In this age of connected technology, it’s easier than ever to view and display content and information on a wide variety of displays. This article will talk about a few of the most common, and easiest ways to connect a variety of devices to a TV so you can show pictures, play videos, and more.
A wired connection may not always be the most convenient option for connecting your device to a TV, but it is often the most reliable option. In instances where there may not be a steady wireless connection, or when traveling, having a wired option is usually an option.
Currently the most widely used industry standard for video on TV’s. If you’ve bought a TV in the past 10 years, it probably has at least one HDMI port on it. Many computers and tablets also have HDMI ports in varying sizes, to allow quick and easy connection to TV’s and monitors. The best way to know if your device has an HDMI port, is to refer to its manual. Not only will this tell you if your device supports HDMI, but if you need an adapter, or a specialized version of HDMI, like Micro or Mini HDMI.
Another type of video port, mostly found on higher-end computers, laptops, and tablets. Display Port has many advantages over HDMI, including the ability to fit almost any type of display using adapters, higher resolutions, and faster refresh rates then what HDMI is capable of. You can usually find Display Ports on business class laptops, high end gaming graphics cards for desktops, and the mini-display port version on Apple laptops, and tablets like the Microsoft Surface.
Utilizing common adapters, it is simply to convert a Display or Mini Display port into HDMI, VGA, and even DVI if needed.
While not designed for video output, there are adapters that
connect to a USB port on a computer (usually requiring the 3.0 variant) and output either HDMI or VGA. This can be useful if you’ve used all the video outputs on your device, but still need to connect to another display. Be aware that these types of adapters do put extra load on your system, and slower
computers may have a difficult time using them.
Wireless options for connecting to a screen are quickly becoming cheaper and easier, not to mention more convenient then being tied down by a cable. This section will talk about a few of the most common, and easiest to use options on the market today.
The Google Chromecast is a small HDMI dongle that plugs into the back of a TV or Monitor, and using Wi-Fi, wirelessly mirrors or displays content onto your TV. The Chromecast itself doesn’t have a remote or interface, and instead relies on an existing device like a smartphone, tablet, or computer to control it.
One common use for the Chromecast is for watching streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Once the Chromecast has been setup and connected to Wi-Fi, all your other connected devices will see it. You can be sitting on your couch, and simply pull up the Netflix app on your smartphone or tablet and choose what you want to watch. You’ll then notice a special Chromecast button inside the app, and when pressed, it will wirelessly send your video to your TV. Your device then acts as a remote to control whatever you’re watching!
And that's just the tip of the iceberg with the Chromecast, as it can steam music, mirror websites you're browsing in Google Chrome, and even mirror your entire computers screen wirelessly to at TV.
Similar to the Chromecast, the Apple TV is chiefly used to watch streaming services. Unlike the
Chromecast, the Apple TV does have its own remote and interface. It essentially makes a non-smart-TV, smart by giving it a wide array of apps, and should be your streaming device of choice if you own Apple products!
Speaking of Apple products, the Apple TV is designed to mirror and project whats on the screens of your iPhone, iPad, and even a Mac computer! Say you're looking at your photos on your iPad, but want everyone in the room to be able to see them too. If you have an Apple TV connected to your TV, with the press of a button anything shown on your iPad is wirelessly mirrored to your TV’s screen!
Miracast, DLNA, and Wi-Di:
Of course, in the realm of technology there always has to be multiple ways to do something that all work a little bit differently from each other. It’s almost like someone really enjoys confusing everyone.
Miracast, DLNA, and Wi-Di, are not devices like the Apple TV or Chromecast. Instead they are industry standards and technologies used to wirelessly sharing content. Thankfully, almost all modern smart-TV’s, smartphones, tablets, and computers support at least one, if not more of these technologies built in.
The easiest way to know if your device supports these, is to open your settings and look for an option named something like “Play To”, “Screen Mirroring”, “AllShare Cast”, or some other variation. If you do see one of these options, refer to your devices manual for more specific information on using its built-in screen sharing technology.