You can do practically anything on a TV these days, 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 may want to look at vacation photos or a wedding album on a screen larger than your phone. That’s when knowing how to put a picture slideshow on a TV pays off. And don’t worry about your TV model either. With the right devices and accessories, you can make picture slideshows work on just about anything these days.
Load Pictures From a USB Drive
Using a USB stick is probably the quickest way to create a picture slideshow on your TV, as long as you have a smart TV. Most smart TVs can easily read USB drives and even have built-in media players.
- Manage the photos on your USB stick using a laptop or desktop computer.
- Plug the USB drive into an open TV USB port.
- Open the native media player app and load the picture folder from the USB drive.
- Use the remote to start the slideshow or manually switch pictures.
Although it doesn’t have fancy features, this is the easiest type of slideshow to put on a TV.
Load Pictures With a Dedicated Media Player
A separate media player is an excellent option if you want more control of your slideshow. You can connect a digital media player to your TV using an HDMI cable.
What are the advantages of portable media players? First, the device might be able to read multiple memory card formats. It may have its own remote and allow changing various slideshow features like playback speed, resolution, etc. Even better, a portable digital media player may enable you to put a picture slideshow on an older, non-smart TV.
The exact steps for using such a device will differ based on the player’s module. However, they should be generally similar.
- Slot a memory card or USB drive in 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 you wish.
Cast Pictures From Your Smartphone
Casting is one of the best features you can get on modern smartphones. It makes it easy to share content from a mobile device while enjoying a TV’s superior resolution, screen size, and image quality.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the latest smartphone model or specific brand. Sure, TV manufacturers have better support for brands like Apple. In fact, many started adding AirPlay 2 functionality to their TVs years ago.
You can cast on a TV from any Google Pixel, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola, or just about any other brand you can think of. It’s just a matter of not having a decade-old smartphone with limited capabilities.
To use the casting functionality, you often need two things.
- The latest OS update on your TV and phone.
- Having both the TV and smartphone connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
From there, the casting steps are pretty similar for all TVs and smartphone devices.
Casting to an LG TV
LG TVs with AirPlay 2 support iPhone casting without advanced configurations and third-party apps.
- Connect the two devices.
- Enable AirPlay 2 on your LG TV.
- Launch 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.
- Input a code if prompted during the first detection process.
- Bring up a picture slideshow on your phone.
- Enable the screen-sharing feature to cast the images to the TV.
LG smartphones use something called screen mirroring.
- Go to the “Settings” app on your LG phone.
- Navigate to “Share and Connect.”
- Go to “Cast” or “Mirror Screen,” depending on your model.
The casting feature can have different names, like Smart View, Mirroring, Quick Connect, etc. The terminology only differs on Android smartphones.
Casting to a TCL TV
TCL TVs with built-in Roku streaming are compatible with iPhones and AirPlay.
- Ensure both devices share the same Wi-Fi network.
- Start your iPhone’s AirPlay to cast pictures from your gallery or iCloud storage.
You can use Android smartphones to do the same on TCL TVs with Google or Android TV technology.
- Put both devices on the same network.
- Launch the Google Home app.
- Use “Cast my screen” to start a slideshow on your TV.
Casting to a Sony TV
Newer Sony TV models come with built-in Google TV or Android TV technology. Casting a picture slideshow from your phone doesn’t take much.
- Connect your phone and TV to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Go through the detection process.
- Launch the Gallery app and enable the casting functionality.
- Alternatively, use the Google Photos app to cast a slideshow to your TV.
The process is similar for casting from an iPhone with AirPlay 2. But note that not all Sony TVs made after 2018 support AirPlay 2. Check your model’s compatibility before using AirPlay 2.
Use a Lightning to HDMI Adapter
Standard smartphone cables won’t fit in your smart TV’s open ports. Thus, it’s challenging to connect your phone to the TV as you would with your laptop or PC. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
iPhone users can buy Lightning to HDMI cable adapters. With that, you can connect your phone directly to your TV and use the large screen to view 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 a smartphone to a smart TV. However, you must check with the manufacturer to ensure the phone is capable of HDMI output signals. Not all Android mobile devices, regardless of specs, can do it.
In contrast, figuring out if your iPhone can handle it is straightforward. All models after the iPhone 5 can connect to TVs using a Lightning to HDMI adapter.
Cast to a Streaming Media Player
Tiny portable digital media players are a cheap solution for streaming a slideshow 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 getting a streaming media player like an Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku player, etc. Streaming media players can add a ton of functionality to older smart TVs and even make new ones better by enabling you to use a different OS.
The process varies between media players and mobile devices, but the same general guidelines apply.
- Connect the phone and streaming device to the same Wi-Fi network.
- Go through the detection process and input the on-screen code in your phone if prompted.
- Open an app on your phone and select the mirroring or casting feature.
- Select the media player as the output device.
While the terminology may differ slightly between phone manufacturers and operating systems, it’s intuitive enough for nearly 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 put a slideshow from your phone on a traditional TV.
Use the TV’s Native Apps and Functionality
If you have an Apple TV, putting on a picture slideshow is easy enough. You should have access to your iCloud account. Run the app and let the pictures roll.
The same thing applies to cloud services like Google Photos. TVs with built-in Google TV technology make it easy to connect to your Google Drive and Google Photos accounts. Start the app and run a slideshow from there.
Of course, this is only relevant if you store your photos in the cloud.
Put a Slideshow on a TV From a Laptop, PC, or Tablet
This is the oldest way of putting slideshows on a TV. Before screen casting, mirroring, and smartphones were invented, people would connect their computers to the TV. It was a go-to move for movie nights, gaming sessions, etc.
But just because it’s an older method doesn’t make it any less useful today. You can connect a personal laptop, PC, or tablet to your TV and stream a picture slideshow.
There are two ways to do it.
First, you can connect the TV to an open port on your laptop or PC. Depending on what you want, this will extend the screen or mirror it. From there, you can start whichever slideshow you want on your device in apps like Photoshop, Image Viewer, or PowerPoint. It’s just a matter of dragging the slideshow app to the correct desktop instance to see it on your TV.
Secondly, you can connect your device to the TV via USB. This usually works best for tablets. You can use the TV to navigate through your tablet’s folder and start a slideshow.
Lastly, laptops and tablets may have Bluetooth connectivity. If that’s the case, you can pair the two devices to stream a slideshow on your TV without worrying about cable connections.
Use the SD Card Slot
Not all smart TVs come with an SD card slot in the front or back panel. But if yours does, you can use it for a picture slideshow.
- Take the SD from your camera or phone.
- Check if the memory card is compatible with your TV.
- Slide it in the SD card slot.
- Set the memory card as the input source on your TV.
- Start a slideshow using your remote.
Smart TVs Make Slideshows More Engaging
There are countless ways to display your family photo album, vacation photos, and other images on your TV screen. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t own a smart TV. Streaming media players can add smart functionality to many older TVs. Likewise, you can connect and pair your mobile and desktop devices with TVs in various 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 prefer slideshows on a larger screen? Let us know about your favorite way to view your memories in the comments section below.