Connect cell phone to TV: This is how it works with Android smartphones

You can connect your cell phone to the TV in a variety of ways, optionally wireless or wired. There are two fundamental differences in media playback: casting and mirroring. NextPit explains the differences and how the connection between mobile phone and television works.


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Casting vs Mirroring: What’s the difference?

There are two fundamentally different approaches to connecting a mobile phone and a TV: streaming and mirroring.

In the reflection your smartphone screen will be “mirrored” on your TV. So the user interface is mirrored in real time on your TV and reacts to the actions you take on your smartphone. This type of stream is ideal for displaying local content such as photos, videos, or documents.

That to emit it goes beyond simply mirroring the screen. Instead of just streaming the screen content from the smartphone to the TV, it tells the TV what content should be played. The associated application, such as YouTube or Netflix, must be running on the smartphone and the television, and then extract the desired content directly from the Internet, without having to go through the cell phone. You can continue to use your smartphone while streaming, as the content on the screen is not the source of the content displayed on the television.

Basically, if you want to display your vacation photos on your TV, zoom in and let them scroll at their own pace, you should opt for mirroring. If, on the other hand, you want to watch a Netflix series on the big screen and also want to use your smartphone to chat at the same time, then you should opt for casting.

In this guide, we will focus on the connection between Android phones and TVs. If you want to know how to do it with Apple phones, we recommend the following article:

How to connect an Android smartphone to TV?

Cast from Android smartphone to TV with Chromecast

The most obvious solution, which works on almost all devices, is Google’s Cast technology. Google Cast can be used on any smartphone. Many apps are supported. Most Android TVs have the streaming feature built in, as do the various Android TV boxes. If you don’t have one, all you’re left with is Google’s Chromecast TV device.

The technology is very easy to use. You need a Chromecast receiver, which you plug into the TV’s HDMI port and dial it into the same WiFi network as your smartphone. Compatible apps can be “cast” directly to the TV. You can find a list of all supported apps on this Google website.

The basic Chromecast device costs around €30, but you can also opt for the 4K version with Google TV, which costs twice as much, at €60. However, the second version is more than an HDMI device for streaming, it is a complete TV box.

A guide to Google Cast on Android

On the left you can see the “Stream” button in the YouTube Android app. One touch is enough and you can play the content on other devices on the network. / © NextPit

Mirroring: Connect an Android phone to the TV through Google Home

The easiest way to connect your Android smartphone to your TV and display the content on the screen is to use the Google Home app. This method works if you have a Chromecast or Smart TV with Android TV and Chromecast built-in.

  1. Load the Google Home app from the Google Play Store.
  2. sets the Google’s Chromecast if you haven’t already. If your TV has a built-in Chromecast, it will automatically appear in the app.
  3. Select the desired device and tap below cast my screen.
  4. taps project screen and then up start.

Miracast: the open source alternative is less and less important

Developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance consortium (owner of the Wi-Fi trademark), Miracast technology allows you to stream a smartphone screen to a connected TV via Wi-Fi Direct. In concrete terms, this means that the connection is established directly between the two devices without the need for a Wi-Fi router.

Like Chromecast, you must have a TV with this feature or invest in a Miracast dongle. The most popular Miracast dongle is the one from Microsoft, which you can buy on Amazon for around 45 euros. Some smart TVs are also equipped with this technology and do not require a special dongle. The principle is the same as mirroring via Chromecast, only it is hidden elsewhere in the system:

  1. Look for the option in the quick access menu of your smartphone flow screen.
  2. Select the device (your TV); you will see a Miracast icon for supported devices.
  3. on your tv you confirm the connection.

But to be honest, this solution is a bit outdated. This way you cannot lock or use your smartphone during the transfer. In 2022, the Chromecast variant is the most flexible and robust solution.

microsoft miracast dongle

A Guide to Miracast on Android

You don’t necessarily need a dedicated Miracast dongle / © NextPit.

Connect Android smartphone to TV with HDMI cable

If you don’t have a Chromecast-enabled TV, an HDMI cable and adapter is the cheapest way to connect your phone to your TV. The content of the smartphone screen is reflected here. There are several options for wiring. Which one you choose depends on which display you’re connecting to, how long the transfer takes, and more importantly, whether or not you need to charge your phone during the process.

The easiest option is a USB-C to HDMI adapter. If the smartphone has a USB-C port, you can connect this adapter and then connect the TV via HDMI cable. However, this method will occupy your charging port, unless you have several, for example as the proud owner of an Asus ROG Phone 5.

If you still rely on a micro-USB connection, you’ll need a suitable adapter. On the plus side, these adapters tend to be older and therefore often cheaper than their USB-C counterparts. This method requires the smartphone to support a different protocol called MHL. If you have a compatible smartphone, connect it to the adapter and reconnect it to the TV via the HDMI cable.

MHL USB-C+Micro-USB to HDMI Adapter

That’s it with our guide on how to connect your Android phone to the TV. Hopefully you were able to do something with our smartphone tips. If you know of other options, let us know in the comments.

The post was fully revised in January 2022. Previous comments have been moved, but refer to older versions, so context may be missing there.