These days, you can do almost anything on your TV, from watching the news to streaming movies to playing music or video games. But don’t underestimate the power of high-quality photos either.
Sometimes you might want to view your vacation photos or wedding album on a screen larger than your phone. Knowing how to play a picture slideshow on a TV would have been rewarding then. Don’t worry about your TV model either. Now, with the right equipment and accessories, you can play picture slideshows almost anywhere.
Load pictures from USB drive
As long as you have a smart TV, using a USB memory stick is probably the fastest way to create a slideshow of pictures on your TV. Most smart TVs can easily read USB drives and even have built-in media players.
- Use a laptop or desktop computer to manage photos on a USB drive.
- Insert the USB drive into an open TV USB port.
- Open the native media player application and load the pictures folder from the USB drive.
- Use the remote to start a slide show or manually switch pictures.
While it doesn’t have fancy features, this is the easiest type of slideshow to put on a TV.
Load images using a dedicated media player
A separate media player is a great option if you want more control over your slideshow. You can connect a digital media player to a TV with an HDMI cable.
What are the advantages of portable media players? First, the device may be able to read multiple memory card formats. It may have its own remote that allows changing various slideshow functions such as playback speed, resolution, etc. Even better, a portable digital media player lets you play a slideshow of pictures on an older, non-smart TV.
The exact steps to use such devices will vary depending on the player’s mod. However, they should be broadly similar.
- Insert a memory card or USB drive into the media player device.
- Connect the device to the TV with an HDMI cable.
- Use the remote to power the device.
- Select the input device from the TV’s source list.
- Hit play on the remote and control the slideshow as desired.
Cast pictures from your smartphone
Casting is one of the best features you can get on a modern smartphone. It allows you to easily share content from your mobile device while enjoying the superior resolution, screen size and picture quality of your TV.
If you don’t have the latest smartphone model or specific brand, don’t worry. Of course, TV makers have better support for brands like Apple. In fact, many people have been adding AirPlay 2 functionality to their TVs for years.
You can cast on any Google Pixel, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola, or any other brand of TV you can think of. It’s just a matter of not having a decade-old smartphone with limited capabilities.
To use a transform function, you generally need two things.
- The latest OS updates on TVs and phones.
- Connect your TV and smartphone to the same Wi-Fi network.
From there, the casting steps are very similar for all TV and smartphone devices.
Cast to LG TV
LG TVs with AirPlay 2 support iPhone casting without advanced configuration and third-party apps.
- Connect the two devices.
- Enable AirPlay 2 on your LG TV.
- Activate AirPlay 2 on your iPhone and start casting.
Android users may need to go through a slightly different process.
- Connect your smartphone and LG TV to the same network.
- Enter the code if prompted during the first test.
- Bring up a slideshow of pictures on your phone.
- Enable screen sharing to cast images to your TV.
LG smartphones use a technology called screen mirroring.
- Go to the “Settings” application on your LG phone.
- Navigate to Share and Connect.
- Depending on your model, go to “Cast” or “Mirror Screen”.
The casting feature can have different names such as Smart View, Mirroring, Quick Connect, etc. The term only differs on Android smartphones.
Cast to TCL TV
TCL TVs with built-in Roku streaming are compatible with iPhone and AirPlay.
- Make sure both devices share the same Wi-Fi network.
- Start AirPlay on your iPhone to cast pictures from your library or iCloud storage.
You can use an Android smartphone to do the same thing on a TCL TV powered by Google or Android TV.
- Put both devices on the same network.
- Launch the Google Home app.
- Use “Cast My Screen” to start a slideshow on your TV.
cast to sony tv
Newer Sony TV models come with built-in Google TV or Android TV technology. It doesn’t take much time to cast a picture slideshow from your phone.
- Connect your phone and TV to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Go through the testing process.
- Launch the Gallery app and enable casting.
- Or, use the Google Photos app to bring your slideshow to your TV.
The process is similar to casting from an iPhone using AirPlay 2. Note, however, that not all Sony TVs made after 2018 support AirPlay 2. Please check your model for compatibility before using AirPlay 2.
Using a Lightning to HDMI Adapter
Standard smartphone cables won’t fit into the open ports on smart TVs. Therefore, it is difficult to connect a mobile phone to a TV in the same way as a laptop or PC. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
iPhone users can purchase a Lightning to HDMI cable adapter. With it, you can connect your phone directly to your TV and use the big screen to watch a slideshow of your local or cloud-stored photos.
Android users can do something similar. You can buy a USB-C to HDMI cable to quickly connect your smartphone to your smart TV. However, you must contact the manufacturer to ensure that the phone is capable of outputting an HDMI signal. Not all Android mobile devices, regardless of specs, can do this.
In contrast, figuring out whether your iPhone can handle it is simple. All models after iPhone 5 can be connected to a TV using a Lightning to HDMI adapter.
cast to streaming player
Tiny portable digital media players are an inexpensive solution for playing slideshows from a USB drive or memory card. But if you have a smart TV, you don’t need that type of device.
You may want to consider purchasing a streaming media player such as Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku player, etc. A streaming player can add a ton of functionality to an old smart TV, and even let you use a different operating system to make your new TV even better.
The process varies by media player and mobile device, but the same general guidelines apply.
- Connect your phone and streaming device to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Go through the detection process and enter the on-screen code into your phone when prompted.
- Open the app on your phone and select the mirror or cast function.
- Select Media Player as the output device.
While the terminology may vary slightly between phone manufacturers and operating systems, it’s intuitive enough for almost any user. In a way, it’s very similar to streaming directly to a smart TV. The difference is that streaming to a dedicated media player lets you take slideshows from your phone to your traditional TV.
Use your TV’s native apps and features
If you have an Apple TV, running a picture slideshow is easy enough. You should have access to your iCloud account. Run the application and let the pictures scroll.
The same thing applies to cloud services like Google Photos. TVs with built-in Google TV technology let you easily connect to your Google Drive and Google Photos accounts. Launch the app and run the slideshow from there.
Of course, this only matters if you store your photos in the cloud.
Stream slideshows to your TV from your laptop, PC or tablet
This is the oldest way of putting a slide show on your TV. Before screen casting, mirroring, and smartphones were invented, people would hook up their computers to TVs. This is a top choice for movie nights, gaming sessions, and more.
But just because it’s an older method doesn’t make it any less useful today. You can connect your personal laptop, PC or tablet to your TV and play a picture slideshow.
There are two ways to do this.
First, you can connect your TV to an open port on your laptop or PC. This will either extend the screen or mirror it, depending on your needs. From there, you can start any slide show you want in an application like Photoshop, Image Viewer, or PowerPoint on your device. Simply drag the slideshow app to the correct desktop instance to watch it on your TV.
Second, you can connect your device to your TV via USB. This is usually best for tablets. You can use the TV to browse your tablet’s folders and start a slideshow.
Finally, laptops and tablets may feature Bluetooth connectivity. If that’s the case, you can pair the two devices to play a slideshow on your TV without worrying about cable connections.
Using the SD card slot
Not all Smart TVs have SD card slots on the front or back. But if you do, you can use it for picture slideshows.
- Remove the SD from the camera or phone.
- Check to see if the memory card is compatible with your TV.
- Slide it into the SD card slot.
- Set the memory card as the input source on the TV.
- Use the remote to start the slide show.
Smart TVs make slideshows more engaging
There are countless ways to display your family albums, vacation photos and other images on your TV screen. If you don’t have a smart TV, that’s fine too. Streaming media players can add smart features to many older TVs. Likewise, you can connect and pair your mobile and desktop devices to your TV in a number of ways.
It’s just a matter of how you want to approach things and where you store your pictures.
Now we want to hear from you. Do you usually swipe through photos on your phone or do you prefer a slideshow on the big screen? Tell us your favorite way to view memories in the comments section below.