As an owner of a non-smart TV, I know the frustration of not being able to stream content from my phone or other devices. After hours of research and testing, I’m here to share the solutions I found on how to stream from a phone to a non-smart TV. Follow along to find out how you can easily get your phone content on your TV screen.
A non-smart TV does not typically have Wi-Fi, which is the most common way to cast or stream from mobile to TV. Workarounds include using an HDMI cable/MHL adapter, Miracast, an Anycast dongle, casting your mobile via a laptop, or streaming via an external device.
Table of Contents
- Screen mirroring duplicates what you see on your smartphone to your TV.
- Screen casting shows content on the TV without showing it on the phone simultaneously.
- Screen sharing allows you to share content on your TV from a remote location.
- Smart TVs have intelligent onboard capabilities to support functions such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, and video streaming.
- Regular TVs require additional devices and methods to get the job done.
- Options for streaming from non-smart TVs include MHL cables, Miracast, PC-phone-TV method and Any-Cast.
Screen Casting, Mirroring And Sharing, The Differences
Casting, sharing, mirroring, and streaming are all tech jargon we often hear when someone wants to show us a video or play a movie. It can be confusing, and deciding on what option to use based on the type of technology you have on hand is somewhat daunting.
Although most of these methods and technologies are designed with smart TVs in mind, some devices and software tools are available to stream content from your smartphone to your TV, at least in most cases. You only need a TV that supports the technology.
- Screen Mirroring
As the name suggests, screen mirroring duplicates what you see on your smartphone to your TV. Whatever happens on your mobile device is exactly what you see on the TV, a copy. Another way to describe it is as a type of projector, a replica or mirror image of your screen.
The smartphone and TV must be in the same room with screen mirroring. This option is, therefore, best for in-person settings such as showing friends or family holiday photos or a funny video.
- Screen Casting
Casting is similar to mirroring, except that with the content showing on the TV, you lose the ability to see it on the phone simultaneously. Your smartphone will typically blackout as soon as the content appears on the TV.
Another feature of casting is that once the content is showing on the TV, you have control of the content on the TV instead of the smartphone or laptop.
- Screen Sharing
Screen sharing is like the others, except that you can share content on your TV from a remote location. You do not have to physically be in the same room, although you can be. For this to work, you must have the applicable software, usually video call software.
Smart Vs. Regular TVs
The terms casting or streaming, screen sharing, and mirroring are not set in stone and are somewhat interchangeable, depending on who you ask. It is, however, good to know the subtle differences so you can better understand what it is you are looking for when seeking the tools needed to make them happen.
The concept of “Smart” TV applies to TVs with intelligent onboard capabilities that can support functions such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, and video streaming on demand, and will have a built-in operating system and applications such as an internet web browser, Youtube, Netflix, etc.
Regular TVs are still available on the market for those wanting to take advantage of high-definition video quality, slimline design, and LED or OLED technology. They usually include all the connection types such as USB and HDMI required to connect external adapters and devices.
Regular TVs may also be preferred by those who are wary of potential security and privacy issues or who may feel they don’t have the requisite skills to use the more complex technology in Smart TVs.
Options For Non-Smart TV Streaming
Smart TV support uses Wi-Fi connectivity to mirror or cast from external devices such as mobile phones. Regular non-smart TVs require additional devices and methods to get the job done. Some of the best options available include the following:
- MHL Cables
MHL cables include out-of-the-box functionality for screen mirroring. The HDMI cable end goes into the MHL-enabled socket on the TV, the micro-USB plugs into the phone, and the USB uses the TV USB connector for power. This method is the easiest wired option available for Android phones.
Built on Wi-Fi-Direct technology, meaning an active Wi-Fi connection is unnecessary, Miracast is a feature found on most modern TVs, even regular ones. It creates its own internal network and the casting function that your phone comes with. You enable cast on your phone and select the TV. A possible downside is that not all Android phones support mirror cast.
- PC, Phone, and TV Method
Using your laptop as an intermediary, you can connect your phone to it via USB and let it read the files on your smartphone. You can then connect an HDMI cable between your laptop and TV and project your laptop to your TV. Open your smartphone files on the laptop and select the media to play.
An advantage of this method is that your phone screen doesn’t need to be on while mirroring your phone’s content.
A popular alternative to Miracast, Any-Cast is an excellent option to use instead of a wired HDMI connection. You will need to purchase the Any-Cast dongle, which plugs into your TV’s HDMI connector and creates a virtual Wi-Fi network connection between your smartphone and your TV.
Choose the cast function on your phone and enjoy wireless streaming from your phone. There are alternatives to Any-Cast, such as Chromecast or Amazon TV Fire Stick that come with a host of additional features, but Any-Cast is still one of the cheapest options.
Smartphone and TV technology is constantly evolving, as are the multimedia streaming choices available to you. Besides the most basic options commonly found with modern TVs, such as Any-Cast and Miracast, many others exist, including Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV, to name a few.
Owning a fully-fledged Smart TV is not necessary to take advantage of these wonderful technologies.
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