Smartphones have become our windows onto the world, but these compact devices are still inherently limited in their audio-visual capabilities.
Even with a six-inch screen and a 4K resolution, a smartphone can’t provide an immersive cinema-style experience in the way a widescreen TV can.
Sound is another issue. Smartphones tend to have weedy internal speakers which lack bass or mid-range, focusing on the treble important for carrying voice calls.
As such, watching self-recorded video footage or playing media content on a smartphone can be an underwhelming experience.
It’s often beneficial to link your smartphone to your TV. This doesn’t improve the technical quality of the content you’re viewing, but it can display it in a far more dynamic manner.
But how do you actually link your smartphone to your TV?
Every smartphone has a cable used for charging and data transfers, and these can be plugged into a TV to link the two devices.
Most modern phones have USB-C cables, and a USB-C to HDMI lead will cost less than £20 online.
HDMI is the gold standard for connecting external hardware to a TV, delivering data with less compression than the traditional USB-A sockets found on many electrical devices.
Once the two are linked, it should be possible to output smartphone media content without requiring passwords or having to log in.
While a USB to HDMI lead provides a physical link, this is cumbersome and requires the phone to be within a set distance of a TV – usually six feet or less.
A wireless connection is far more practical, and there are various connection methods which can be used.
Bluetooth can link your smartphone to your TV, though WiFi is typically used by devices like Google’s Chromecast Ultra, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick or Apple’s AirPlay.
(The latter is Apple-specific, but the former platforms can be used with most Android and iOS handsets.)
Newer TVs tend to have mirroring software integrated, and it’s even possible to control devices verbally, with services like Google Home.
Samsung owners can use Smart View on proprietary smart TVs. Like Chromecast, this brings the added benefit of allowing your smartphone to serve as a remote control.
The process of displaying phone or tablet media on a TV is known as casting or display/screen mirroring.
On Android, it’s usually depicted with a rectangle featuring three quarter-circles in one corner, while on iOS, the default representation is a rectangle with a solid triangle at the bottom.
It may be necessary to turn on screen mirroring from your TV’s input menu, while you’ll need your handset’s WiFi or Bluetooth activated as well.
Finally, apps like AllCast and LocalCast can be used to stream files from both Apple and Android handsets to a smart TV.