Video and Audio Center Blog

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Mobile Gaming With Your TV

People have always liked to play games - doesn’t matter what age they are or type of game either. But while games with lots of sophistication and power can now be found now on phones and tablets, they’re still at a disadvantage in comparison to those played on video game consoles. What’s the difference? The screen size. A game being played on an iPhone or Android tablet is small potatoes when compared to what video gamers see, because they’re opting for the biggest screen in the house: the large high-definition flat panel. So what’s keeping mobile gamers from making the switch from what’s in their hand to what can be seen on a big screen? Only the mistaken belief that to do so will be too much of a hassle.

But that’s wrong. If you want to play your Angry Birds on your phone while waiting in the car, but then on the HDTV in the living room when you’re home, you can. And without having to get all “techie” about it either. Here’s a couple of ways to do this that can be set up quick so the time being spent is about the fun of the game and not the tech of getting it to work right.


That stands for Mobile High Definition Link, and most TVs add the “MHL” text to one of the HDMI inputs (because it’s not a special “all by itself” socket). You’ll be hard pressed to find a TV now that doesn’t have one of these inputs - HDTVs as well as the newer 4K Ultra HDs. What you do is take the cable (cost’s about $10 for 6 feet, more for greater distance) and plug it into the mobile device’s output and the other end into the correct HDMI input on the TV. Then you can continue to play the game on your phone or tablet while seated in front of the TV and see what happens on the big screen. Plus the sound goes along for the ride - up to 8 channels, so if there’s surround sound working, it’s there too. The TV remote can also get into the act, but if you have a controller attached to the phone or tablet, it continues to function as it always has - no difference so your “muscle memory” of buttons to press and direction pad punches keep happening as fast as your fingers can move. And as an added bonus, there’s also charging power going to the mobile device while it’s connected.


 This is a wireless direct feature that lets you “mirror” what’s on the (Android) mobile device to the TV with 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound. The device you’re holding has to be Miracast-enabled, but that’s just fancy talk for an Android phone running a current version of its OS (operating system). The TV has to be Miracast-enabled too, and it’s only recently that TVs from Sony and Samsung and LG and others have added this feature. So if your TV is lacking, a quick trip to the electronics shop (online or in person) snags you a Miracast “dongle” for well under $50.00. Either with the dongle in place or the tech in place in the TV, you just perform a few steps on the TV and mobile device and yep, there’s your picture on the big screen.

Apple Users Don’t Be Sour

iPhone/iPad users aren’t left out either. Although they can’t use the above, they can connect an Apple-approved cable to their iPhone or iPad and connect it to a HDMI input for a big view with all the HD fixings.

Play the Game Right From The TV

TVs started out being “dumb” because all they could do was take a TV signal and turn it into a television broadcast to watch. But pretty much all TVs are now “smart” because they can 1)access your home network (the Internet) and 2)take a game directly from an online source either provided by the manufacturer (for example, on the Sony Entertainment Network) or the same source that the phone/tablet uses (example: Google Play). The game is accessed, downloaded to memory (or streamed instead) and gets played using the TVs own internal parts. And since most TVs now have multi-core processors and millisecond-fast responses to the actions of the gamer, there’s no lag-time or delays that make all the difference between success and (game) failure.  Sony’s 47-inch LED HDTV is a good example here: a large LED backlit screen which, when directly connected for gaming, provides images with smooth graphic reproduction and very low lag-time, combined with “Smart TV’ gaming choices when the TV takes the lead.

1 comment:

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