How to Connect a Samsung Galaxy S4 to a TV With HDMI
How do I connect my Galaxy S4 to a TV?
The Galaxy S4 is Samsung's flagship smartphone. It's equipped with magnificent hardware and the latest features like smart scroll eye tracking and has a brilliant 5" 1080p HD display that's great for watching videos, playing games, flicking through photos or browsing the web.
However, sometimes the spacious 5" screen is not big enough. Especially when you have friends around you might like to watch videos and pictures not only on the small screen but on your big HDTV.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to connect the Galaxy S4 to TV. How? Keep on reading to learn in 3 easy steps.
Connecting a Galaxy 4 to a TV in 3 Easy Steps
Connecting Galaxy S4 to TV: Two Ways Are Possible
There are two ways to connect your Galaxy S4 to your TV. We'll explain both in detail, below.
1st Option: Wired With Galaxy S4 to HDMI Adapter
- 11-pin MHL adapter
- Micro USB wall charger
- Highspeed HDMI cable
2nd Option: Wireless Using Samsung AllShare
- Scroll down for detailed instructions.
1st Option: The Wired Way: Get an 11-pin MHL Adapter
- Like Apple's iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is also equipped with an 11-pin Micro USB port that supports the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) feature. In other words: With the right adapter, you can send high-quality HDMI signals over this port.
- The Samsung Galaxy S4 requires a modern 11-pin MHL adapter, also referred to as MHL 2.0. Note that there are still older MHL adapters available with only 5-pins. They were used for the Galaxy S2 and are not compatible with Galaxy S3 or S4. When buying a MHL to HDMI adapter, make sure your phone is supported in the specifications.
- You can buy the official MHL adapter from Samsung that will cost you around $40. Or you can get a no-name part that is much cheaper, but sometimes has quality or compatibility issues.
Tip: You can also look on eBay or other online retailers for MHL 2.0 adapters, which are tested and recommended by other users. On Amazon, you can also find cheap MHL adapters with hundreds of positive reviews.
Step 2: Power Your MHL Adapter
- Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 uses MHL 2.0. This means there is no power connection needed for the MHL adapter to work since the S4 can power the HDMI connection itself.
- However, it is recommended that you use an external power source in order to prevent battery drain of your Galaxy S4. Basically, you can use any Micro USB charger -- just connect your phone's micro USB wall charger to the port on the side of the MHL adapter. (Nice side effect: Your Galaxy S4 will be charged whilst playing movies or videos on TV).
- Tip: If you don't have a micro USB wall charger on hand, you can also plug in a USB cable into your laptop or computer.
- Extra tip: You can also plug a USB cable into the USB slot of your HDTV to power the MHL adapter.
Step 3: Connect Everything to Your HDTV With an HDMI Cable
Don't waste time pondering about the right HDMI cable -- they all deliver the same video quality.
Just consider these two points:
- Make sure you choose a modern HDMI cable with the latest standard (high-speed HDMI)
- Choose an HDMI cable with an appropriate length -- you'll have to control your HDTV playback from your phone.
Connect your Galaxy S4/MHL adapter with an HDMI cable to your HDTV set. Choose any HDMI input slot you like, but remember which one (often they are numbered, for example: HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc.) as it'll make finding the right channel easier.
Enjoy Your Galaxy S4 Screen on Your HDTV
Congratulations! You have managed to connect your Galaxy S4 to TV.
- Now, choose the right HDMI input channel on your TV and enjoy the High Definition image from your smartphone on your TV.
- When everything is duly connected, your Galaxy S4's display will be mirrored to your TV automatically.
FAQs: Galaxy S4 to TV Set-Up
- Do I need to make any setting changes when my Galaxy S4 is connected to a TV? No, when you have your S4 connected to your TV, and you see your phone's display on TV, then there is nothing more to do. Note that your phone's orientation - vertical or horizontal - will also affect the image on the TV.
- How can I improve the sound quality? When playing music, movies, or videos, the sound will also be transmitted over the HDMI cable to your TV. To get the best audio quality, navigate to the "Settings" menu on your Galaxy S4 and go to "My Device --> Accessory." Tap "Audio output," and select "Surround."
- Which apps will support the video-out/mirroring functionality? In contrast to Apple's iPhone, all apps on your Galaxy S4 can use video-out / mirroring. There are no special restrictions for certain apps.
2nd Option: Connect Your Galaxy S4 to an AllShare Hub
To connect your Galaxy S4 wirelessly:
- Navigate to your phone's "Settings" --> "Connections" --> "Screen mirroring."
- Turn mirroring on, and your AllShare HDTV, Blu-ray player, or Hub will appear in the device list.
- Choose your preferred device and mirroring will begin automatically.
Similar to AirPlay for Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S4 phones feature the so-called AllShare feature to stream audio and video wirelessly to a TV. There are several ways to use AllShare:
- If you have a compatible 2013 Samsung Smart TV with AllShare, you can connect your Galaxy S4 right away -- nothing additional required.
- If you have a Samsung AV-Receiver or Blu-ray player with AllShare Cast, you can connect your Galaxy S4 directly to it.
- If you don't have any of the above-mentioned devices, you could buy a universal AllShare Cast Dongle ($99), which can be plugged into any HDTV with HDMI.
The biggest advantage of wireless mirroring is the fact that it's cable-less, and you can move around freely while still sharing content on the big screen. This is especially helpful if you're gaming or watching YouTube videos with friends.
However, there are some drawbacks to the wireless solution:
- Any games with fast movements and complex graphics won't be playable over AllShare
- Audio quality is much worse compared to the MHL adapter
- Videos often do not stay in sync with audio.
- Average video quality
Conclusion: AllShare is a nice feature if your Samsung TV or Blu-ray player is already equipped supporting it. However, if you don't have any of these devices, the AllShare dongle is far from being as neat of a device as the Apple TV -- shelling out the additional $100 for the gadget isn't recommended to most users.
Poll: Galaxy S4 to TV
Which method do you prefer to connect your Galaxy S4 to TV?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Tobias