Casting is a convenient way to get content from your various media devices to your TV without the need to connect things up with messy cables. When functioning correctly, getting that funny cat video you just found on your phone up onto the big TV for the rest of your family or friends to enjoy will be little more than a few touches away.
Chromecast is a very popular way of achieving this since it adds casting capability to any television with an HDMI port which, these days, is all of them. However, not everyone wants to buy a Chromecast, so are there ways to get the same result without this extra bit of kit?
There are a few methods to achieve Android cast screen to the TV without Chromecast help, but the most universally effective is to connect your phone directly to your television with an HDMI cable. Other methods include:
- Native casting(Most recommended!)
- Screen mirroring apps(Pretty convenient and free option)
- Streaming devices(Cost about as much as Chromecast, overall a good alternative)
- Miracast(Good for Android casting, but doesn’t support iPhone)
- AnyCast(Very similar to Chromecast, but cast both Android and iOS)
- HDMI cable(Very cheap option)
- MHL cable(Best option for casting an older Android phone to an older non-smart TV)
We’ll take you through these other methods, of course, but the unavoidable reality is that the most surefire way of getting the contents of your Android or iPhone screen onto your television is to use some of those messy wires we mentioned above.
Native Casting over WiFi
The first (and best) way to cast to a TV without a Chromecast involves using your TV’s native casting ability to cast directly to the TV without the need for an intermediary device. Of course, this method relies on your TV having a native casting ability.
Many smart TVs these days have the functionality built-in, meaning you don’t need to buy a Chromecast or any other device to get things working. Depending on your TV, you may have to enable this functionality in your settings, but you will have to refer to your specific television’s instructions since there are so many different models of TV out there, and we couldn’t realistically cover them all in this post. Here is how you do it:
- Once you have established that your TV can handle native casting, and you have made sure it is enabled,
- casting is as simple as hitting the cast button on your Android or iPhone(that’s the icon that looks like a little screen with a WiFi symbol over it)
- and finding your TV in the list of available devices.
- And that’s it-you should be casting natively!
Screen Mirroring Apps
Screen mirroring only applies to smart TVs with screen mirroring protocols built-in, or with an app ecosystem where you can download a mirroring app onto your TV. Essentially, screen mirroring is a type of casting that doesn’t necessarily use the common casting protocols. It will typically cast your phone’s whole screen rather than just the content you are watching at the time, but that shouldn’t be a problem as you can just go fullscreen with your videos.
Once you have screen mirroring enabled on your television, you will need an app on your phone to send the contents of your screen to the television. There are many options out there, but they will most likely all be using the Miracast standard. There’s no trick to choosing the best one here-just look at the reviews and see how the app has performed for other people.
- Once you’re all set up, the process of mirroring your screen is much the same as it is for casting.
- Find the screen mirroring button, hit it,
- and find your TV in the list of available devices.
Chromecast is a very specialist device in that its sole purpose is casting content to a display with an HDMI input. If you are looking at this article because you don’t see such a narrow use-case device as being worthwhile, but you are prepared to spend money on a device to get this kind of capability, then you could look at some streaming device alternatives.
Much like Chromecast(29.99$), many of these devices are small and plug straight into the HDMI ports of your television, though they may also come in the form of a set-top box. Examples of this include;
- Amazon Firestick(29.99$)
There are other less-known alternatives, as well as unbranded and regional options.
- For the most part, the process of using one to cast to your TV is the same.
- You may have to enable the casting functionality in the settings of your streaming device, but after that, you simply hit cast on your Android phone or iPhone and search for your streaming device.
Miracast and AnyCast
The Miracast(40.00$) and Anycast(19.00$) devices are remarkably similar to the Chromecast in design and functionality, and they operate in the same way. Depending on your device, you may need to install an app on your phone in order to connect, but the apps are free, and many phones have the functionality built-in to the OS.
For most modern phones, it is possible to buy an adaptor that allows your phone to output to a regular HDMI cable. Granted, this is not “casting,” but it achieves the same effect and can be used on televisions that don’t support casting or screen mirroring without the need to buy a special device to receive the casting signal.
The process of doing this is extremely simple, though your phone will need to be close enough to the television to reach the HDMI ports. This can usually be mitigated by buying a longer HDMI cable.
Simply connect the adaptor to your phone, connect it up to your television, and switch your TVs input to the port that your phone is connected to.
MHL is a wired standard for connecting Android phones to a television via HDMI. It is supported by many Android phones and may be the best option for people who are trying to cast an older Android phone to an older non-smart TV.
The MHL standard allows for power to be transmitted through the cable as well as the display signal. You will usually need to buy a separate micro USB to HDMI cable, however.
Frequently Asked Questions
That was a lot to absorb, and we understand that sometimes you just want a short answer to a specific question, so we’ve put together a little Q&A section with some of the most common questions around casting from Android phones without a Chromecast.
How do I cast from my Android to my TV?
Casting to your TV from Android phone can be done in a variety of ways. If your TV supports native casting, simply ensure it is enabled, hit cast on your phone, and find your TV. If your TV doesn’t support native casting, there is a range of inexpensive devices that can add this functionality, such as Miracast, AnyCast, and Chromecast. If your phone doesn’t support casting, there are wired solutions available that connect your phone directly to the TVs HDMI port.
How do I cast my Android screen to a non-smart TV?
For non-smart TVs or TVs that do not have native casting ability, you will need an external device, such as Chromecast, AnyCast, or Miracast.
How do I mirror my phone to a non-smart TV?
Non-smart TVs-and smart TVs that do not have native support for screen mirroring-you can use an external device such as AnyCast or Miracast or connect your phone directly with a wired solution, such as an HDMI adaptor for your phone.
What is the difference between Chromecast and Miracast?
The most obvious difference is that Chromecast is a device, whereas Miracast is a protocol. Moreover, Miracast mirrors whatever is on your screen at the time, whereas Chromecast acts as a kind of syncing agent, leaving your TV or streaming device to pull the content directly from the Internet. Chromecasts can generally provide a better media-watching experience due to less latency but are far more limited than a screen mirroring device.
Can you cast without WiFi?
Technically speaking, you cannot “cast” without WiFi, since the protocols involved are wireless protocols. However, the effect of connecting your phone to an external display via a wired solution is the same as screen mirroring, and will often be smoother since there will be less latency over a wired connection.
Casting is an excellent way to extend the functionality of your television, as well as add a layer of convenience to it. When casting content, the device you are casting from almost acts as a remote control, allowing you to pause, skip, and change videos as you see fit.
Screen mirroring, on the other hand, allows you to project your device’s entire screen to the display you are casting to. This can be used to play media in the same way you would use a regular screencast; however, it is also useful for things like presentations, where you can interact with the contents of the screen while others watch what you are doing on the display you are mirroring to.
For watching media content alone, casting is a less compelling option. This is because there are so many streaming devices on the market, and they are getting smoother and easier to use with every iteration. But if you have a TV that supports native casting, or you don’t want to spend the extra money on a streaming device (they are typically at least twice the price of a casting device), then screencasting is an excellent way to turn your TV into an internet-enabled media device.
My name is Mark, I am a new chief editor of this blog, freelance writer, entrepreneur, and simply a technology lover. Currently a proud owner of a Google Pixel 4a.