Practical: display the content of your smartphone or tablet on a television

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
Author and references
Comment (37)

With the amount of multimedia content, especially video, photo and video games, which passes through our smartphones, it is normal to want to enjoy it a little bit on our ultra-connected HDTVs too. A possibility that has been sold for years, but never clarified. Because, yes, it's a little mess to clear up. Wired or in the air, here's how to display your mobile content on a TV.



Convergence, convergence, convergence... Very often, manufacturers sell us interoperability-that-we-swear-it-is-very-simple-from now on and above all simplified connectivity between machines. But the reality is quite different. Between the different operating systems, the protocols of some, the non-generalized standards of others, the closed circuit of such or of his comrade, difficult, in the end, to know immediately and without wiping the plasters how to display the multimedia content from their smartphone or tablet on a television, by a wire or by the magic of the air. From the selfie of grandma Françoise with her favorite dwarf rabbit to the good fashionable racing game, passing through everything, everything, everything, you will have all the cards in hand so as not to lose yourself in what is still decidedly, in 2014, a real bag of knots.



Note, before starting our little tour, that very often the connectivity between a smartphone and a TV, whether wired or wireless, is done with only mid-range and high-end mobiles from manufacturers. For tablets, it probably depends on the mood of the manufacturer ...

Wired connection

If smartphone brands focus on wireless convergence, their terminals still do not forget to be compatible with a wired output. It is also still the best way to enjoy its content without risk of latency or loss of quality. A connection which also displays the content in mirror mode. Obviously, you can imagine that it is almost impossible to find this kind of very useful accessory in the box when buying a mobile or a tablet ...

Apart from the (very rare) micro-HDMI output and Apple's proprietary ports for its iPhone / iPad, two technologies clash to make the ultra-widespread micro-USB port a friend of the TV's HDMI socket: MHL and SlimPort (normally mentioned in product specifications). And when a product rolls for one, it cannot roll for the other simultaneously. 

Note for users of a Windows Phone, Nokia Lumia or other brands smartphone: go directly to the Wireless connection section of our folder, to the Miracast (from Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1) and DLNA paragraphs, because c It is a waste of time on these wired lands. 

Micro-HDMI to HDMI, the royal road

For a while, a few manufacturers wanted to make the micro-HDMI output a new standard connector for Android smartphones. We remember the LG Optimus 2X or even the Motorola Atrix, the advanced racing beasts of 2011. Fashion has not caught on and very few mobile devices still have this kind of connector on board. It's very simple, only the latest top-of-the-range BlackBerrys (Q10, Z10 or Z30) or almost still sport a mini HDMI socket. We find it more readily on Android tablets, sometimes supplemented by its big sister mini-HDMI. Most tablets running Windows RT 8.1 also offer it, with a mirror or second screen display. 



Mini-HDMI to HDMI cable


Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
  • Apple Smart Keyboard pour iPad Pro 9,7 Best price: 169 € See the test
See more offers

The advantage of this output is that the user does not really have to ask any questions: he just needs to buy an adapter (from 2,50 €) or a micro or mini-HDMI to HDMI cable ( from € 9,50) from any country, any color and can use their tablet or mobile in mirror mode.  


MHL, the strong consortium

Driven by a conglomerate Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Nokia (but that was before) in 2010, MHL technology allows multimedia information to be transmitted from a smartphone or tablet, Android above all, from its micro-USB port to an HDMI socket. It is arguably the most well-known wired mobile / TV connection to the general public, but its mention is rare, as is the provision by brands of cables in their name.

The MHL connection can go up to 1080p at 60 images / s but remains confined to HDMI 1.3 and 1.4. It is done via a cable with a micro-USB port on one side and an HDMI output on the other. It can be connected to all the HDMI sockets of a TV, but you will have to be careful about the autonomy of your terminal because, yes, the multimedia connection via the micro-USB port pumps up a lot of energy. This is why most MHL cables offer a micro-USB power supply with an HDMI output and not a direct HDMI cable out, in order to connect the cabling to a power source.

MHL cable with charger Introductory price 35 €

Share your opinion
Buy used: Buy new:
  • eBay 38,38
  • eBay 38,98
How the price table works

However, there is a good way to do without this additional cable. Indeed, if your television has an HDMI input with a small "MHL" logo attached, bingo! This is a sign that you can connect your product without needing a cable with a port to charge simultaneously since the HDMI socket is able to supply power to your smartphone or slate.

The latest protocol, called MHL 3.0, supports the broadcast of a UHD / 4K image. A technology currently available on the Sony Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet. 

An MHL cable, with or without a power supply, is typically priced between $ 7 and just over $ 30. 

SlimPort, opening up to the future?

A distant cousin of the MHL, but developed in total openness, without a consortium or any real restrictive protocol, the SlimPort is also little put forward by the brands. LG, for example, has yet converted its entire high-end fleet from the Optimus G, including the G Pad tablet; the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 designed for Google are also on the list. There too, cables are bought at prices ranging from € 7 to more than € 30 and, here too, mobile and tablet brands rarely make them.

The main advantage of SlimPort over MHL is its wide compatibility in terms of outputs. If the MHL is confined to the HDMI socket, the SlimPort can on the other hand land on DVI, VGA or even DisplayPort, of which it is also a technical derivative. It also offers compatibility with technologies subsequent to HDMI 1.4. The downside is that the SlimPort still cannot do without a power supply on the appropriate cable and that an HDMI socket is not expected to ever power a SlimPort connection, at least. contrary to MHL which already can. But, as mentioned for the latter, if your TV has a USB port, adding the micro-USB power cable won't be much of a problem. Like MHL, the SlimPort can go up to UHD / 4K definition, as well as up to 8 channels of audio.

SlimPort cable

Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
  • Amazon Prime Video Best price: 5.99 € View
  • Xiaomi Mi Portable Electric Air Pump Best price: 36.98 € See the test
  • Electrolux EXJ200 Best price: 149.99 € View
  • Sony PlayStation Plus: 12 month subscription Best price: 54.8 € View
  • La Crosse RS1000 Best price: 60.28 € View
  • BioloMix BM6178 multifunction food processor 1200W bowl 4 liters Best price: 74 € View
See more offers

And to bounce back on the introduction of this wired part, MHL and SlimPort being two different connections anyway, if by chance you changed dairy to turn to a brand that uses MHL, your SlimPort cable would no longer be available to you. no use. The reverse is also the case.

Adapters for iPhone and iPad

Apple is racing to converge in its corner, as usual. The firm has a wired connection that looks a bit like the MHL and SlimPort since it is a cable with the firm's proprietary connector on one side and a block with a power supply and one HDMI output on the other. 

Whether it is for iPhone and iPad in 30-pin connector from before the end of 2012 or for iPhone 5s or iPad Mini Retina and other iChoses in mini Lightning connector, there are now cables from Apple at more than 30 or even 40 € and accessories from third-party manufacturers available for less than 20 or 15 €. 

Apple Digital AV Lightning Adapter Introductory price € 49

Share your opinion
Buy used: Buy new:
  • eBay 47,95
  • eBay 59,28
  • eBay 68,17
  • eBay 71,56
  • eBay 55,20
How the price table works Digital AV 30-pin adapter Introductory price € 39

Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
  • Amazon Prime Video Best price: 5.99 € View
  • Xiaomi Mi Portable Electric Air Pump Best price: 36.98 € See the test
  • Electrolux EXJ200 Best price: 149.99 € View
  • Sony PlayStation Plus: 12 month subscription Best price: 54.8 € View
  • La Crosse RS1000 Best price: 60.28 € View
  • BioloMix BM6178 multifunction food processor 1200W bowl 4 liters Best price: 74 € View
See more offers

Good to know, the Lightning and its adapters, in contrast to the 30-pin port, degrade the video signal, the port not yet supporting native 1080p ... It is therefore a 1600 x 900 px signal that will come out of your iPhone or your iPad (which produces, for the latter, an image in 2048 x 1536 px). Apple has been asserting for months that a software update can fix this, but the matter is still unresolved. 

Neither MHL nor SlimPort, the rogues of the gang

Some brands like to work outside the nails, even though they promote those same nails. This is how we come across some products, often high-end and which do as they see fit and those of zealous engineers in accessories, whose micro-USB to HDMI connectivity is via a cable. owner, while being MHL compatible. This was, for example, the case of the Samsung Galaxy S3, not compatible with an MHL cable for Galaxy S2, but which could be connected to a TV with an identical cable externally to an MHL connector. Why keep it simple ...

The case is still rarer today and most brands of smartphones and tablets prefer to choose a wired camp, or simply abandon the cable to focus on wireless. 

Wireless connection

Less vertical than the wired connection, the smartphone / tablet + TV interaction is not done in mirror mode. Some technologies do not allow this kind of display and focus on all or part of the multimedia content, via the appropriate players, but also via apps. 

Miracast, the mirror of Google Android (and still a bit of BlackBerry 10)

Born from the WiFiAlliance consortium, based on DLNAe and strongly pushed by Google on Android from autumn 2012, now supported by BlackBerry devices (version OS 10.2 minimum) and Windows Phone 8.1, Miracast technology makes it possible to perform a copy screen of his smartphone or tablet on a TV and without using a wire. To do this, the television must be Miracast compatible (also with a Web connection, therefore), or add a key dedicated to this use. In theory, the current Miracast deployment can handle signals of up to 1920 x 1200 pixels, which is slightly more than Full HD. 

Directly on a compatible TV:  

Usually, most "Smart TV" stations with Wi-Fi have Miracast compatibility. However, it is without counting on the marketing teams of the manufacturers, who like to rename the slightest standardized technology to make it something falsely unique, even if it means losing the consumer. Example with our Korean friends LG and Samsung. The latter thus uses the name AllShare to symbolize the sharing of content from an external product to its TVs. This name of course includes Miracast. At LG, on the other hand, we keep the name Miracast on all compatible TVs. Well, that was before the arrival this year of its WebOS TVs ... which swapped the name Miracast for Screen Share. Behind this name, understandable all the same, nothing changes and the compatibility is still there.  

Via a key or a Miracast box:

There is an increasing number of Miracast keys and boxes on the market. Netgear, Measy, Tronstar, Belkin, Sony (with an NFC model to pair the products), EZCast ... there are plenty of choices, sizes and shapes. Connecting via HDMI to a television, they communicate via Wi-Fi Direct or Wi-Fi via a box with a compatible smartphone or tablet. Screen mirroring rarely experiences slowdowns.

Sony IM10 Introductory price 119 €

(1) In the absence of offers discover
  • Sony PlayStation Plus: 12 month subscription Best price: 54.8 € View
  • Amazon Prime Video Best price: 5.99 € View
  • Xiaomi Mi Portable Electric Air Pump Best price: 36.98 € See the test
  • Electrolux EXJ200 Best price: 149.99 € View
  • La Crosse RS1000 Best price: 60.28 € View
  • BioloMix BM6178 multifunction food processor 1200W bowl 4 liters Best price: 74 € View
See more Netgear PTV3000 offers Introductory price € 69

Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
  • Amazon Prime Video Best price: 5.99 € View
  • Xiaomi Mi Portable Electric Air Pump Best price: 36.98 € See the test
  • Electrolux EXJ200 Best price: 149.99 € View
  • Sony PlayStation Plus: 12 month subscription Best price: 54.8 € View
  • La Crosse RS1000 Best price: 60.28 € View
  • BioloMix BM6178 multifunction food processor 1200W bowl 4 liters Best price: 74 € View
See more offers

On the other hand, we walk on eggshells question 3D video games and sometimes even some Full HD videos with large encoding when we go through his box. It is preferable to reduce the number of products connected by Wi-Fi. 

Chromecast, the selective but slightly open key

Google's magic key, connected via HDMI to the TV and using Wi-Fi, sold only 35 € (or even cheaper with certain special offers), has the good taste to work as well with Android from version 2.3 as it does. with iOS.   

Before any purchase of the beast, it is important to take into account that the Chromecast does not allow screen mirroring. Indeed, the key reads compatible content (catch-up VOD and TV applications, YouTube, UPnP players, some dedicated games, etc.) but does not display the screen of the mobile or the slate. On the other hand, its operation - namely to find the content on the Web and not on the mobile - allows you to do something else with your terminal once the content has been launched. Note that the smartphone does not see its energy pumped, but the key must be powered. 

Read the Chromecast key test.

DLNA: almost ideal multimedia, when it works

Queen and almost the first technology of wireless content sharing, the Digital Living Network Alliance allows complete interoperability of multimedia content between different types of products (PC, TV, smartphone, amplifier, Hi-Fi systems, etc.) and is offered by most brands doing audio-video, but not necessarily on all of their products. It will therefore be necessary to scrutinize the logos and see the one below, to win the jackpot. On the mobility side, the devices are far from all compatible with DLNA, but a brand like Sony has made it one of its preferred sharing vectors on the Xperia.   

Here, no screenshot, but outright sharing of the following content: photos, videos, music. The connection is made either directly by the television via Wi-Fi Direct, or via the Internet box or the NAS of the house. Usually, DLNA share management is very basic, with content list and play / pause. Server and NAS users with drives like XMBC will be on good ground here. 

Mobile devices running Windows Phone 8, and even more so smartphones from the Nokia Lumia range, natively support the multimedia connection via DLNA. The Finn absorbed by Microsoft has also developed a "Play To" application, very easy to access in order to connect to a TV or a DLNA compatible computer to send photo, video or audio content.

Apple TV, an iProduct's best friend

Apart from the Chromecast and its many limitations, Apple TV is the only box that allows you to wirelessly enjoy your iOS content on your TV. Its operation is autonomous, with apps, a browser and iTunes integrated while offering access to an iPhone or iPad screen mirroring via AirPlay, Miracast by Apple, for Apple. 

Apple TV

Share your opinion
Buy used: Buy new:
  • Fnac.com Marketplace occasion 76,18
  • eBay 43,49
  • eBay 47,61
How the price table works

Once connected to an Apple TV, you will still see a small logo, like with Chromecast, allowing you to swing your mobile screen to the TV through the Apple TV. Here, too, be careful not to overload your wireless network too much, as Full HD content may sometimes flounder. For video games, especially from an iPad with a Retina display, the image may jerk. We will therefore focus above all on video, sound and photos. 

Audio Video Practical: display the content of your smartphone or tablet on a television
add a comment of Practical: display the content of your smartphone or tablet on a television
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.