Two ways to display your tablet onto a monitor or TV.

I have been discussing several accessories that can help transform your tablets into Laptop substitutes. Last time I discussed how USB memory sticks can be used with tablets with the right adapters or with wireless solutions. For this blog post I would like to explore one more kind of adapter; The video output adapter. Designed to output what you see on your tablet and onto a monitor. There are also wireless streaming methods too. One depends on the right wires while the other depends on your wireless setup. So which one is the best choice for you?

Wired display adapters

Wire adapters are the oldest solution for video output. This method should be familiar to anyone who has experience installing cable boxes, VCRs, and DVD players. Display technology has been upgraded through the years where you can now replace the sound and visuals with a single High-Definition Multimedia Interface wire (aka HDMI wire). Most popular tablets don’t have HDMI slots built in. This is why you will need a wired adapter for converting your tablets plug-in source to work with HDMI. Keep in mind that you will also need an HDMI wire that is long enough to reach your TV, monitor or projector.


The current Apple iPad lineup uses the Lightning connector which is also used with iPods and iPhones. “Lighting Digital AV Adapter” is what you will need to get your Apple devices to accept an HDMI connector. The adapter also has an input for your Lightning charger in case you need to charge the iPad while you’re using it.

Lightning Digital AV Adapter found on the Apple Website

An alternative version would be the Lightning to VGA Adapter for those who only have VGA plug-ins like a monitor. But remember that VGA is a video solution only without the sound. You may also want to get an AUX connector or some speakers to make the most out of the sound.

Android Devices

Most Android tablets will use Micro-USB as the output sources such as the Samsung Galaxy tablets and phones. Micro-USB is a universal wire that you could buy from almost anywhere. A good practice I recommend is to buy the wires, wall chargers and video adapters from the same brand as your device. This avoids endangering your device with the wrong wires that may shorten your batteries lifespan or anything worse. The same practice should be said when buying video output adapters from third party brands. They may be cheaper than the brand named accessories but it is at your own risk that it may damage your device or may fail to operate properly. Keep an eye out for user reviews to help you make the right choice.

Another thing that Android tablet users should know is that not all Micro-USB video adapters will work with every device. Older Samsung tablet models will not work with the latest Micro-USB video adapters. One reason is because the latest devices use MHL technology. I have provided a link to MHL tech where you can check to see if your device can use MHL.

Be sure to consult with your Android tablet’s brand representatives and visit their websites to get the proper answers.

Wireless Streaming

A wired adapter shouldn’t be a problem if you intend to use your tablet like a desktop computer on an office table. But how about on a TV in the living room? A long wire is neither convenient, elegant or cheap. This is where wireless streaming can make a real difference for the living room instead of a wired adapter.

Nearly all tablet makers have an accessory to help get your tablet to stream to a TV. You’ll need to have a TV or monitor that has an HDMI slot along with a spare outlet to power the box. Streaming requires a wireless signal, so a fast signal in your home or business is required for getting the most out of wireless streaming.


Apple’s own solution is the Apple TV. Anyone with an iPad can stream their tablets screen to the TV with AirPlay.

4th Gen Apple TV (left) 3rd Gen Apple TV (right)

Most Apple products you purchase now will have the capability to use AirPlay. They also work with Apple laptops so you can use the Apple TV as a second monitor. Other customizable options allow screen mirroring or music streaming.

The Apple TV can also be used independently without the need of another device. The newest model comes with a hard drive and an App store. This allows you to install your favorite Apps so you can use it them without the need of a tablet.

You could also invest in the previous Apple TV model but it won’t have a hard drive and the App store. If you want to simply stream content from your Apple device then the third generation model is still a good choice.


There are dozens of Android tablet brands but you only need one Google Chromecast if you want to stream from any of them. The Chromecast is small enough to fit in your pocket. You will need a micro USB wire along with a wall adapter to power it which are packaged with the Chromecast. The Chromecast requires a device running the App to be able to utilize its streaming features.

The Chromecast has some shortcoming compared to the Apple TV. It can’t be used independently without a device running the App and it has no Apps built in to work on its own. But the Chromecast App is universal which means you can also stream from Apple and Microsoft devices too for as long as the Chromecast App can run on it.

Final Thoughts

If your home or organization has the latest equipment with the right wireless installation, then you will benefit with wireless streaming. If you don’t have the technical equipment, good wi-fi installation or no technical support to assist, then it would be better to use wired adapters for your tablets.