How to screen mirror or cast to a TV with a VPN
Wirelessly stream VPN content on your big screen
Known as casting, mirroring, or by trademarked names like AirPlay, it all boils down to this: technology that lets you take images on your small-screen device and stream them wirelessly on your big-screen TV. This guide will show you how to get the content you have, on the screen you want—easily and with little or no extra setup or equipment.
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Mirroring vs. casting
Mirroring means projecting an exact copy of your small-screen device’s display on a big screen. Anything that you see on your device—toolbars, time and date, battery usage, etc.—will be presented on the TV, and usually, the device must be dedicated to that stream, with its screen active, and doing nothing else. There may also be a small lag between what you see on your device and what appears on your TV. If these limitations are not a problem for you, mirroring is most likely to work without a hitch.
Casting, on the other hand, is a feature built in to many apps and operating systems that will allow you to project a stream while the device can still be used for something else, or even put to sleep. Image quality and speed may be better than with mirroring. But this functionality is not present for all apps and on all devices, and in a few cases, it may be actively disabled by the app maker or device manufacturer for business reasons.
Perhaps the best known of these technologies, Apple’s AirPlay allows both mirroring and casting. It’s available on Apple devices (like Mac computers and iPhones and iPads running iOS), but also on apps like iTunes, so it can be used by Windows users as well. (Android users will need third-party software to use AirPlay.) Originally, you could AirPlay only to an Apple TV, but non-Apple smart TVs and other devices are increasingly being released with the ability to receive AirPlay signals built in.
A dongle that you plug into your TV, Google’s Chromecast is the most basic casting device—in a good way. Just set up a movie, game, song, or other media on your mobile device, tap a button, and it will cast to your TV. There’s no TV interface or remote control to deal with. Because any Android or iOS mobile app can be easily set up with the Chromecast casting ability by its developer, the number of compatible apps has grown fast. Chromecast also offers mirroring from Android and Windows devices. For higher resolutions and more advanced color technologies, opt for the Chromecast Ultra.
With a huge number of compatible apps, Roku is one of the most powerful and affordable streaming devices. It comes as a box or a dongle that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. Screens on Android and Windows devices can be mirrored to your TV via a Roku. If you’re watching content on an Android, Windows, or iOS device, you may be able to cast the program to the same app on Roku, if they’re compatible.
Amazon’s Fire TV devices—including Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube—let you enjoy videos, music, games, and more through thousands of apps. Fire TV Stick supports screen mirroring from most Android devices. Users must first activate mirroring on Fire TV Stick, then activate their Android device’s mirroring function (if available), which is often called Miracast—but terminology varies across devices. Windows 10 also offers mirroring to Fire TV Stick through a similar method.
Android TV, which is gradually being rebranded as Google TV, is an operating system for smart TVs and streaming consoles. If your device is based on Android TV, it can receive streams from other devices through a technology often called “Chromecast built-in.” Better yet, though: Any Android TV device can also install the ExpressVPN app, meaning you can get all the benefits of a VPN directly on that device, with no need to cast or mirror from another device at all.
Miracast is a wireless display technology developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and used in many different smart TVs and streaming devices. The name varies by manufacturer: Samsung calls it AllShare, LG calls it Smart Share, Philips calls it Wireless Screencasting, and so on. Whatever the label, it’s designed to work exactly like a wireless HDMI cable, so any display shared via Miracast will be a mirror only. It’s not available via Apple devices (which use AirPlay instead), but Windows and Android devices are supported.
FAQ: Screen mirroring or casting to TV
Why mirror to your TV?
Mirroring or casting from your device to a TV is often the easiest way to get VPN-enabled content on your big screen. If your smart TV supports it out of the box, you might already own everything you need. If not, streaming devices like Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV Stick are increasingly affordable options. And because the content is being streamed from a smartphone or computer running ExpressVPN, you know it’s always private, secure, and blazing fast.
What’s more, casting or mirroring can even let you watch on someone else’s TV. Just use ExpressVPN to unlock content on your mobile or laptop, then stream it to a friend’s big screen. No extra subscription required!
What if casting from my device won’t work?
Often, all you need to do is make sure both devices—sending and receiving—are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. But every combination of devices, apps, and streaming services is different, and unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that everything will work as it should.
For advice on your specific setup, please contact Support, which is available by live chat or email, 24/7.
Want the full power of ExpressVPN?
If you would like to enjoy maximum flexibility and convenience in streaming video on your big-screen TV, consider getting ExpressVPN on your wireless router. With just a little extra setup, you can extend the protection and power of an always-on VPN to every Wi-Fi-enabled device in your network—even ones that can’t install a VPN directly, like PlayStation, Xbox, or other gaming consoles.
And your options don’t stop there. Why not try a virtual router? A wired connection? Our exclusive MediaStreamer service, included free with every subscription? Learn all the ways to get ExpressVPN on your TV.
ExpressVPN is a VPN service not intended to be used as a means of copyright circumvention. Please read the ExpressVPN Terms of Service for more details.
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