokia 2520, and Motorola RAZR HD XT925. (An almost-comprehensive list of devices can be found at GSMArena.)


Should you have one of these older devices, you’ll need a special HDMI cable with a standard Type-A connector at one end and a suitable connector at the other. This might be the Type D (micro-HDMI), the Type-C (mini HDMI), or the standard Type-A.

The problem with these phones, however, is the age. You won’t be able to enjoy the latest versions of Android with older hardware, and by extension, the safety and stability of security updates.

It’s HDMI, Time to Try!

With the right hardware, you can enjoy the high quality output of your Android phone or tablet on your HDTV. Whether gaming, looking at photos or enjoying music, the possibilities are intriguing.

You might, for instance, be running Plex or XBMC for Android on your phone or tablet. Your once-personal portable media center (which might have had some LAN broadcast possibilities) is now a full-fledged media centre, capable of displaying movies and TV shows on your family TV for everyone to enjoy.

With the price of an HDMI converter or suitable cable for your HDMI-equipped phone so low, it seems a huge waste to ignore this feature. Although you might prefer not to play on a 40 inch display. Using HDTV As a Gaming Monitor: Good Idea? [Geeks Weigh In] Using HDTV As a Gaming Monitor: Good Idea? [Geeks Weigh In] Read More

Originally written by Christian Cawley on May 24th, 2013.

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  1. itamar
    January 2, 2017 at 3:36 am

    I just changed to a galaxy s7, really I wanted to stick with the google ecosystem after hating my iOS the previous month of trialling.

    Never really used streaming services because of my own eclectic tastes but I'm really chuffed with the play store.
    It's search function, arguably the worst thing about spotify, is spot on when searching for music.

    That being said, I think i will be stopping my subscription because as a music player of your own library of music it still sucks a major load. It piles all the stream music on top of your own and there is not way to exclusively search for your own library. That and, if you are like me in australia, its seamless function depends on a constant internet connection. Like, not just the streaming, but the actual apps interface relies on your connection even when searching through your own library. Fix that and its the best thing so far.

    that being said, it would be nice to name it something else. I've had just a few issues using 'ok google' to manoeuvre songs with voice commands because it is called 'play' and 'music'

  2. Bishwa
    October 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Can i do in with any android phones??

  3. DalSan M
    May 25, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I had been doing this for over a year with my T-Mobile US LG G2x that has HDMI output. Crackle, TVPortal, XBMC, UPNPlay, YouTube, gaming, etc. works great on a bigger screen for sharing with friends and family. I just need to get a decent Bluetooth keyboard with touchpad and a Bluetooth game controller for a better experience. This turns any HDTV into a better-than-smart tv. If only I can do this with all of my tv's so that I can get rid of my expensive satellite tv subscription. I think that phone manufacturers pushed out HDMI prematurely, but now that there is a growing demand for Android stick pc's, the missing HDMI port would be a very welcome and more sought after feature.