How to connect Android to TV

Want to view the video or photos on your Android phone or tablet on your big screen TV? We explain your connection option in this guide.

We explain how to watch video, view photos and more on your TV


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To connect an Android phone or tablet to a TV you can use an MHL/SlimPort (via Micro-USB) or Micro-HDMI cable if supported, or wirelessly cast your screen using Miracast or Chromecast. In this article we’ll look at your options for viewing your phone or tablet’s screen on the TV.

Connect your Android to TV

Tablets and phones are perfect for individual users – lightweight with very long battery life, and with bright, sharp screens that make light work of everything from watching films to reviewing photos. Bigger crowds call for bigger screens, though: here’s how to connect your Android tablet or phone to your TV without spending a fortune or drowning in a sea of cables.

We live in a golden age of content thanks to streaming services such as Netflix, and Amazon Prime Instant Video. However, this isn’t so good when you want to share the experience with multiple people.

Your TV is perfect for this and we’ll explore your options when it comes to getting your mobile content on the big screen. We’ll also look at the services that will let you share your subscriptions, photos and videos on the big screen – and those that won’t. 

Wireless

There’s little to beat the wow factor associated with beaming video straight from a tablet to your TV. The good thing about Android is that there’s more than one way to do it. Miracast is a wireless standard that creates an ad-hoc network between two devices, typically your tablet and a set-top box which supports Miracast.

An increasing number of TVs support Miracast without the need for extra hardware. Miracast uses H.264 for video transmission, which means efficient compression and decent, full HD picture quality.

Better yet, Miracast supports Digital Rights Management (DRM), which means services such as iPlayer and YouTube can be streamed to a TV. Not all services work, though – see below. Android devices running Android 4.2 support Miracast.

How to connect iPad to TV - Apple TV AirPlay

How to connect iPad to TV - Apple TV AirPlay

An alternative (and most user friendly) is Google’s Chromecast. This inexpensive £30 ‘dongle’ plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV and connects to your wireless network. Chromecast support is burgeoning, which means content from services such as iPlayer, Netflix, BT Sport and others can be played with the Chromecast dongle doing all the legwork instead of your tablet, and that’s good news for battery life.

It’s possible to use Chromecast to mirror the display on your Android device, allowing you to hit play on a tablet and have (non DRM-protected) video start playing on your TV. The same goes for anything the screen can display, including apps, games and photos.

Again, Apple users have an easier but more expensive time. The iPad and iPhone don’t support any open streaming standards, so you’ll need to get hold of an Apple TV (£79). This supports AirPlay mirroring from iOS devices only, and, like Chromecast, offers various streaming services including Netflix and Sky offerings Sky Sports and Now TV.

BBC’s iPlayer also supports AirPlay. Note that you can’t use Sky Go to watch Sky programmes on your TV via AirPlay.For more on iPad and iPhone streaming, head here for our step by step guide

Which devices support Chromecast mirroring?

Mirroring on Chromecast used to be only supported by a handful of devices, but now any Android phone running v4.4.2 or higher is able to support the Cast Screen feature.

There is however a list of Android devices that have been tested to work best for Android Screen casting – see Google’s article. Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017.

How to connect Android to TV - HDMI

How to connect Android to TV - HDMI

HDMI

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is the interface standard du jour. If your TV was bought in the last decade it has an HDMI port, as does almost every set-top box, games console and a decent number of still and video cameras.

The benefit to HDMI, apart from its ubiquity (which means it’s cheap), is that it accommodates HD video and audio simultaneously, allowing you to connect devices without worrying about watching a film in full HD but having to make do with your tablet’s tinny speakers. An HDMI output is an advantage that many Android tablets have over Apple’s iPad.

HDMI plugs come in three sizes. Regular HDMI (or Type A, left) are the full-size ports you’ll find on devices where space isn’t an issue: think TVs, laptops and games consoles. The sockets you’re likely to find on tablets and phones will be either Type C (also known as Mini HDMI, middle) or Type D (Micro HDMI, right). Of these, Micro HDMI, or Type D, is the smallest.

Whichever type of port your tablet has, connecting it to an HDMI socket isn’t going to cost you the Earth: expect to pay well under £10 (under £5 in some cases) for an HDMI to Mini- or Micro-HDMI cable.

A decent range of tablets have either HDMI or its miniaturised variants. The Acer Iconia A1, Tesco Hudl, Archos 80 Titanium and Nokia 2520 – among many, many others – all offer it. It’s the most straightforward approach.

You’re not limited to buying a tablet with an HDMI output to connect it to your TV, though.

How to connect Android to TV - Slimport MHL

How to connect Android to TV - Slimport MHL

MHL or SlimPort

HDMI is easy to understand: it’s a port that only does one thing, after all. The drawback is that not all tablets have an HDMI output. The good news is that a pair of widely-supported standards have emerged that allow Android owners to connect to external displays using their microUSB port.

The standards in question are MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) and the newer SlimPort. Both look the same, which is stating the obvious as they simply use the microUSB port on an Android device to deliver video.

Like HDMI, SlimPort and MHL support both video and audio, with up to eight channels of surround sound available. Both normally require breakout boxes: a small dongle between your device and TV that converts the signal from your phone to one compatible with HDMI.

Expect to pay between £10 and £25 for either a SlimPort or MHL signal converter. That makes things a little more expensive than using a tablet with an HDMI port, but MHL in particular is supported by a wide range of phone and tablet makers.

MHL has undergone various versions: we’re currently on version three, which improves the maximum resolution to 4K. This is the same as SlimPort, and means both standards offer pretty similar technical specs.

One advantage that MHL has is support from various TV manufacturers: look on the back of your TV, and if the HDMI port has an MHL logo above it, you can use an HDMI to micro-USB cable to connect the two – the HDMI cable will pass power to your tablet or phone, meaning no need for extra adapters or cables. Bonus.

If your TV doesn’t support MHL, or you have a SlimPort device, you’ll need an adapter. SlimPort users should expect to pay around £15, while MHL users may spend slightly less. If you’re using MHL it’s likely you’ll need an external power source: MHL 3 can draw up to 10 watts from its host device.

With SlimPort no external power supply is needed (it draws a small amount of power from your device), making setup less cluttered. Both devices need a tablet’s screen to be on, though, so breakout boxes normally come with a microUSB port so a charger can be connected.

Support for MHL and SlimPort varies enormously. With three different versions of MHL available plus SlimPort, you’ll need to check the specifications of your device before buying an adaptor. The Microsoft Surface and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 support MHL, while the Google Nexus 5 supports SlimPort.

Apple users have a simpler time: although the iPad is, technically speaking, compatible with DisplayPort, the only way to connect it to a display is with Apple’s proprietary cables. The downside is cost: you’ll pay £40 for an HDMI adapter that connects to an iPad’s Lightning connector (a 30-pin version is available for older iPads).

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How to record an iPad's screen

Apple has made it simple to take a screenshot on all of its mobile devices, but there’s no built-in screen recorder. It’s not easy to record your iPad’s screen, but it is possible. Here’s how.

Record what’s happening on your iPad screen with these tips


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Apple has made it simple to take a screenshot on all of its mobile devices – just press the home and sleep/wake button together on an iPhone, iPad or both buttons on the Apple Watch – but there’s no built-in screen recorder. It’s not easy to record a video of your iPad’s screen, but it is possible. Here’s how.

First, the bad news. Not only can you not natively record what happens on your iPad’s screen, but there are no apps which will do the job either, unless you happen to have jailbroken it. Since we don’t advocate jailbreaking, this leaves only a couple of alternative options:

Using a Mac or PC

If you have a Mac or PC, which you probably do, you are in luck. There are several apps which can record what happens on your iPad (or, indeed, iPhone) when it’s connected to your laptop, PC or Mac using its Lightning cable.

One of the better ones is X-Mirage which, although not free, is still a cheap option at $16. It works out at £13.50 with VAT added on. Another option is Apowersoft’s iPhone/iPad Recorder which costs $39.95 for personal use. It lets you choose the format of the saved video, adjust the quality and also choose which audio input to use (system sound, microphone and both).

It uses AirPlay streaming to display on your computer whatever is happening on your iPad, along with audio. This is good in itself, but you can also record the stream and also choose to record the iPad’s microphone so you can explain what you’re doing or what’s happening without having to create a separate voiceover.

Another alternative is Wondershare’s dr.fone toolkit – iOS screen recorder. This costs $19.99 and works in a very similar way. However, it uses Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to connect your iPad to your PC with a wire. All iPads running iOS 7.1 or later are supported.

Using external hardware

This is undoubtedly an expensive option, but it’s an alternative worth mentioning. If you buy a video capture device such as the Elgato Game Capture HD (€159 from Elgato with a €9.90 shipping charge) or the Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket (£99 from Amazon).

The advantage with the Hauppauge (below) is that you can record direct to a USB flash drive or hard drive: you don’t need a PC or Mac.

How to record iPad screen

How to record iPad screen

However, since both devices are really designed to record from games consoles and has an HDMI rather than USB input, you’ll also need a Digital AV Adapter from Apple, since the iPad doesn’t have an HDMI output. That’s an extra £40.

Doing it the free way

If you don’t need great quality, and you’re happy to ‘bodge’ it, you can can record your iPad’s screen using your phone’s camera.

Of course, you can use a good-quality camera on a tripod and set it to manual mode so it doesn’t go out of focus or keep changing exposure as the scene on screen changes, but simply pointing any camcorder you have at your iPad might do the job.

This is the method many YouTubers opt for, albeit with a good-quality camera and some good lighting, as it shows not just the iPad’s screen, but the tablet itself and your fingers, which can help if you’re attempting to show how to achieve something, such as changing a particular setting in an app, or something that requires you to connect a cable to the tablet or press its buttons.

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AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Roundup

AMD’s Radeon RX 480 launched last June (if you missed our in-depth AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Review, be sure to check it out). In the months that followed, we covered new GPUs and embarked on a sequence of in-depth round-ups across Nvidia’s Pascal architecture. We always planned to circle back on Polaris, though.

This proved more difficult than we anticipated, as availability from AMD’s board partners started off spotty. Fortunately, supply improved and mainstream enthusiasts now have plenty of options to choose from. Some models sport AMD’s reference cooler, while others employ custom thermal solutions. Some models come with 4GB of GDDR5 memory and others wield 8GB. Some models sell for as little as $175; the top end spans beyond $260. Now it’s our job to figure out which designs work better than the rest.

At launch, the Radeon RX 480 8GB trailed just behind GeForce GTX 970, and later came to follow after the GeForce GTX 1060. But back then, most of our benchmarks were DirectX 11-based. The introduction of newer titles optimized for DirectX 12 painted Polaris in a more attractive light. Today, the two cards trade blows, with AMD’s solution generally selling at a lower price.

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Roundup

But this round-up definitely isn’t a comparison between Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1060. In this piece, AMD’s Radeon gets the spotlight. Our aim is to explore, in detail and with a great many measurements, the differences between individual implementations of AMD’s Radeon RX 480.

As always, there’s very little each manufacturer can do to affect core and memory clock rates. But the opposite is true when it comes to their interpretations of power limits, on-board components, and cooling. That’s where we’ll focus most of our time and equipment. In fact, we’ll present data with these cards on an open test bench and in a closed chassis. In some cases, the differences are significant!

At least for the time being, we have five cards to discuss. More are on their way, and we have updates coming for some of our other round-ups as well.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content

MORE: Best Deals

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Roundup

MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Roundup

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Anti-Uber activist banned from harassing drivers

A man who carried out citizen’s arrests on Uber drivers in Australia “intimidated” his targets and has been permanently banned from making similar arrests.

Russell Howarth had been raising publicity for a campaign which accused Uber of operating illegally.

But a New South Wales court said his actions amounted to intimidation.

It also found he tried to damage Uber’s business to benefit a rival ride-sharing service run by his wife.

Justice Michael Slattery said: “Mr Howarth is a person who has few inhibitions preventing him from acting on his beliefs in a way that may be quite frightening and distressing to others.

“This assessment of Mr Howarth is one of the reasons the court regards a permanent injunction as necessary here.”

Physical force

Mr Howarth, a former British police officer, carried out “at least” nine arrests between October 2014 and June 2015 before being handed a temporary injunction to stop him.

He had accused the UberX service of breaking the law in New South Wales by engaging in cartel-like behaviour and allowing criminals to operate as drivers.

According to the court, Mr Howarth would book a cab using the Uber app, then detain the driver at the end of the journey, sometimes using physical force.

He would also call the police to attend the scene, as well as inviting the media to report on some of the arrests.

“Mr Howarth’s ultimate purpose was in my view to stop Uber’s business by whatever means were at his disposal,” Judge Slattery said.

“By publicising Uber’s conduct he hoped to prevent Uber from continuing to operate.”

‘Terrorising’ driver

In one case, he placed a driver in a wrist lock to restrain him until police arrived.

In another, he tailed a driver at close range, “terrorising him”, according to the court.

He would also post videos on the internet to publicise his acts – one being a spoof of the HBO series Game of Thrones, which depicted him as a liberator of Uber’s “slave” drivers.

Judge Slattery said Mr Howarth’s use of citizen’s arrests to attract publicity was unlawful.

He also found Mr Howarth had partly wanted to benefit Ontap – a rival Australian ride-sharing service owned by his wife.

In the “Game of Thrones” video, Mr Howarth encourages Uber drivers to quit the firm and join the likes of Ontap and other Uber rivals.

“That video can be seen as not only an attack on Uber but promoting Ontap as a desirable alternative,” the judge said.

The order permanently bans Mr Howarth performing citizen’s arrests on Uber drivers and employees, and from intimidating or threatening them.

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HP Spectre x360

Update: We’ve updated our impressions of the HP Spectre x360 with the latest 4K model that adds a 3,840 x 2,160 display and a new paint job.

The original HP Spectre x360 was arguably the one of the most handsome 2-in-1 laptops ever created, and now the company has released a dramatically improved next-generation model.

The new 13-inch 2-in-1 laptop brings a ton of improvements, including a new chassis that’s 13% thinner and 11% lighter, a quarter more battery life and an Intel Kaby Lake processor.

Numbers aside, the new HP Spectre x360 is practically an all-new laptop, with a re-engineered display and a few features we can’t live without now.

But while it’s a hands-down improvement over the older model in almost every regard, a few sacrifices have been made in the process, including a higher starting price.

Spec Sheet

CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U (dual core, 4MB cache, 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 16 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED-backlit multi-touch display
Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (Thunderbolt Gen 3), 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1, headset jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac 2×2 WLAN and Bluetooth
Camera: 1080p HP TrueVision FHD IR Webcam
Weight: 2.85 pounds
Size: 12.03 x 8.58 x 0.54 inches (W x D x H)

Pricing and availability

Starting at $1,049 (£1,199, AU$2,299), the new Spectre x360 comes at a higher premium than previous generations, even if this US-only SKU does includes an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. That said, it’s pretty inexpensive to upgrade this machine. Our own Core i7-7500U, 512GB and 16GB of RAM configuration costs $1,299 (£1,499, AU$2,899).

 To get the same configuration on the Kaby Lake refreshed Dell XPS 13 or Lenovo Yoga 910 expect to page significantly more with the two priced at $1,899 (£1,549, AU$2,999) and $1,349 (£1,749, AU$2,799), respectively. Of course, the 4K display panels on these two Ultrabooks also plays a part in the higher price tags.

HP also offers the Spectre x360 with a 4K screen and bundled pen for $1,499. In the UK and Australia, the Ultra HD-flavored hybrid is only available with 1TB of storage at a higher £1,899 premium, meanwhile this model is not yet available in Australia.

Design

We always felt like using the original Spectre x360 was more like handling a pizza paddle than a tablet, due to it being overly wide and heavy. Thankfully, HP has dramatically trimmed the new model’s chassis.

Measuring 13.8mm thin, it’s significantly thinner than the outgoing 0.63-inch thick model. The new design also trims the convertible’s annoyingly wide 12.79-inch body to a more sensible 12.03 inches. 

Both of these changes stem from the new micro edge display HP has implemented – more on that shortly.

That’s more than a half-inch reduction, and stacking it with the new hybrid’s 1.3kg weight makes the device much more comfortable to use in tablet mode. Another effect of the narrower body is that it gives the laptop a boxier shape, similar to the 3:2-aspect ratio Surface Book and Google Chromebook Pixel – however, this device still features a 16:9 screen.

Aside from the apparent shape change, HP has also re-engineered almost every aspect of the laptop. The geared hinges have been reshaped into a shorter – and wider – mechanism to coincide with the thinner design. Likewise, HP has reduced the keyboard travel from 1.5mm to 1.3mm, but we actually prefer this change thanks to a stiffer force curve on the keys.

Unfortunately, there have also been a few less favorable sacrifices made in the name of thinness. The SD card reader has kicked the can, as has the HDMI video-out, in exchange for two USB-C ports.

The good news is that those ports support Thunderbolt 3 for charging, dual 4K monitor support and 40Gbps data transfers. Plus, you still get one full-sized USB 3.1 port for legacy mice, thumb drives and other peripherals.

The glass-coated precision trackpad remains relatively unchanged, and that’s no bad thing. It’s still as responsive ever, but again we wished HP had gone with a narrower option that wasn’t so easy to trigger while typing.

Oh, and HP has applied its new sleek logo as well – if you really care about that sort of thing.

Last but not least, HP brought back its copper trim paint job to the 4K Spectre x360. Aside from giving the 13-inch hybrid a darker look, the dark brown on copper color scheme differentiates it from every other black or silver notebook in the world.

Popping off

Aside from the aesthetic changes, the updated Spectre x360 makes a huge splash with new micro edge display that reduces the bezels on the sides of the screen to a much squatter 0.54mm. Compared to the thick bars on the older model, HP has made a huge improvement, even if the Dell XPS 13 still comes out on top with 5.2mm bezels.

Unfortunately, the top and bottom bezels haven’t seen the same dramatic reduction, but at least HP is using the space above the screen to good use with a new TrueVision FHD webcam. Not only does the IR camera enable you to log in with your face through Windows Hello, it also provides you with a 12% wider field of view.

In addition to stretching from edge-to-edge (on the sides at least), the micro edge display is also features an optically bonded design, so the pixels look like they’re sitting right on top of the touch panel.

This also makes the screen a bit brighter, so you won’t have to constantly bump up the screen brightness to max – which we did often with the predecessor – and can save a bit of battery life to boot.

HP originally rolled out the Spectre x360 with a display resolution limited to only 1,920 x 1,080, or Full HD. However, in February HP added a few 4K variants that definitely add an extra splash of sharpness for watching locally stored and streamed Ultra HD movies and TV.

Personally, though, we would skip the 4K upgrade, especially since we were already impressed with the overall image quality of the original Spectre x360. 

Colors pop off the screen, and they’re accurate thanks to it being able to reproduce 70% of the color gamut. Viewing angles are also generous, even at extreme angles, allowing us to read parts of the screen even when just trying to admire the extreme thinness of the new display panel.

HP has also redesigned the audio on its flagship hybrid with quad-speaker system. Just above the keyboard you’ll find a new speaker grille, under which are two top-firing tweeters that go with another pair of bottom-facing speakers located on the laptop’s underside.

The idea behind the quad-speaker setup is that you’ll have always sound projected towards you, whether you’re using the device as a tablet or laptop. Secondly, it’s the first of HP’s quad-speaker equipped machines to have all four firing off at the same time.

Thanks to a new audio boost feature, the speakers work together to produce a louder and fuller sound profile. Highs come out clearly and bass is more present, but even with all these improvements a good pair of headphones still deliver a superior listening experience.

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