How to Watch Movies from Phone on TV Without HDMI

How to Watch Movies from Phone on TV Without HDMI

A few days back, the WiFi connection was down so I couldn’t access Roku on my old LG LED TV. I just recalled that I had a few movies downloaded on my phone and decided to watch one on my TV. I thought of connecting my phone to the TV but didn’t have a USB-HDMI adapter or cable available. 

As I had a Roku device connected to the TV, I never tried to share my phone screen on it through an HDMI cable. Now, however, I needed a way to watch movies from my phone on the TV without using an HDMI cable. Naturally, I started going through solution articles and forums to find a way out. 

After about half an hour of scrolling through some relevant discussion threads, I could only find suggestions for getting a new USB-HDMI adapter to connect my phone to the TV. 

Fortunately, I found the best way to watch movies from phone on the TV and also figured a way to share the phone screen wirelessly on older TVs. Here’s how: 

To watch movies from your phone on TV without an HDMI cable, tap on the “cast” icon in the top right corner while streaming a movie. Select your TV from the available device list and start casting. 

Use Screencasting

Screencasting allows watching videos, movies, shows, or other content directly from your phone to the TV. Casting ensures high-quality streaming without any lags or delays that may interrupt streaming, making it a highly reliable alternative to HDMI cable. 

While an HDMI cable restricts the use of the source device (smartphone in this case) for other purposes, screencasting allows you to perform other tasks even while the casting is enabled. Unlike screen mirroring that replicates your phone screen to the TV, screencasting provides a smoother, high-quality streaming experience. 

It’s likely that your Smart TV would have built-in Chromecast that enables screencasting on popular streaming apps including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, HBO Max, etc. However, in case your TV doesn’t support casting, it can still be enabled via streaming devices such as Google Chromecast and Roku. 

Here’s how to cast your phone screen to the TV:

  • Firstly, ensure that your phone and Smart TV you’re using to cast are on the same WiFi network as your Chromecast, Roku device, or TV with Chromecast built-in 
  • Launch the app and start streaming the movie on your phone 
  • On the playback screen, tap on the Cast icon, usually available on the top right corner of the screen
  • Tap the device you’d like to cast to from the available device list
  • When you’re connected, the Cast button will turn solid, letting you know you’re connected
  • You can now cast videos, movies, and TV shows directly to your TV
  • To stop casting, tap the Cast button and click on Disconnect 

Note that the screencasting process is almost similar to Android devices for iOS devices as well. However, for screencasting to support, your TV or streaming device must be enabled with AirPlay 2 support. You may also need to enable Apple AirPlay from the device settings before you can start casting. 

You can also check the list of TVs and devices enabled with Apple AirPlay 2 on the official Apple website. For some apps, the AirPlay cast icon might appear on the lower left corner of the playback screen. 

Use Screen Mirroring  

A better alternative to HDMI connection for watching movies from your phone to TV is using the screen mirroring feature available on your TV or smartphone. Screen mirroring allows you to mirror or replicate your phone screen to the TV. Screen mirroring is the best alternative to screencasting for apps that may not have a built-in cast button available. 

In other words, screen mirroring doesn’t have to depend on an app’s ability to cast content to the TV. Screen mirroring has been available since Android 5.0 in almost all popular smartphones and has developed for a smoother and better mirroring experience. 

Every smartphone has a proprietary app to serve the screen mirroring purpose. For example, Samsung devices are equipped with the Smart View feature that allows screen sharing when both TV and device are connected to the same WiFi network. 

Here’s how to mirror your smartphone to the TV:

  • Make sure that your TV and smartphone are connected to the same network connection
  • Now, from the notification bar or Settings of your phone, enable the default screen mirroring feature (Smart View, Screencast, etc. depending on your smartphone brand) 
  • Wait for your TV name to appear on the available device list and tap on it
  • You may require a code or have to select Allow option to provide permission to your TV to start mirroring
  • Your phone screen should start coming up on the TV
  • Now, play any movie on your phone and start watching it on the TV

Screen Mirroring for iOS devices:

  • Connect your iPhone or iPad to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV, AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV 
  • Open the Control Center:
    • For iPhone X or later or iPad with iPad OS 13 or later: Swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen
    • For iPhone 8 or earlier or iOS 11 or earlier: Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen
  • Tap on the Screen Mirroring icon 
  • Select your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible Smart TV from the device list 
  • If an AirPlay passcode appears on your TV screen, enter the passcode on your iOS device

In case your smartphone’s default screen mirroring app is not working or if you don’t have a WiFi connection, here are the two alternative ways to mirror your phone screen to the TV- Using the Google Home app and using Miracast on your TV.  

Use the Google Home app 

If your TV has Chromecast built-in or you’ve got a Chromecast device connected to it, you can easily cast your phone screen via the Google Home app. This can work best if you’ve got a movie downloaded or saved on your phone and you want to watch it on the big screen. 

  • First, make sure that your smartphone and Smart TV or Chromecast device are connected to the same WiFi network
  • Open the Google Home app
  • Now, touch and select the device or TV you want to cast the screen to
  • Tap on Cast and select Cast Screen
  • Go to the saved/downloaded movie and open it to start watching on the TV 

Use Miracast on your TV 

In case you don’t have a WiFi connection available, you can also use the default screen mirroring feature (usually known as Miracast) to start mirroring without having to connect to an external WiFi network. 

Most modern Smart TVs have a default screen mirroring app that works on the WiFi Direct technology and allows your phone to directly connect to the TV. Based on the TV model, the screen mirroring feature names may differ such as SmartShare, Screen Mirroring, Miracast, etc. 

To start mirroring via Miracast: 

  • Search for the Miracast app on your Smart TV apps list and launch it 
  • Launch the screen mirroring app based on your TV model 
  • Now open the default screen mirroring feature on your phone such as Smart View for Samsung smartphones
  • Wait for it to search and show your TV’s name in the available device list
  • As the name appears, tap on it and wait for your phone to connect to your TV
  • Once the connection is successful, your phone’s screen should directly start coming up on your TV
  • Finally, play the movie on your phone and start watching

Bonus Tip: Enable Miracast on Your Older TV 

Assuming that you’re using an old HDTV or your Smart TV doesn’t have a pre-installed Miracast feature, I’d highly recommend getting a Wireless Display Adapter to cast your Phone to the TV without WiFi. The adapter enables your TV with Miracast technology and allows you to cast your phone/tablet directly to the TV. 

A wireless screen mirroring adapter is most useful for older TVs that don’t support WiFi Direct technology, allowing users to watch movies directly on their TV screen via screen mirroring. 

Here’s how to connect your phone to TV via an External Display Adapter:

  • Plug the adapter into an HDMI port of your TV
  • Now simply open the default screen mirroring feature of your smartphone. Note that the name of this feature may vary based on your smartphone manufacturer. Some examples are Smart View, Screencast, SmartShare, etc. 
  • Find the wireless display name in the list of available devices and tap on it
  • Once the connection is successful, your phone screen should start coming up on the TV 

Watch Movies On the Big Screen 

There are several reasons why people don’t opt for an HDMI connection to watch movies from their phone on the TV. These include cable clutter, misplaced or broken HDMI cables, restricted mobility due to wired connection, etc. 

The best option to watch movies on the big screen of your TV from your phone without using an HDMI cable is by enabling Screencasting. This feature quickly connects your phone to the TV wirelessly and also allows you to use the phone even while the casting is enabled. 

Note that the casting feature would only work if your TV has Chromecast built-in or if you’ve got streaming devices like Google Chromecast or Roku plugged into your TV. Additionally, your TV must be AirPlay 2-enabled if you want to cast your iOS device to the TV. 

The screen mirroring feature replicates your phone screen directly onto the TV. This feature is useful in case screencasting is not supported or you want to watch downloaded or saved movies from your phone on the TV. 

If you don’t have access to WiFi, the best alternative to start screen mirroring is by using the Miracast app available on your TV. In case the default screen mirroring feature on your TV isn’t working and your TV has Chromecast built-in, download and install the Google Home app to start mirroring. 

To enable Miracast on older TVs, buy a Wireless Display Adapter that allows screen mirroring for both Android and iOS devices. The adapter offers a direct connection between your phone and TV without the requirement of an external WiFi network. For comparatively older HDTVs, this device is the best option to wirelessly start mirroring the phone screen and start watching movies on the TV. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

How do I connect my phone to the TV without HDMI? 

You can easily connect your phone to your TV without HDMI and start streaming your favorite content if your TV has Chromecast built-in. If not, you may need to go for a streaming device that supports screencasting such as Chromecast or Roku. However, if you want to watch content saved on your phone, you may need to turn on the default screen mirroring feature to start sharing your phone screen with the TV. Note that this requires your phone and TV to be connected to the same WiFi network similar to if you’re casting to the TV screen. 

How do I know if my Smart TV or device is Apple AirPlay compatible?  

The easiest way to check if your Smart TV is enabled with Apple AirPlay-2 support is just by turning on the screen mirroring option in the Control Center of your iOS device. If the TV name appears on the available device list, then your TV supports AirPlay and you can use it for screen mirroring or casting your favorite movies or shows on the TV. You may need to enable the AirPlay option by going to the device or TV settings before you can start casting or mirroring your iPhone screen to the TV. You can also check the list of AirPlay 2-enabled devices by visiting the official Apple website. 

Is there any way to connect my phone to the TV without WiFi and HDMI cable? 

If you don’t have an HDMI cable or WiFI connection available, you can still share your phone screen to the TV by using a Wireless Display Adapter. The adapter enables Miracast technology on your TV and works on the WiFi Direct technology that doesn’t require you to connect both devices to an external WiFi connection. This device is very useful in case you have an older TV or if your TV doesn’t have the Miracast feature pre-installed. 

Does screen mirroring requires a Bluetooth connection?

Though Bluetooth connection is still widely used to connect wireless audio devices or external speakers to the phone or TV, it’s not used during screen mirroring. Screen mirroring is typically based on a WiFi connection, WiFi direct technology, or a wired connection such as an HDMI cable. Every popular smartphone is equipped with a default screen mirroring feature that can be used to share the phone screen to the TV if both devices are connected to the same network connection. Screen mirroring works even if the Bluetooth on both devices is turned off. 

About the author

Maria Chan, or MC, as we call her, is the genius girl-boss who gave up on her cushy silicon-valley job to grind it out with us. Her undying pursuit of wanting Zeebox to the best makes it very clear that she has no interest in running a generic tech-site.

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