How Do I Stream My Android Phone To An Older TV?

You should never feel limited to the small screen on the tiny phone in your pocket — or gargantuan phone, depending on your preference for “plus” devices. It’s pretty easy to push whatever you’re looking at on your phone at to a larger screen, like your living-room television. At least, it should be.

In this week’s Ask Lifehacker column, Edward writes:

“Hey David, how is it going? I’m experiencing a tech problem. Probably you got the solution.

So I want to mirror the screen of my Android phone to my TV. The problem is that my phone has micro-usb port and my TV only accepts RCA input. Is it possible to connect them to mirror?”

Hi! Here’s the short answer to this question: No. At least, you won’t be able to do this with the devices currently in your possession: a phone and a TV. You’re going to need more equipment to make this happen, and it’s a process that isn’t guaranteed to give you great (or working) results. Whether it’s your device, the adaptor, or your TV, something might mess up along the way—fair warning. (Save those receipts!)

I don’t have the various cables and adapters on hand to try out, so I’m shooting a little from the hip with this answer. Based on my research, I believe you’ll need the following:

  • A micro-USB to HDMI cable

  • An HDMI to composite converter

  • RCA cables

The entire process looks like this—and, yes, the presenter is showing how to mirror an Android’s screen to a car display, but the principle is the same:

Another option you might want to consider as a reasonable long-term solution is a combination of an adaptor and a Chromecast. Hear me out. While it might cost you a bit more up front, grabbing an adaptor like this and pairing it with a reasonably powerful Chromecast will at least give you a device that will also benefit your life if you ever decide to upgrade your television.

Sure, you won’t need the adaptor anymore, but you won’t have also invested in any extra cables beyond what it comes with. And then there’s the convenience factor: I don’t think you’re going to want to have to buy a gigantic micro-USB to HDMI cable, and then deal with the annoyance of stringing that from your TV to your coffee table—or whatever your setup happens to be—each time you want to cast the screen of your Android device.

A Chromecast is also infinitely more useful to have around than a simple cable for any other streaming you might want to do that isn’t just mirroring your device’s screen. You’ll be able to use it to do some Google-y gaming, if you want, and it’s super-easy to move from TV to TV (or a receiver, or a computer monitor, et cetera) for whatever purposes you want.

That’s the route I’d go, were I trying to mirror my Android to an old-school television. It’s not elegant—adapters never are—but it at least gives you a good, future-proofed device that you can use in a larger variety of situations. Also, it prevents you from having to mess with a rat’s nest of cables, and it isolates potential problems to just a single device (the adaptor).

Let me know if this, or the other, lesser solution, works out for you. If not, Black Friday television sales aren’t that far away, you know...


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