How to connect an iPad to the TV

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Aina Martin
@ainamartin

The iPad is a great way to cut the cables and get rid of the antenna, but what about watching on TV? You know you can connect an iPad to your TV over Wi-Fi or via cable. If you have the right adapters, it's easy to do. Here are five ways to connect an iPad to a TV.


How to connect your iPad to TV with Apple TV and AirPlay

Apple TV is a great way to connect your iPad to TV. Since it uses AirPlay, it is wireless. This means you can hold your iPad on your lap and mirror the display to your TV. This is best for gaming, where having a cable connecting the iPad to a TV is limiting.



Apps installed on Apple TV provide a bonus. If you love Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Crackle, you don't need to connect your iPad to enjoy streaming videos from these services. Apps run directly on Apple TV.

Apple TV also works seamlessly with iPhone and iPod touch, allowing you to stream video via AirPlay or use your entertainment system's speakers to play music. Apple's 2017 Apple TV model has a powerful processor, has access to the full version of the App Store, and can stream videos in 4K.


Apple TV connects to a TV using standard HDMI cables and uses AirPlay to communicate with an iPad wirelessly. Apps that don't support AirPlay also work using display mirroring, which replicates the iPad's screen to a TV.

Connect iPad wirelessly without using Chromecast

If you don't want or can go the route with Apple TV but want to connect your iPad to your TV wirelessly, Google Chromecast is a workaround. Instead of connecting your Apple TV to a TV, connect a Chromecast to a TV.



It has a relatively simple setup process that uses the iPad to set up the Chromecast and connect it to a Wi-Fi network. When everything is set up and working, you can cast the iPad screen to the TV, as long as the app supports Chromecast.


This is the significant limiting factor compared to Apple TV's AirPlay, which works with almost any iPad app.

So why use Chromecast? Streaming devices like Chromecast are cheaper than Apple TV. It also works with Android and iOS devices, so if you have an Android smartphone and an iPad, you can use Chromecast with both devices.

Connect iPad to your HDTV via HDMI

The Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter is the simplest and most direct way to connect an iPad to an HDTV. It works via an HDMI cable to mirror iPad screen to TV, so it works with any app that works on an iPad.


If you are concerned about battery life, the adapter also allows you to connect a USB cable to your iPad. This supplies power to the device and prevents the battery from draining while you binge on TV series.

You can also stream your movie collection from a PC to an iPad to an HDTV using Home Sharing. This is a great way to switch from DVD and Blu-ray to digital video without losing the ability to see it on your TV.

Connect iPad to TV using composite or component cables

If your TV doesn't support HDMI or you don't have enough HDMI outputs on your HDTV, connect the iPad to the TV with composite or component cables.


Component adapters separate the video into red, blue, and green, which gives you a slightly better picture. However, component adapters are only available for older 30-pin adapters. The composite adapters use a single yellow video cable and red and white audio cables, which are compatible with most televisions.


Component and composite cables do not support Display Mirroring mode on the iPad, so these cables only work with apps like Netflix and YouTube that support video output. These cables are also inferior to 720p video, so the quality isn't as great as when using a digital AV adapter or Apple TV.

This accessory may not be available for the newer Lightning connector, so a Lightning to 30-pin adapter may be required.


Connect the iPad with a VGA adapter

With an Apple Lightning to VGA Adapter, you can connect an iPad to a TV with VGA input, a computer monitor, projector, or other display device that supports VGA. This solution is excellent for monitors. Many newer monitors support multiple display sources. You can switch between using the desktop monitor and using your iPad.

The VGA adapter supports Display Mirroring mode. However, it doesn't transfer audio, so you need to hear audio through the iPad's built-in speakers or external speakers.

If you're looking through your TV, the HDMI adapter or component cables are your best bet. If you're using a computer monitor or want to use your iPad for large presentations with a projector, the VGA adapter might be your best bet.

This solution is best when using a monitor to project a large screen to an audience, such as for presentations at work or school.


Watch live TV on your iPad

Several accessories allow you to watch live TV on an iPad, access your cable channels and your DVR from any room in the house or while away from home via the data connection.

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