How to Stream from your Phone to your TV
We are all walking around with supercomputers in our hands. Yet it seems near impossible to view that content on a larger screen. You find a video that you’d like to keep watching but don’t want to view it on a four-inch screen, it should be easy to play it on your TV, right? Not always. So, let’s walk through some of the ways to stream from your phone to your TV.
Everything is “smart” these days, right? You should be able to find something in your system that has YouTube or a browser on it? A game system, that new “smart” TV, heck, maybe even your Blu-ray player! Now all you have to do is use the remote to type in the webpage…ugh! This is going to take forever. I’ll just watch it on my phone! There has to be a better way to stream from this phone to that TV!
iOS Users (Apple phones)
iPhones are some of the most popular phones to have. Apple has a loyal following and it is for a great reason – they make very good devices that “just work.” Unfortunately, Apple does like to keep very close control over their ecosystem which can make it hard to stream content that is on your phone to your TV. One of the easiest ways is AirPlay.
AirPlay is Apple’s proprietary streaming solution for getting your content to stream from your phone to another device like a TV. It works with many (not all) apps. Depending on the phone model you have, it is as easy as pressing the AirPlay icon (pictured above) and sending it to your compatible device. Many newer televisions, AV receivers, and other devices will have AirPlay capabilities. If you do not have a compatible device but want to use AirPlay, you can pick up the Apple TV 4k. This streaming solution is a great option for most streaming sources and one we highly recommend, even for Android users.
If you are looking for a less expensive but also very good streaming option for AirPlay, check out the Roku Ultra. It is about half as much as the Apple TV 4k and has nearly all the capabilities including AirPlay.
If you are looking to stream from the very popular Android phones to your TV, you’ve got options. In many apps, you’ll see a “Cast” button (pictured above). If you have a compatible device on your network, it will show up. Many game consoles, televisions, receivers, and disk players will allow you to cast your content to them. All you need to do is to have that source playing on your television, hit the button on your phone, and in a few seconds, the content will start streaming.
If you don’t see the cast button, don’t give up. If you have a compatible source in your system, but can’t seem to cast to it, go to the Google Home app on your phone. This will give you the option to “mirror” your phone on your compatible device. Just open the Google Home app, select the compatible device, and then the Cast My Screen option.
If you don’t have a compatible device, check out the Chromecast with Google TV streaming solution. This device comes with a remote and is cheaper than either the Apple TV 4k or Roku options. It is just about guaranteed to work with your Android phone (we’ve used an older version of Chromecast and loved it) and the remote makes it much easier to navigate. This is a great device to stream from your Android phone to your TV.
Author’s Note: While we are specifying phones here, these streaming options work in other instances. AirPlay can be used from your Mac computer to stream the content on your Mac, and the Google Cast can be used from the Chrome browser on any computer. Once you know what the streaming icons are, you’ll start seeing them everywhere!
Alternative ways to Stream from your Phone to your TV
If you don’t have a compatible device and don’t want to pony up for a streaming box, then you’ll need to connect your phone directly to your TV. For iOS users, you can get this thunderbolt to HDMI dongle for about $15. Android users can buy a cable that does the same thing for about $17. Please, check your phone version to make sure that the above solutions will work for you. If you have an older phone (from either company) they may not.
There are also third-party apps that can stream from both phones. Many on Android, fewer on iOS. With the Apple AirPlay and Google Cast integrated solutions being kept relevant by the parent companies, we believe you should view these 3rd party apps with a skeptical eye. Many are legit and work well, some may be looking for access to your phone and network. User beware we say.
The two main players in the cellphone game have made it easier than ever to stream from your phone to your TV. You might not think you have a compatible device in your system, but then again, you might. Most newer TVs, AV receivers, game consoles, and disk players are “smart” these days. That means they can likely stream your content natively. If you don’t, we have some fairly inexpensive options for you!