Connecting your Android phone to TV using AV cable is actually the old way of mirroring your phone to a television. With the availability of smart TVs, you can connect it wirelessly, however, most users experience lagging.
The two common ways to connect your Android phone to TV using AV cable are — “Slimport” and “MHL”. In this article, we will talk about these two methods of connection. We will cover every aspect of it that you need to know about, so that when purchasing, you’ll know what to get, and after purchase, you will know how to set it up seamlessly.
However, we will first talk about HDMI, because this is the technology that makes it possible to connect your Android phone to your TV.
What is HDMI
HDMI is the acronym of the High Definition Multimedia Interface. It was initially developed in the early 2000s, to improve the overall functionality and convenience of transmitting HDTV signals.
Before the development of HDMI, the basic method of connection was either component video or DVI. The former transfers HD signals, however, it requires the routing of up to five different cables if you want video and audio to be transferred at the same time. The latter is a video-only conductor, and it’s much preferable to use it on computer monitors.
However, it wasn’t until 2002 that the HDMI range of cables and connectors were launched and commercially available. Still, component video and DVU were still widely used more than HDMI. It took about 3-5 years later for HDMI components to become popular. Now it is the default option used in signal transfer because it allows the carrying of high-quality audio-visual signals, due to the release of newer versions with improved functionality.
Since HDML was launched in 2002, there have been some revisions. Each of these revisions improved the performance and functionality of HDMI. Below is a list of the revisions and the year it was released.
HDMI 1.0 (2002)
HDMI 1.1 (2004)
HDMI 1.2 (2004)
HDMI 1.2a (2005)
HDMI 1.3 (2006)
HDMI 1.4 (2009)
HDMI 1.4a (2010)
HDMI 1.4b (2011)
HDMI 2.0 (2013)
HDMI 2.0a (2015)
HDMI 2.0b (2016)
HDMI 2.1 (2017)
Types of HDMI connectors
There are five types of HDMI connectors – Type A, B, C, D, and E. The most common type of HDMI connector is the ‘type A’. It was launched as the initial standard HDMI connector, and it is the type you will see on your TV. The other types exist for different applications.
HDMI connectors and the HDMI adapter are the ones that enable the high transferring speed of AV signals bandwidth, and other associated capabilities of HDMI.
• HDML type A connector
This is one of the widely used HDMI connectors. You will find it on most televisions, AV equipment, DVD players, game consoles, recorders, and so on.
The male (plug) connector of this HDML type has an outside dimension of 13.9 mm × 4.45 mm, while the female (receptacle) connector has 14 mm × 4.55 mm inside dimensions.
It has 19 pins, and its bandwidth can go with all SDTV, EDTV, HDTV, UHD, 4k modes. It is also electrically compatible with the single-link DVI-D.
• HDMI type B connector
This HDMI connector carries a dual-link DVD-I video unlike the ‘type A’ that only carries single-link DVI-D. However, it has never been used in products before because the introduction of HDMI 1.3 made the single link much faster.
Moreover, its connector is larger than that of the single link, and this makes it unfavorable to use. However, it is mentioned when specifications of HDMI connectors are talked about, so we too have to include it even though you won’t come across it when connecting your Android phone to the TV.
The HDMI type B connector has 29 pins and measures 21.2 mm × 4.45 mm.
• HDMI type C connector (mini)
This HDMI connector type is also known as a mini HDMI connector. It is smaller than the type A connector. It measures 10.42 mm × 2.42 mm, however it has 19 pins configuration just like the type A connector. It also retains all the type A functionality; the only thing that makes it different is its size.
This connector type was released because of the introduction of HDMI Version 1.3 which became the standard HDMI and was widely used. Also, the need for a smaller connector is another reason that gave birth to the HDMI type C connector.
You can connect the type C connector to the type A connector. The only thing you will need is a type A-to-type C adapter or cable.
This connector type is mostly found on portable devices, such as camcorders, sat nav systems, DSLR cameras, and so on.
• HDMI type D connector (micro)
This connector type is popularly called micro HDMI connector because its connector size is similar to the micro USB.
It has a measurement of 6.4 mm × 2.8 mm. Just like the type A and type C connector, it also retains the 19 pin configuration. However, its pin assignment is different from the other types of connectors.
This connector type was released during the time HDMI Version 1.4 was also introduced. It was developed to be used for audio-video connectivity in portable devices such as mobile phones.
• HDMI type E connector (in-vehicle use)
This connection type was designed for automotive applications. It was also introduced when the HDMI Version 1.4 came into existence.
This connector type comes with special designs. It has a locking tab that prevents it from loosing, and it has a shell that prevents moisture and dirt from entering. Also, there is a relay connector you can use to connect it to standard consumer cables.
The HDMI types you will most likely come across when connecting your Android phone to TV is the type A, type C, and type D.
Female and male HDMI connectors
The female connector is the source of power, audio, data, and so on, while the male connector takes power, audio, data, and so on. One of the reasons why the female connector is different from the male connector is because the pins of the former are protected, so they cannot suffer a short circuit. Nevertheless, lots of modern connectors have protected male connectors, so there is a low chance of short circuits in both.
Also, another feature of female HDMI connectors is that you will find them in static devices at both ends of the connection. In other words, you will find female connectors on the signal source (TV) and also on the receiving device (Android phone). While on the other hand, male HDMI connectors are found on both ends of the connecting HDMI cable.
Part of the reason why female HDMI connectors are on static devices is that most of the communications occur in both directions. Even though one of the ends of the female connector is the signal source, nevertheless, the receiving device also sends signals out and other data too.
However, since the female HDMI connectors are built into the body of both the television and your Android phone, this tends to make it more prone to damage, because of the strain that is sometimes applied when the cables are plugged the wrong way. This is why female connectors are usually sold more frequently and are termed replacement connectors.
When the male HDMI connectors are damaged, you don’t need any replacement. It is much easier and cheaper to buy a new cable instead.
HDMI connector adapter
There are lots of cables that allow you to connect HDMI type A connectors with the mini or micro HDMI connectors. These cables are widely used so you can easily get them. Once you’ve gotten these cables, you will be able to get the full HDMI capability.
Either you are using MHL or Slimport to connect your Android phone to TV, an AV converter is a device you must have.
What is MHL
Some electronics companies, including Nokia and Sony, developed the MHL connection protocol in 2010. It’s known briefly as Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). This connection protocol makes use of a distinct type of HDMI input, which is compatible with A/V receivers and TVs so as to connect tablets, smartphones, and several other devices.
This connection protocol improves how you view contents, by allowing you to view everything that is showing on your TV through your phone, and the best part is that only a single connection is required.
Note: make sure you ascertain that your TV has an MHL-enabled HDMI port. This port is usually labeled “MHL”.
Does my device work with MHL?
Before purchasing MHL, you should check if your Android device and display supports MHL. You can check this on the MHL official site for a list of devices that are supported. After checking it and you can’t find your device on the list, then you shouldn’t bother getting an MHL adapter because there is nothing you can do that will make it work.
After confirming its compatible with your devices, you need to check if your Android device is using a 5-pin or 11-pin micro USB port because this will determine the type of MHL adapter you will use. You can find this information on your mobile device MHL specification.
If your Android device doesn’t have a micro USB port, instead it has a type C USB port, you will need a third-party adapter for it to work well with MHL.
Samsung is still the only brand that uses MHL prevalently because their smartphones are programmed to support its connection protocol. MHL is also enabled on their phablets and tablets.
Why use MHL?
This is a frequently asked question because people feel since there are newer and wireless methods you can use to connect your Android phone to your TV, then why use MHL.
Even though the wireless connection methods are always more convenient to use, MHL has an advantage over them because of its video level and sound quality. Moreover, MHL is featured in old TVs that you can’t connect your phone to wirelessly, so you have no choice other than to use the MHL adapter.
In addition, using an MHL to connect your Android phone to a TV has some protocol-specific benefits. Firstly, you can easily control the transmission of data by using the remote of your TV to control the connected device as well. If you are gaming, you will experience zero latency so you can have a lag-free viewing of your game on the TV. Also, the MHL cable will charge your Android phone up to 40W without you experiencing any lag in the content you are viewing.
Versions of MHL
There are three versions of MHL. Version 1 and 2 are the older versions. Their specs are 8-channel audio, 1080p video, and CEC remote control abilities. The latest version is version 3. It is the upgrade that allows MHL to work with 4K Ultra HD, and more.
How to use MHL?
1. Connect the MHL adapter to your phone and the AV converter
MHL adapter has a male end (micro USB plug) and a female end (HDMI port). The male end (micro USB plug) will go into your phone, while the female end (HDMI port) is where you will insert one end of the HDMI cable while the other end will be plugged to the AV converter.
Also, connect a USB charger to the USB port in the MHL adapter. Plug the charger head into a socket.
2. Plug the AV cables
After plugging in the MHL adapter to your phone and the HDMI cable into the AV converter, you will have to connect the AV cable. One end of the cable will be plugged into the AV converter while the other end will be plugged into the AV ports on your TV. Remember to ascertain that the color of the AV cable connectors goes into the same color on the ports.
3. Switch your TV input
Now, you can switch on your TV, and if your Android phone isn’t on already, you will need to switch it on. Switch the input of your TV to AV so that your TV can start mirroring what is happening on your phone.
Slimport is outdated so we won’t talk much about it. To check if your device is compatible with Slimport visit Slimport website
How to use slimport
1. Get a micro Slimport to HDMI converter and an HDMI cable
You will have to purchase a Slimport to HDMI converter because the charging port of your phone (also known as micro USB outlet) cannot work with the HDMI cable that fits into your TV port. Getting a Slimport to HDMI is easy. Just type it into your search engine to buy it online or visit your local electronics store.
When purchasing the HDMI cable, make sure you ascertain that the cable is compatible with your TV port. To ascertain its compatibility, type in the name of your TV and the name of the HDMI cable into a search engine. From the results it presents to you, you will be able to know which HDMI cable is compatible with your device. Getting a Slimport to HDMI converter and HDMI cable is inexpensive.
2. Connect Slimport to HDMI to your phone
You will plug the small end of the Slimport to HDMI converter into your Android phone. This end will go into the charging port, which is at the bottom of your phone. If your phone isn’t on, then turn it on.
3. Plug the HDMI cable
The HDMI cable will be plugged into the other end of the Slimport to HDMI. Then you will plug the other end of the HDMI cable in the AV converter.
There is a USB port in the Slimport to HDMI adapter. You will plug a charger with a USB connector into this port, and then you will plug the charger head into a socket.
4. Plug the AV cables
You will plug in one end of the AV cables in the AV converter. Make sure the colors of the AV connectors match the color of the AV ports on your AV converter. The other end of the AV connectors will be plugged into the AV ports on your TV, and make sure the colors of the connector also tally, or else your Android phone won’t connect to your TV.
5. Turn on the TV
Now you can turn on your TV. Then change the video input of your TV so as to tally with the AV signal. Most TV remotes usually have an Input button you can use to switch from one input to another. Just tap on the Input button repeatedly until the HDMI signal that corresponds with the video input displays on your TV.
If you don’t have a remote, you can also find the “input” button on your television. It is usually located on the top/side of the TV.
After selecting the input that corresponds with the AV signal, your Android phone screen will start to display. If your Android screen doesn’t mirror what is on the TV after a few seconds, you will have to restart your phone.
Things to do if your Android phone doesn’t connect to your TV
• Check to see if the connected device (your Android phone) is turned on.
• Disconnect the HDMI cable from the MHL/Slimport to HDMI, then reconnect it.
• Disconnect the AV cable from the port on your TV, then reconnect it again.
• Turn off your TV and your Android phone, then turn it on again.
• Get another HDMI cable and try using it.
(If the problem persists, it means your device doesn’t support this type of connection or the ports are faulty)
Connecting an Android phone to TV using AV cable is much cheaper than the wireless method. Moreover, it offers exceptional viewing with no video latency. If you are just planning to get an adapter, this article can also be used as a buying guide.