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Issue #848: October 22-28, 2023

Q: Is there an easy way to display iPad Air 2 photos/videos on my Sony smart wide screen TV? The TV is a Bravia 65 inch just a couple of years old.

 – Tom A.
Shalimar, Florida

A: Well, Tom, there are multiple ways to display photos from a pad device to a Smart TV.  Like many things in the world of technology, it’s more difficult than it needs to be, since it is often a rare occurrence that vendors get together and do what’s right for the consumer, which is to settle on one unified format or protocol that works across all devices.  In your case, there’s no technological reason that they can’t work together.  However, the vendors have made self-serving choices that do not help users such as yourself, unless you happen to buy the “right” hardware.  This probably sounds confusing, so allow me to explain.

What’s missing in your question is the term Screen Mirroring, which is the name of the feature that allows you to display content from a pad or Smart Phone on the screen of a Smart TV. Both of your devices support screen mirroring, however, natively, not with each other.

Apple implements screen mirroring through what it calls Apple Airplay.  Many brands of Smart TV support Airplay, including most Samsung models, Amazon Fire TVs, TVs with Roku functionality built-in, many LG TVs, models from VIZIO, and even a few models from Sony (but I’m fairly certain not yours).

At its core, your Sony Smart TV is nothing more than a computer running a version of the Android operating system by Google.  As such, it implements a brand of Screen Mirroring called Chromecast, which as you might guess from the name, is another Google product. The feature may also be called Miracast, which was created by the Wi-Fi Alliance transmit video and sound directly from devices to display receivers. Unfortunately, your iPad doesn’t natively support Chromecast/Miracast.

At this point, you might be saying “But Geek, you said there were multiple ways to do this! So far all you’ve talked about are ways I can’t do it!”  Of course, you’re right, but the point of this column is not just to provide the answer to a question, but to hopefully educate along the way.  So, hopefully you’ve learned a little about Screen Mirroring, and I can now offer you some alternatives.

Probably the easiest way to accomplish this is by adding hardware.  You could buy an Apple TV box, Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or similar, and plug it into one of your TV’s HDMI ports.  Your iPad can stream to these devices, and then you just pick the correct input on the TV and you’re off and running.

A slightly more complicated method involves downloading an app on your iPad that has the ability to connect to your TV, basically adding the compatibility that Sony and Apple didn’t build-in for you.  Now, I didn’t want to leave my advice at simply “Go download an app” and hope you could find your way, so I did the app store legwork for you.  I’m sort-of breaking my longstanding policy of not recommending specific products, but I went through a lot of screen mirroring apps in the app store, and I found bunches of them that claimed to be free, but were nothing more than a front for products that demand you “upgrade” or “go premium” before they will even attempt to connect.  Then I found exactly what I think you need, but you have to search for exactly what I tell you to, or you’ll be lost in a quagmire of apps.  So, on your iPad go to the Apple App Store and search for “Screen Mirroring Companjen” That last word is the vendor, which dramatically narrows the search.  You should get two results.  You want the one with the orange, purple and white icon.  Install it, and follow the on-screen instructions to find and send content to your TV.  In my tests at the Geek House, it found and streamed not only to my Smart TVs, but to my satellite receivers as well.  And yes, this app is genuinely free.  Good luck!

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