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Want to bring things from small to big screen? Here are your options

And by big screen, we mean your TV.

Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

SOME THINGS ARE better off on a larger screen.  Watching a show or movie is better on a TV screen than a smartphone and sometimes it’s better for playing music on or showing people something without having to pass a laptop around.

The easiest way to get the best of both worlds is to cast (or mirror) your smartphone or laptop screen to your TV. Whatever your reason for wanting to cast, there are a few ways to 

HDMI

So this isn’t necessarily streaming or casting but it’s pretty easy to overlook in favour of the flashier options

This is probably the easiest way to get what is on your laptop to your TV as it doesn’t require a WiFi connection to work. Most laptops have a HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) port and it’s likely you already have a cable. If you have any modern devices that connect to a TV like a console, then you can just do a straight swap.

If your laptop does not have a HDMI port, then you will need to buy an adaptor instead. There are some USB to HDMI adapters on the market but don’t opt for the cheapest option as the quality will likely be poor.

Germany Gadget Show Toshiba Some laptops have HDMI ports built-in. Source: Gero Breloer

Chromecast

One of the most popular casting services out there, Google’s Chromecast works with both phones and laptops, but you do need the Chromecast app and a decent WiFi connection for it to work.

The best thing about it is it works with a series of compatible apps like Netflix. While a show is streaming on your TV, your phone lets you carry out actions while it’s playing. The other benefit is as far as streaming devices go, it’s pretty cheap at €39, and the setup is relatively simple.

The con is you can’t just stream anything through it as it only works with compatible apps.

Another similar device is the Roku streaming stick, which offers similar functionality.

Google Marshmallow Phones Source: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

AirPlay

Apple’s own casting service on iPhone and iPad only works with one main Apple product, Apple TV. That means it’s pretty handy for mirroring what’s happening on your device.

Doing so is a matter of bringing up the Control Centre and tapping on AirPlay. The option will be available underneath your music player and it will present any devices, mainly Apple TV devices, that it recognises.

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One of the handy parts about AirPlay is you can stream directly to speakers if they’re compatible. But similar to Chromecast, it can only work with compatible apps and services.

There is also limited functionality with Macs as you can stream video from Safari or QuickTime Player or mirror your desktop. You need to have OS X El Capitan for it to work and you will find the option in your menu bar.

 

ios9-ipad-iphone-airplay-callout Source: Apple

Smart TVs

Some smart TVs allow you to mirror content directly to your TV, provided they’re from the same maker. One example comes from Samsung’s which can mirror the screen from its most recent smartphones and tablets going back as far as the Galaxy S4.

The option is found under Screen Mirroring and can be found by swiping down the notification menu. It should be one of the options available there. You do have to connect it to your TV by bringing up Screen Mirroring on your TV but the setup is straightforward.

This is dependent on you having the same type of phone/tablet and TV so it’s only relevant if you’re a big fan of one particular company.

Read: There’s a new phone company in town and here’s what they’re offering you >

Read: Don’t have Windows 10 yet? You’re going to start seeing full-screen reminders now >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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