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Yes, you can watch anything that’s on your Android device on a big screen. Whether with a wire or without, it’s easy to mirror any Android phone or tablet’s screen on a TV. And no, you don’t need to root your device.
The methods for a TV are different from a computer or laptop screen. For that, we have another guide on how to mirror an Android screen to a PC or Mac without root.
Casting vs. Mirroring
Remember, in this case, we are talking about mirroring and not casting your screen.
“Casting” involves sending a video or image from your phone to the TV. You can continue to use your phone for other tasks when you are casting.
“Mirroring” involves replicating the phone’s screen on the TV. What you see on your phone’s screen will be shown on the TV’s screen. This is useful for things like a presentation, but you can’t use your phone for other tasks while mirroring.
Both casting and mirroring use some common tools, but the end result is often different. Keep that in mind or you might end up with one of those embarrassing Chromecast mistakes.
Wired vs. Wireless
There are two broad categories to mirror an Android screen to the TV. Either use a wire to connect it to your TV via HDMI, or use a wireless solution through Miracast or Chromecast. Depending on why you are mirroring the screen, you need to choose what’s best for you.
For Low Latency and Real-Time Speed, Wired Is Better
A wired connection is far more reliable if you want the TV to show the same things as the phone or tablet, without any lag. For example, go with a wire if you want to play games on your TV with a wireless Android controller. A second of lag can mean game over, and wireless lags often.
For Ease of Use, Wireless Is Better
If speed is not an issue, wireless mirroring is the better option. It lets you use the Android device from a distance and even connect it to a charger. It’s a much more pleasurable experience for activities like showing photos on the big screen.
Wired: Slimport or MHL
All TVs today have an HDMI port. Your Android device has either a micro USB port or a USB Type-C port. Can a wire connect the two? The simple answer is yes, and you may or may not need an adapter.
It depends on whether your devices supports a standard called MHL (Mobile High-definition Link). Most Android phones will support MHL, but you’ll have to check if your TV does.
There is an official list of MHL-ready devices, so you can search for your TV and phone or tablet on that. If both are in the list, grab a simple MHL compatible cable, connect it to both devices, and you’re good to go.
If your devices aren’t supported, then you’ll need to buy an MHL adapter, many of which also charge the device while being used. But instead, I’d suggest getting a Slimport adapter.
Slimport is another standard like MHL, and works only through an adapter. That said, if you have to choose an adapter, Slimports are generally better. It is designed for low-power consumption, supports 4K resolution in new adapters, and also charges your Android device.
Slimports are also not restricted to HDMI alone. You can find Slimport adapters for VGA ports to finally use that port on your TV. But remember, VGA will only transmit video, not audio.
Wired: mini HDMI or micro HDMI
Some older Android devices come with a dedicated HDMI output port. This is a smaller version of the HDMI port on your TV. It will be either a mini HDMI or micro HDMI port, which look like this:
If your Android device has such a port, forget about MHL and Slimport. This is the best option. Buy a cable for that port, connect it to the HDMI port on your TV, and the device will start mirroring the screen immediately.
I don’t know about you, but my TV’s HDMI ports are all being used by set top boxes, video game consoles, and streaming devices. Maybe it’s time to stop using HDMI and go for Miracast.
Miracast is a wireless standard supported by a large number of TV, phone, and tablet manufacturers. Check if your devices support Miracast by finding them on the Wi-Fi Alliance’s official Miracast list.
If both the TV and the Android device support Miracast, you can pair the two directly. No, you don’t need to connect to your wireless router or anything else. It’s the simplest, no-fuss solution.
If only your phone supports Miracast and not your TV, you can buy the AnyCast dongle. And it will soon support 4K resolution too.
The other wireless option to mirror your Android is with a $35 Chromecast. It’s the most versatile option, since Chromecast does a lot more than mirroring screens.
The process is simple: download and run the Google Home app, tap Menu > Cast Screen / audio > Cast Screen / audio. Select your Chromecast when prompted, and it’s ready.
However, Chromecast has one major limitation: it needs an active internet connection to work, unlike the other solutions in this article. If your Wi-Fi router can’t access the internet, Chromecast won’t work.
If you’re confused about the choices, read our guide on Chromecast vs. Miracast.
Which Method Do You Use?
I actually have the option of using all of the above methods. But the one I find myself using the most is the Chromecast. Mirroring my screen isn’t a major need for me, and when I do need it (for photo slideshows and such), the Chromecast gets the job done.
If you’re an iOS user, you can also mirror your iPad or iPhone screen to your TV.
Do you use your Chromecast to mirror your Android’s screen or do you prefer one of the other methods here?