Streaming photos and videos from your phone or computer to your TV is a great way to view content on a bigger screen. Modern TVs make this easy through built-in capabilities or by using an external streaming device. Here are some of the main ways to stream media to your TV.
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Connect Your Phone Using Built-In Apps
Many smart TVs and streaming devices have apps or screen mirroring functionality built-in to display content from your mobile device.
Use AirPlay to stream media to TVs that are AirPlay 2 enabled. Ensure your iPhone and TV are on the same WiFi network. Then from the photos app or video player app, tap the AirPlay icon and select your TV.
For Android Phones
Use Chromecast to cast your screen if your TV has built-in Chromecast or you have a Chromecast streaming device. Open the Google Home app, tap the Cast icon and select your Chromecast device to mirror your screen.
Use a Streaming Media Device
Media streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV plug into your TV’s HDMI port and connect to your home WiFi network. You can then “cast” photos, videos and other media from phone and computer apps to the TV.
Popular streaming devices include:
- Roku Express 4K+
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
- Apple TV 4K
Streaming sticks are affordable (under $50) and easy to set up. Many apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu have built-in casting capabilities.
Connect with a Cable
Using a wired connection between your device and TV guarantees a fast and reliable way to view photos and video. Different cables are needed depending on your device:
- iPhone/iPad – Use Apple Lightning to HDMI cable
- Android – Use USB-C to HDMI cable
- Windows/Mac – Connect HDMI cable from computer to TV
Cables allow you to mirror your device’s screen or extend your display. Prices range between $10-$40 USD for most cables.
Set Up a Home Media Server
A home media server allows you to store your photos, videos and other media in one place and access it from any device on your network. The Plex media server app is a popular choice available on Windows, Mac, Linux, NAS devices and Nvidia Shield.
Once set up, the Plex app finds media files on your computer and allows you to access them on many streaming devices and smart TVs with the Plex client app installed. This gives you a centralized media library accessible on any TV.
Display a Photo Slideshow
Turn your TV into a digital photo frame using a USB drive loaded with images. Plug the USB into your TV’s USB port, access the built-in Photo Gallery app from your TV’s menu, and play your photos in slideshow mode.
Most modern TVs support photo slideshows. For older TVs, use a streaming device like the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Considerations When Streaming Media
- For best quality, stream 4K videos to a 4K TV
- Faster internet speeds allow for smooth streaming
- Streaming devices with ethernet ports give most reliable connectivity
- Know what casting capabilities your TV or streaming device has
- Cables offer the easiest and most consistent way to share media
With built-in smart TV functions, affordable streaming devices, media server apps and cables, it’s easier than ever to get photos, videos and other personal media up on the big screen.
I have over 10 years of experience as a freelance writer and content creator. I specialize in technology topics including how-to guides, product reviews, troubleshooting, and tips for getting the most out of consumer electronics and devices. My goal is to clearly explain technical topics to help readers solve problems and make decisions.