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5 Easy Ways to View Photos on Your TV

by on December 29, 2016
in Cameras and Photography, Photo / Video Sharing, Music and Video, TVs & Video Players, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 8 comments

5 Easy Ways to View Photos on Your TV

Whether you’re sharing photos from a recent trip or traveling down memory lane, it’s hard to do your pictures justice on your smartphone or camera’s small screen. So why not take advantage of the big screen you already have—your TV?

It’s easy and you probably already have everything you need. Check out the following options to start viewing your pictures and videos on your TV.

1. Use your smart TV or streaming media player's Internet apps.

Shutterfly Channel on Roku

If you have a smart TV with Internet apps, you can use a photo viewing app on your TV to access images you’ve stored on the Web.  Select the app center on your TV—i.e. Samsung Smart TV, Vizio Internet Apps Plus, Panasonic Life+ Screen or LG Smart+ Web OS to name a few. Each manufacturer has a unique name for its service. Streaming media players, like Roku Streaming Stick ($39.99 on Amazon), Google Chromecast ($35 on Google.com) and Amazon Fire TV Stick ($39.99 on Amazon) also have apps that let you view photos stored on the web.

Once you're in the app section, select a photo sharing service app, like Flickr, Shutterfly (Roku app shown above) or SmugMug. After logging in, you can choose to view your photos—individually or in a slideshow—or photos that others are sharing across the web.

For videos you can use YouTube. Don't want strangers viewing your videos? You can always choose to make them private when you upload them.

2. Connect your smartphone via HDMI.

BlueRigger

If you purchased a high-end Android phone within the last few years, your phone may have a micro HDMI out port or a USB-C port. In that case, seeing your photos is a simple matter of connecting your phone to your TV with a micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable or USB-C to HDMI cable. For a  basic micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable cable, we like the one from BlueRigger ($6.99 on Amazon). For phones with USB-C ports, we like the one from Choetech ($26.99 on Amazon). Check with your phone manufacturer to see if your smartphone supports micro HDMI.

3. Connect your smartphone or tablet wirelessly.

If you purchased a TV or video game console (i.e. Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 or Playstation 4) and a smartphone within the last few years, they most likely have a wireless technology called DLNA (you can check for your model on dlna.org).

If your smartphone and TV are made by the same manufacturer, there’s likely a setting called screen mirroring (or something similar) on both devices. This will enable you to see whatever is on your smartphone on your TV. If your devices are made by different manufacturers, you’ll need to enable DLNA (also sometimes called Wi-Fi Direct) on your TV and load a DLNA app on your smartphone. We like AllCast (free for iOS and Android).

For those that have an Apple TV and iPhone or iPad, you can use the AirPlay feature to share your photos and pictures with your TV. Or, if you have a Roku box, Chromecast (YouTube videos only), Fire TV or another streaming media player, you can load that player's app on your smartphone or tablet for sharing.

4. Use your phone or camera’s memory card.

SanDiskPop the memory card out of your camera or smartphone and put it into the TV’s SD card reader. Most flat panel TVs have an SD card reader. If you're not sure whether yours does, your owner's manual will tell you. For phones, you’ll need a microSD-to-SD card adapter, like the one from SanDisk ($3.77 on Amazon). For most TVs, inserting an SD card will launch the photo viewer.

5. Use a USB cable or flash drive.

Take the USB cable that came with your camera and use it to connect the camera to your TV's USB port. Again, most flat panel TVs made over the last few years have a USB port. If your photos and videos are stored on your computer, you can copy them onto a USB flash drive and then insert the drive into your TV's USB port. On most TVs, inserting the USB cable or flash drive will automatically launch the TV’s photo viewing app. From there, you can choose to view photos, videos or a combination of both. Manually scroll through or set your photos to music for a slideshow.

As you can see, it's there's no reason to make everyone crowd around a tiny display when it's so easy to share pictures on your big-screen TV.

[Image credits: couple viewing photos from tablet on TV via BigStockPhoto,  Samsung, BlueRigger, SanDisk]

Updated on 12/29/2016



Discussion loading

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Great Post but ...........

From Tony Scott on October 09, 2014 :: 3:06 am

This is wonderful & so easy to follow. However, I wish I could find a way to stream my media to my Smart TV from my Samsung Galaxy S5 micro SD card. So far all my attempts at this have failed & I can only access media on the phone’s internal memory.

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Streaming Photos/Videos from Desktop/Laptop

From Mike Hixson on December 29, 2014 :: 4:59 pm

With my nice, but dumb, TV & ROKU 3 connected to receiver’s HDMI port, there’s a great program available through ROKU called ‘MY MEDIA’, which will stream your media, including your music playlists, photos and videos directly to the TV with hi-def sound and images.  Works great.

BTW, I was told that the Samsung Galaxy S5 wouldn’t stream directly to an HDMI port, without an optional special box and a power source for it, as there is no micro HDMI jack on the S5, unlike my previous Razr Maxx HD, which worked great.  Am I mistaken?

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That's not true

From Josh Kirschner on December 30, 2014 :: 11:47 am

The Galaxy S5 uses MHL 2.1, which is basically HDMI plus power charging. But the power charging bit isn’t required, so you can use a standard microUSB to HDMI adapter or an MHL to HDMI adapter. I just double checked it with one of our Galaxy S5 hooked up to a Samsung TV and it worked fine.

Here is one cable option (plenty for under $10): micro-USB MHL to HDMI adapter. Note that you will need an 11-pin adapter, so verify that before you buy another model.

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Thanks, Josh!

From Mike Hixson on December 30, 2014 :: 12:07 pm

Really appreciate the advice!  Nothing in the S5 manual, nor could anyone in 1 ATT or 2 Verizon stores help on this question.  And thanks for the cable link, too!

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Get a usb powered sd

From Brandon McConnell on December 15, 2015 :: 10:27 pm

Get a usb powered sd card reader plug into tv’s usb port then plug phones sd card into reader and there you go! You’ll be able to watch or see anything on the SD card I got a card reader that worked on my tv from Walmart for 8 dollars

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Floating Image from Android + Chromecast = Apple Floating Picture on your TV!!

From Al Winston on June 08, 2017 :: 11:33 am

For years I bought the 1st gen Apple TV for one reason: the floating picture screensaver.  It’s the only way to display multiple images in a kinetic and eye-catching way, and if you have thousands of images, the only way to see most of them (vs one picture at a time).  It was limited by the number of images it could ‘mine’ for viewing (a few hundred) but at least was high resolution.  However, NOW there is a much better option: Google chromecast plus a FREE android app called Floating Image, by a fellow named Mark somewhere in Denmark.  It mines thousands of images (I haven’t seen a limit yet) in hi res in a floating image way and looks fantastic on a large screen TV.  If it’s viewed on a large tablet, like the Galaxy View, the thumbnail images floating across can be tapped and they’ll zoom to full screen.  A second tap and it goes back to the floating image.  Thus far, this is the best way I’ve seen to display a library of thousands of digital images.

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