Have you ever wanted to turn your iPhone into a mobile theater system?
iPhones are great, but sometimes you don’t want to settle for showing off your photos or watching videos on a small screen while you’re sitting in front of a big HD television. Today, I’ll teach you how to play iPhone videos on TV.
At the moment, one of the fastest ways to get your favorite movies or media onto your TV is through phone or tablet. It’s easy to connect your iPhone or iPad to your TV and view your favorite videos, pictures, music, and more. You can even use it to play games! You can connect your iPhone to your TV with most versions of iOS. Here’s how to watch iPhone videos on TV, with or without wires.
So, what’s the best way to connect my iPhone to my TV? Do I need to ‘mirror’ the screen? Can I connect to the TV wirelessly?
If you’ve got an iPad or iPhone and you’re pondering the best way to connect it to a TV, you’ve come to the right place. This article has everything you’ll need to know about viewing your phone or tablet’s media to a TV.
There are two main ways to stream content from an iPhone or iPad to a TV:
- Connect using a Lightning Digital AV Adaptor and an HDMI cable.
- Connect using AirPlay.
Both the options have their merits; it all depends on your preferences. In this section, we’ll look at both ways to hook up your iOS device to a television. We’ll also consider ways to get Apple TV involved if you have it.
A Step-by-Step on How to Play iPhone Videos on TV
Method 1: Physical Connection
Connect your iPad or iPhone to a television using a Lightning Digital AV Adaptor.
Though playing content on your TV via your iPhone is great, it’s not possible with base materials – you need adapters, certain apps, or hardware.
The easiest way to play iPhone videos on TV is to use an official Apple AV Adapter, which converts your iPhone’s 30-pin or Lightning port to HDMI. There are also adapters that output to Component, Composite, or VGA. Your iPhone should be detected as if it were a streaming media player like a Roku or Apple TV.
What you need is an AV Adaptor with an HDMI port to plug into the TV, a Lightning connector (output) for plugging into your iPad or iPhone, and a bonus Lightning port. This will give you the option of charging your iPad or iPhone while you watch!
Using a Lightning Digital AV Adaptor couldn’t be easier.
- Plug one end of your HDMI cable into the Lightning Digital AV Adapter’s HDMI port. Insert the other into an open HDMI port on the back of your TV.
- Connect the Lightning Digital AV Adaptor to Lightning port on your iPad and iPhone (the same port you normally use to power the iPad or iPhone).
- Optional: Connect your charging cable to the Lightning port on the Lightning Digital AV Adaptor.
Now, turn on the television and ensure that it’s set to display the video input from the HDMI socket (you normally use the remote to pick from multiple HDMI inputs on your television). You will see the iPad or iPhone’s home screen appear on the television. It may appear with lower quality and in a box shape. Don’t worry, this is just for the Home screen. Things will improve in a minute.
Start playing media on your iPad or iPhone. Either pick a movie file from the Videos app, or play a clip from BBC iPlayer, YouTube, or any other video app. The Home screen will vanish from the TV, and the video will start playing in full HD. On the iPad, you will see a screen that says TV Connected.
- Videos will only play from apps that support video-out. In some cases, support from an app might be dictated by the model of iPhone you have. Hulu’s app, for example, only handles video-out on an iPhone 4S or newer.
- Using the adapter is pretty simple, but it’s also costly. Prices vary between $30 and $50 depending on the type of video output you need.
- This method requires a wired connection between your iPhone and your television, which can be inconvenient if your television is far from your couch.
Method 2: Wireless Connection
Connecting your iPad or iPhone to a television via DLNA App:
DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, and it’s a standard like WiFi or USB that’s meant to make home media connection easy. Many televisions support DLNA, and so do game consoles, media streamers from Netgear or Western Digital, and plenty of other set-top hardware.
To use DLNA, you’ll need to download an app that turns your iPhone into a DLNA server. I use ArkMC, which comes in a free lite version and offers a paid version for $4.99. Other DLNA devices connected to your home network should automatically discover your iPhone. Once this happens, select the pertinent device.
Though simple, this option has some notable limitations. You can play files stored on your iPhone, but you can’t play streaming content from an app, like a video or a game. This option is great for viewing a photo album or watching a movie you own as a video file, but useless for Netflix or Hulu.
Connecting your iPad or iPhone to a television via AirPlay:
All iPhones come with the ability to stream media using AirPlay, which is Apple’s proprietary version of DLNA. You’ll need an Apple TV (or other AirPlay device) along with WiFi and an iPhone to make this option work. Software solutions like AirServer also work for sending videos to a Mac or PC.
You can turn on and start broadcasting/mirroring using AirPlay via the iOS 7 swipe-up Control Center. Tap the AirPlay button and select your AirPlay destination.
That’s all there is to it. Once AirPlay is turned on, any photos, videos, or apps that support video-out will display on your television via Apple TV. The iPhone effectively becomes a remote control. Also, there are a few iOS games (like Worms 3) that let you use your phone as a controller while the game plays on your television.
Here’s how to stream a video using AirPlay using the Apple TV:
- Start playing a video on your device.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal Control Center.
- Tap the AirPlay icon, and select Apple TV.
- Tap outside of Control Center to remove it and tap Play to continue watching the movie.
- Look for the AirPlay icon in apps.
Some apps, such as BBC iPlayer and TED Videos, feature their own AirPlay icon. While playing a video, tap their AirPlay icon and choose Apple TV to start streaming your video.
Connecting your iPad or iPhone to a TV via Mirroring to Stream :
Sometimes you can’t stream video from an app or the web to your TV. Support for AirPlay is determined by developers, and not all want to support it (you cannot stream ITV Player, for example).
In this instance, you can work around the problem using Mirroring. With Mirroring selected you can stream your entire iPhone or iPad screen, including the Home screen and whatever is appearing in apps, on the TV.
Swipe up to reveal Control Center, and select the AirPlay option to bring up the AirPlay menu. Select Apple TV and then swipe right on the Mirroring slider button to turn it green.
To view photos on your iPhone or iPad on your TV, open the Photos app and select the Share button. Choose the photos you want to show by tapping each one until a blue circle with a white arrow appears. Now, select AirPlay from the pop-up menu and choose Apple TV. Your photos will appear individually on your TV. To change the photo that appears, simply swipe left or right.
If you’d like music to accompany your slideshow, swipe the Slider button on the right until it turns green. Now select the Music option below and choose some tunes you’d like to have played as your slideshow progresses. Then, tap Slideshow for your slideshow to start playing on your TV.
To play music stored on your iPhone through your TV, choose the track, album, or playlist you want to listen to, swipe up to reveal Control Center again, select AirPlay, and then Apple TV. Bingo! Your favorite tunes are now playing through your TV.
Playing iPhone videos on TV, as you can see, depends on what you want to do. There’s really only one way to directly play streaming media on a television, and that’s via the adapter cable. But there are many ways to view photos, listen to music, or control apps on other devices via your iPhone.
How do you send video from your phone to your TV? Let us know in the comments.