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Smart phones these days are really just mini computers because of how powerful they are and everything that they can do. I know of one person, for example that runs a home based Internet business just from her phone (and that includes blogging), plus she uses it as her primary entertainment system. More than just her main radio and TV, it is also her gaming device, still and video cameras, clock, stop watch, alarm clock, and well, with the plethora of apps available you know where this is going.

Now, despite the numerous and increasingly amazing things you can do with just one small gadget that costs less than $500 in most cases, or free with a service commitment, for them to be mobile and act as a phone which is there primary function usually, the device itself and therefore the screen size, must remain small. That is, small in relation to the standard TV sets (and laptop screens) of today.


Mirroring a screen from one device to another is pretty simple

Mirroring the screen of a modern laptop desktop computer to a modern TV set is very simple. In most cases you just plugin in one side of an HDMI cable to the computer and one side into the TV. With a modern Operating System installed it will figure out right away what you are doing and behave accordingly. The default behaviour in most cases is not to extend the computer screen, but to mirror it. This has been a standard way for my family and I to enjoy Netflix for some time on the TV that lacks the apps and other plugged in gadgets. The TV screen essentially acts as a larger monitor.

Well, the same can be done with some of the modern cell phones using MHL technology. The new Galaxy S4 is a perfect example. While it does have a "large" screen at 5 inches with a great display (1080p HD) when comparing it against other phones, it still may not be big enough for some tasks. And when a giant TV is nearby that is sporting an HDMI connection, why not opt for a larger screen?

Using an MHL adapter is a simple way of sharing a phone's screen to to the TV

Connecting a phone to a TV is similar to connecting a PC to a TV but rather than HDMI to HDMI, it is MHL to HDMI, so an adapter is required. Fortunately even the brand named ones are cheap enough at around $30 or less. Some of the no-namers can be scooped up for $10 a piece or less. Check Amazon and eBay, I just saw one for $7.00. The adapters will be specific to your phone so be sure to check device compatibility.

The MHL side of the adapter will fit into the micro-USB port on the phone. From there there may be a female port for an HDMI cable or an actual HDMI cable, depending on the adapter you get. Some will also have a USB cable so the adapter can get power. Other adapters may power in different ways.

The point of all this is to mirror exactly what is on the screen of the phone onto the TV set, but much much larger (dependent on the size of the TV naturally). And since we already know the plethora of activities that can be done on the phone, since it is essentially a small computer, arguably with better apps, then we know how this can change the way we consume entertainment.

The phone is a mobile set-top box

The phone can then become a set-top box that brings entertainment to the TV set. And since it is connected with HDMI, it brings both audio and video through the cable. The phone stays powered with the source of power the MHL adapter is getting. And since the phone likely has Internet connectivity, either through the home's WiFi, or through a mobile data plan, then we can pull in content from "the cloud." The phone can also be setup to access local content drives and servers.

Suddenly there seems little need for a SMART TV for the budget-minded doesn't there? The phone is the remote control, plus the music, photo, video and overall Internet portal. With a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse set up, and a couple streaming TV subscriptions (or free apps) you might just have the ultimate home entertainment system that is just an MHL adapter away.

Note: You may have to change the Audio Output setting from Stereo to Surround for better quality audio when connecting a phone to the home theater system.

Also worth mentioning is that select phones accompanied by compatible devices offer wireless screen sharing. AllShare Cast is a technology that can make that happen.
 

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wow. That is amazing. With all the things the phone does, it is indeed a majic box of electronic wonder! :)

Good article. I have to try that cable and check it out.
 

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Is anyone aware of any tech that can do the reverse - stream output from your system to a phone or tablet? For example, I'd like to be able to call up the on screen menu from my receiver without having to turn on the projector.

Thanks,
sga2
 

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Is anyone aware of any tech that can do the reverse - stream output from your system to a phone or tablet? For example, I'd like to be able to call up the on screen menu from my receiver without having to turn on the projector.

Thanks,
sga2
you'd be looking for tech to take a video signal from a receiver into a phone/tablet. i'm not aware of any phone/tablet which has a video in; so no joy on the simple interface. there may be a solution where you could use a tuner card as an input into a pc then connect the phone/tablet to the pc with the tuner card; but sounds like a big pain in the tail
 

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I just bought a Samsung Smart TV, my daughter downloaded an app that turned her I-Phone into a remote for the TV (my wife is tech challenged, my daughter wanted a laugh...while she was trying to use the TV...my daughter kept turning off the TV while my wife was trying to figure it out :rofl:)

I'll have to see what king of functionality the app provides or if it's just a simple remote.
 
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