Tablets are ideal for watching TV and films, either on the move or at home on the sofa when someone else is hogging the telly.
Still, there are times when a bigger screen is more practical or just better for enjoyment.
To get the best of both worlds, you can connect your tablet to your TV.
Doing so allows you to play games, stream video using apps like BBC iPlayer and YouTube, or show off your holiday photos when family visit on the biggest screen in the house. Games that use your tablet’s motion sensor, like car racing games, work especially well on TV.
As long as your tablet has the correct port – typically micro HDMI in modern tablets - it’s quite easy to connect your tablet to a TV. But first you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment.
Step 1: Work out what you need
In this piece we’re just looking at ways to connect Android tablets with HDMI ports to a flatscreen TV. If your tablet hasn’t got a micro HDMI port, it may not be possible to connect. Check with the manufacturer to make sure your tablet is compatible.
If your tablet does have a micro HDMI port, check that your television has an HDMI input port – this is pretty much standard on modern TVs.
You’ll also need an HDMI cable to connect your tablet to the TV. In most cases, if you have an Android-powered tablet like the Tesco Hudl, you’ll need a micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable. They don’t cost a lot of money and can be picked up from just about any electronics retailer on the high street or online, with prices varying from £5 to £20.
Think about how long you’ll need the HDMI cable to be as well. Longer ones are more expensive but allow you use your tablet further away from the TV so you can use your tablet like a remote control.
For gaming, you’ll need a cable that can reach where you’re going to sit so you can still use your tablet as a games controller.
Step 2: Connecting an Apple iPad
The Apple iPad doesn’t actually have an HDMI output, so as well as a cable you’ll also need an adapter that plugs into the iPad’s charging port, which you then connect your HDMI cable to instead.
If you have an older Apple iPad with a 30-pin charger port you’ll need to get an HDMI adapter that fits it. Apple’s own 30-pin Digital AV adaptor costs £35.
More recent iPads, including the iPad Air and iPad mini, have a smaller port known as a Lightning connector, and Apple’s Lightening AV Adapter costs £40.
If you do need an adapter, buying from the manufacturer can avoid any unnecessary technical headaches. For instance, some cheaper cables may not be compatible with the tablet.
Apple users can also connect wirelessly using Apple TV.
Step 3: Connect your tablet to your TV
Simply connect the small end of the HDMI cable to your tablet, via the adapter if you’re using an Apple iPad or an Android tablet without an HDMI port, and then connect the bigger end to the HDMI port on your TV.
Next, change the TV over to the correct HDMI source. This is usually a case of pressing the source button on the remote and selecting HDMI.
If you have several HDMI ports connecting your BT Vision Box and Xbox you’ll need to scroll through the HDMI channels to find the correct one.
You’ll need to do this each time you connect your tablet to your TV.
Once you’ve done this, whatever’s displayed on your tablet’s screen should also appear on your TV.
Step 4: Troubleshooting
If you’ve done all this and the picture isn’t showing, or looks blurry and skewed, there are a couple of simple things you can do to sort it out.
First, give the HDMI cable a wiggle at each end to make sure it’s snug and properly connected.
If you’ve got a Hudl or another Android tablet with an HDMI port you’ll find HDMI options in the Settings menu. On the Hudl, they come under Device.
Here you can change your screen resolution, which needs to be the same as on your TV - check your TV manual if you don’t know what it is. Once you’ve done that, tinker with the screen zoom until it looks right.
If you’re using an Android tablet with an adapter you may also need to power the adapter with your tablet charger. Check the adapter’s instructions if you’re unsure.
Step 5: Use your tablet as normal
Once you’ve connected everything up, you can use your tablet as normal, with whatever you’re doing on your tablet also appearing on your television.
Not all apps will work on your TV, and some may work better than others, but the likes of BBC iPlayer allow you to stream films and programmes on your TV.
Bear in mind, streaming does use data, so if you don’t have BT Totally Unlimited broadband, keep an eye on your allowance.
This is a guest post by Anthony Hill, of broadbandchoices.co.uk, where you can compare BT internet packages available in your area.