Have you ever wanted to view the apps, games and video content stored on your tablet directly on your family’s TV? Well, there’s a way.
Our guide explains the cheapest ways to get your Apple or Android tablet’s contents on the big screen both wirelessly and via cables. Read on to find out how.
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Connect an iPad
The wired way – the most rudimentary method involves purchasing an HDMI adaptor, which plugs into the iPad’s Dock connector (or Lightning socket, depending on your model). Then it’s simply a matter a using a standard HDMI cable to connect your tablet to your TV.
As with most of its own-brand peripherals, Apple’s cables are expensive (around £40). The good news is there are some cheaper third-party alternatives. Unfortunately some apps, such as Sky Go, won’t let you transmit over HDMI, though Netflix, Lovefilm and iPlayer all work. The downside however is that, unless your own a particularly long HDMI cable, you’ll likely have to get up in order to pause what your watching.
Wireless connections – if you want to display an iPad or iPhone on your TV wirelessly, you could consider buying an Apple TV (£99). It plugs directly into your TV, and comes with apps that let you access online services such as Netflix, YouTube and the iTunes video rental store.
Apple TV also offers something called AirPlay Mirroring, which allows you to replicate your iPad or iPhone display on your TV screen. This means you can watch movies, browse the web, compose emails, play games and more on your big screen using your tablets touch controls – effectively turning your iPad into the world’s most expensive remote control.
AirPlay Mirroring is easy to set up. Use the Settings app on your Apple TV to switch AirPlay on. Then on your iPad open the Control Centre by flicking upwards from the bottom of the screen and tap AirPlay, then select Apple TV and use the slider to switch on mirroring.
Connect an Android tablet
The wired way – some Android tablets have a built-in mini HDMI output socket, making it easy to connect them to your TV. Others can be connected to a TV using an HDMI adaptor (around £10). Others still offer no support for wired display outputs, notably the 2012 version of the Google Nexus 7.
Wireless connections – Google has a new device called Chromecast, a small dongle that plugs into your TV’s HDMI socket. It works a bit like Apple TV, with built-in apps for online services, plus it lets you display movies, music and photos from your tablet on your TV – it’s cheaper too at around £30.
There are further ways to wirelessly display Android on TVs, but these often require devices from the same brand as your tablet. For example, people who own the latest Samsung Galaxy tablets and the latest Samsung smart TVs can often use apps to share content between their devices.
However, a more universal wireless approach – called Miracast – is starting to be adopted by manufacturers. Miracast comes built in to Android 4.2 and above, and some newer TVs are beginning to offer built-in Miracast support. You can add it to an existing TV using an adaptor, such as the Netgear PTV3000 Push2TV (around £70 on Amazon).
Tablet streaming – what solution do you use?
Needless to say there are more ways than we mention here to connect your tablet to your TV, but we’ve tried to keep it to the simplest and cheapest methods. If you have a better way, please let us know in the comments section. Just be sure to reference the name of the tablet you use.