Note 10 is great for individual users – with long battery life and with a clear, sharp screen that lets you easily watch movies or search for photos. But a larger audience requires a larger screen: here we explain how to connect your Note 10 to your TV.
Samsung Note 10 owners live in a golden age in terms of content: streaming video applications such as Netflix and home-made videos and photos must all be shared. And while sharing online is very easy, it is much more fun to do it for real. The problem is the screen of your tablet: perfect for one or two people, but with five people around it is really much too small. This is even more true for the iPad mini with its small screen.
The good news is that you probably already have a device in your living room that is perfect. Your TV is large, clear, and no one has to make an effort to see what happens on it. There is an increasing number of ways to view photos and videos on it, from simple cables to ingenious – but often expensive – wireless options that swing your living room into the 21st century.
Here we look at both options, as well as the services that allow you to share your subscriptions, photos, and videos on the big screen – and the services that don’t allow that. Although we are mainly talking about Android tablets , the same advice applies to Android smartphones.
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is the current interface standard. If you’ve bought your television in the last decade, it has an HDMI port , just like almost any set-top box, game console, and a fair number of photo and video cameras. The advantage of HDMI, apart from its ubiquity (which means it is cheap), is the fact that it offers space for both HD video and audio at the same time, so you don’t have to watch a movie in full HD with the bad speakers from your tablet for the sound. An HDMI output is an advantage that many Android tablets have over Apple’s iPad .
There are three sizes of HDMI plugs. Regular HDMI (Type A, left) are the full ports that you find on devices where space is no problem: think of TVs, laptops, and game consoles. The ports that you usually find on tablets and phones will be either Type C (also called Mini HDMI, center) or Type D (Micro HDMI, right). Of these, Micro HDMI, or Type D, is the smallest.
Whatever type of port your tablet has, you can connect it reasonably cheaply to an HDMI port: You probably don’t need to spend more than 10 to 15 euros on an HDMI to Mini-HDMI or Micro-HDMI cable.
A lot of tablets have HDMI or one of the smaller versions. The Acer Iconia A1 , Archos 80 Titanium and Nokia 2520 – and many others – have it. It is the simplest approach.
But you don’t necessarily have to buy a tablet with an HDMI output to connect it to your TV.
MHL / SlimPort
HDMI is easy to understand: it is a port that does only one thing. The disadvantage is that not all tablets have an HDMI output. The good news is that there are a few broadly supported standards that Android owners can connect to external displays through their own MicroUSB port.
The standards are MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) and the newer SlimPort. They both look the same, which is obvious since they simply use the MicroUSB port on an Android device to deliver video. The Good news is that Note 10 Support MHL.
Like HDMI, SlimPort and MHL support both video and audio, with up to eight available channels for surround sound. Both normally require a break-out box: a small dongle between your device and TV that converts the signal from your phone into a signal that is compatible with HDMI.
You can expect to pay between 15 and 35 euros for a SlimPort or MHL signal converter. This makes it a bit more expensive than using a tablet with an HDMI port, but especially MHL is supported by many telephone and tablet manufacturers.
There have been several versions of MHL: we are currently at version three, which raises the maximum resolution to 4K . This is the same as SlimPort, and means that both standards offer very similar technical specifications. An advantage of MHL is the broad support of TV manufacturers: look at the back of your TV, and if the HDMI port has an MHL logo above it, you can use an HDMI to microUSB cable to connect the two – the HDMI cable supplies power to your tablet or telephone, so you do not need extra adapters or cables.
If your TV does not support MHL, or if you have a SlimPort device, you will need an adapter. SlimPort users can expect to have to spend around 20 euros, while MHL users have to pay a little less. If you use MHL, chances are that you will need an external power source: MHL 3 can use up to 10 watts of the host device.
SlimPort has the advantage here: no external power source is required, which makes the setup less messy. However, both devices require that the screen of the tablet is on, so breakout boxes usually have a microUSB port so you can use a charger.
The support for MHL and SlimPort varies enormously. Because there are three different versions of MHL, plus SlimPort, you must check the specifications of your device before purchasing an adapter. The Microsoft Surface and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 support MHL, while the Google Nexus 5 supports SlimPort.
Apple users have it easier: although the iPad is technically compatible with DisplayPort, you can only connect it to a screen with Apple’s own cables. The disadvantage is the price: You have to pay almost 50 euros for an HDMI adapter that you can connect to the Lightning connector of an iPad (for older iPads, a 30-pin version is available).
It is great to beam video directly from a tablet to your TV. The good thing about Android is that there are several ways to do this. Miracast is a wireless standard that creates an ad hoc network between two devices, usually your tablet and a set-top box that supports this Micracast.
An increasing number of TVs supports Micracast without the need for additional hardware. Miracast uses H.264 for video transmission, which means efficient compression and good full-HD image quality. Better yet, Miracast supports Digital Rights Management (DRM), which means that services such as iPlayer and YouTube can be streamed to a TV. But not all services work. Android devices with Android 4.2 have Miracast support.
An alternative is Google’s Chromecast. You can plug this cheap dongle into an unused HDMI port of your TV, and it connects to your wireless network. Chromecast support is becoming more ubiquitous, allowing content from services such as iPlayer, Netflix, etc. to be played with the Chromecast while the dongle does all the work instead of your tablet, and that’s good news for your battery life.
Since July 2014, it is also possible to use Chromecast to mirror the display on your Android device, so that you can press Play on your tablet and (DRM-free) video is played on your TV. The same applies to everything that the screen can display, including apps, games, and photos.
Apple users again have a simpler but more expensive solution. The iPad and iPhone do not support any open streaming standard, so you will have to purchase an Apple TV (around 95 euros). This supports AirPlay mirroring, exclusively from iOS devices, and like Chromecast, it offers various streaming services including Netflix.
Which devices support Chromecast mirroring?
Mirroring on Chromecast is new, and the list of devices that support it is currently limited. Do you have one of the following devices? Then you are lucky.
– Nexus 4
– Nexus 5
– Nexus 7 (2013)
– Nexus 10
– Samsung Galaxy S4
– Samsung Galaxy S5
– Samsung Galaxy Note 3
– Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (2014)
– HTC One M7
– LG G Pro2
– LG G2
– LG G3
Make it work
Streaming video from your smartphone or tablet to your TV will depend on the setup you have chosen. If you use a physical connection such as HDMI, MHL or SlimPort, the content on the display of your tablet will simply appear on your TV once everything is connected.
This is simple, but it has a number of disadvantages. Your tablet only sends a signal when the screen is on. This means that your battery drains quickly, so there is a good chance that you will have to plug the charger in to ensure that it does not stop during the show.
If you have tablet video that you have supplied yourself, in the form of DRM-free files, you can use excellent mirroring, and the same applies to commercial services such as Netflix, ITV Player and iPlayer. But it’s not all rosy. Content providers know that consumers will pay extra for the convenience of streaming TV series throughout the house.
If you go wireless, Miracast is currently the best option for display mirroring, as it simply transmits the content on the screen of your Android device wirelessly. So when you open a photo on the screen of your tablet, it appears on your TV – just like with a physical connection such as HDMI. The same goes for many apps: BBC’s iPlayer, YouTube and Vimeo all work via Miracast.
The disadvantage of Miracast is the same as with a cable connection: the screen of your tablet must be on all the time for it to work. That, in combination with higher requirements for the wireless radio of your device (especially if you are simultaneously streaming from the internet), can cause you to have much shorter battery life.