Why huddle around a Smartphone to watch videos when you can screen cast it on your TV? Smart TVs these days, come with built-in Chromecast. This lets you cast your favourite movies or shows on the TV screen without draining your Smartphone battery.
If you’re new to screen casting and have no idea what this is about, then check out my detailed guide below.
Drop a comment in case you have any doubt.
‘Screen casting to the TV’ what does it mean?
Screen casting is sending content (like a video or image) from a source device (Smartphone, Laptop etc.) on to a target device (like a TV).
When you screen cast something (let’s say a video) the source device sends a link to the TV, just like sending a video link on WhatsApp.
The TV then directly plays the video (from the link you sent from your Smartphone) while you can continue doing other things on your Smartphone.
However, screen casting is only possible when both devices are connected to the same internet network.
Screen casting is however, often confused with screen mirroring because of its similar function.
There is a significant difference in both.
How is screen casting different from screen mirroring?
In screen mirroring entire screen of your source device is mirrored or mimicked on the TV screen.
So, everything you click, type, or select, gets mirrored on the TV.
This also means your phone (or any other source device) is tied down for the duration of the screen mirroring.
And since you always have to keep your phone on and running, this eats into the phone’s battery.
You also cannot do other tasks like sending a message. Otherwise the video you’re playing gets interrupted to reflect the same on the TV screen.
In screen casting, on the other hand, you ‘send’ the content you want to watch on the TV through dedicated Apps on your Smartphone.
You’re free to do other things on your phone, while the TV shows you the casted content.
Whether a video can be screen casted or not can be identified with the Chromecast symbol in the video or App settings.
This is useful if your TV comes with an in-built Chromecast.
How to Screen cast to your smart TV?
Google Chromecast is still sold separately which can be attached externally to your TV to start casting stuff.
This means adding another load of extra cables and device to your TV.
However, the newer smart TVs launched in 2018 or 2019, decided to skip this mess by giving Chromecast built in to the TV!
Here’s a step-by-step process on how to do screen casting on a TV with built-in Chromecast.
Connect your smart TV and your source device (e.g. Smartphone) to the same internet connection (or Wi-Fi network).
Open any Chromecast supported Apps on your Smartphone.
(The built-in Chromecast supports many Apps across various categories like TV & Movies, Games, Sports, Music, Photos & Videos and many more.)
YouTube, Chrome, Netflix, Facebook, prime video, etc. are some of the popular Chromecast supported Apps for TV.
Click here to find out other Chromecast supported Apps for screen casting to TV.
Let’s say you open YouTube on your Smartphone.
Scroll or search through the list to find the video you like.
Click on the video.
Once the video starts playing in the App, look for the Chromecast symbol in the settings bar of the video and click on it.
A pop-up gives you a list of devices you can screen cast that video to. Select your TV from the list to cast the video’s link to the TV.
The video starts playing on the TV screen.
You can control the volume, playback etc. from your Smartphone itself.
Click on the same Chromecast symbol again, to stop casting.
(Note: The process for screen casting can vary slightly from App to App. But the use of the Chromecast symbol remains the main step in all cases.)
Pros and Cons of Screen Casting
- Very easy to use and connect
- No extra cables or devices needed
- Does not tie down your source device (unlike screen mirroring).
You can use your Smartphone or Laptop for other tasks while the content plays on the TV screen.
- Does not affect the battery of your source device
- No separate remote control needed. (The source device or the TV remote does the job without any extra remote control.)
- Connectivity can be erratic especially if the source device and the TV are not from the same brand. (Works more reliably if both your Smartphone and TV are from the same manufacturer e.g. Xiaomi).
- Not all Apps can be screen casted. (However most popular ones can be screen casted and this list gets updated periodically).
Alternatives to Screen casting
As explained earlier, scree mirroring copies everything you see on the screen of your source device (Smartphone, tablet etc.)
If you want to use your TV like a larger Smartphone screen, then screen mirroring will suit your needs.
You can read documents, check emails, watch a video, play games or send a WhatsApp message using the TV as your screen and phone as your joystick or keypad or remote control.
- Display Dongles
By plugging in an external display dongle, you can turn your non-smart TV into a smart one.
Display dongles support screen mirroring/ casting as long as both the source and the dongle are connected to the same internet connection.
Display dongles however, can add extra wiry mess to your TV set up. And can be a hassle if your TV has limited HDMI ports that are already occupied.
- Third party Apps
You can also download third party Apps on your Smartphone for screen mirroring.
These Apps work with a variety of display dongles to enhance your mirroring options and experience.