How to Connect the iPad to Your TV Wirelessly or With Cables

A guide to hooking up your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to your HDTV

connecting ipad to television
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The iPad continues to be an excellent way to enjoy movies and TV, especially when viewing on that gorgeous 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This makes the iPad a great way to cut the cord and get rid of cable television. But what about watching on your TV? If you'd prefer watching on your wide screen, it's simple to get your iPad connected to your TV.

You can even do it wirelessly! Plus, you can connect your headphones to any TV to get a truly private viewing experience.

Here are five ways to achieve your iPad television goals.

Connect the iPad to your TV with Apple TV and AirPlay

Apple TV is a great way to connect your iPad to your TV. While it is more expensive than other options, it is the only solution that is wireless. This means you can keep your iPad in your lap and use it as a remote while sending the display to your TV. This is by far the best solution for games, where having a wire connecting your iPad to your TV can be limiting.

Apple TV uses AirPlay to interact with your iPad.  Most streaming apps work with AirPlay and send full-screen 1080p video to the TV.  But even apps that don't support AirPlay or video out will work via Display Mirroring, which replicates your iPad's screen on your TV.

Another bonus of Apple TV is the apps already installed on the device. So if you love Netflix, Hulu Plus and Crackle, you don't need to connect your iPad to enjoy streaming video from these services.

The apps run natively on Apple TV.  Apple TV also works great with the iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing you to both stream video through AirPlay or just use your entertainment system's speakers to play music.

Apple recently came out with a new version of Apple TV that runs on the same processor used for the iPad Air.

This makes it lightning quick. It also supports a full-blown version of the app store, which gives it access to even more apps. 

Connect the iPad Wirelessly Without Using Apple TV Via Chromecast

If you don't want to go the Apple TV route but still want to connect your iPad to your TV without a lot of wires, Google's Chromecast is an alternative solution. It has a relatively easy setup process that uses your iPad to configure the Chromecast and get it hooked into your Wi-Fi network, and once everything is set up and working, you can cast the iPad's screen to your television – so long as the app you are in supports Chromecast.

And that's the big limiting factor compared to Apple TV: Chromecast support needs to be built into the app compared to Apple TV's AirPlay, which works with almost every app for the iPad.  

So why use Chromecast? For one thing, streaming devices like Chromecast are much cheaper than Apple TV. It will also work with both Android and iOS devices, so if you have an Android smartphone along with your iPad, you can use Chromecast with both of them. And with Android, Chromecast has a feature similar to Apple TV's Display Mirroring.

Connect the iPad to your HDTV through HDMI

Apple's Digital AV Adapter is perhaps the easiest and most straight-forward way to hook your iPad up to your HDTV.

This adapter allows you to connect an HDMI cable from your iPad to your TV. This cable will send the video out to your TV, which means any app that supports video out will show up in 1080p "HD" quality. And like Apple TV, the Digital AV Adapter supports Display Mirroring, so even apps that don't support video out will show up on your television set.  

Worried about battery life? The adapter also allows you to connect a USB cable into your iPad, which can provide power to the device and keep that battery from running low while you are binging on Seinfeld or How I Met Your Mother. You can also stream your movie collection from you PC to your iPad to your HDTV using Home Sharing.

This is a great way to finally switch from DvD and Blu-Ray to digital video without losing the ability to see it on your big screen TV.

Remember: The lightning connector does not work with the original iPad, iPad 2 or iPad 3. You will need to buy a Digital AV Adapter with a 30-pin connector for these older iPad models. This makes an AirPlay solution like Apple TV even better for these models.

Connect the iPad through composite/component cables

If your television doesn't support HDMI, or if you are simply running low on HDMI outputs on your HDTV, you can also opt for connecting the iPad to your TV with composite or component cables.

The composite adapters break the video into red, blue and green, which gives a slightly better picture, but composite adapters are only available for the old 30-pin adapters. Component adapters use the single 'yellow' video cable compatible along with the red and white sound cables, which is compatible with almost all television sets.

The component and composite cables will not support the Display Mirroring mode on the iPad, so they will only work with apps like Netflix and YouTube that support video out. They also fall short of 720p video, so the quality will not be as high as the Digital AV Adapter or Apple TV.

Unfortunately, these accessories may not be available for the newer Lightning connector, so you may need a Lightning to 30-Pin adapter.

Connect the iPad with a VGA adapter

By using Apple's Lightning-to-VGA adapter, you can hook your iPad up to a television equipped with an VGA input, a computer monitor, a projector and other display devices that support VGA.

This is great for monitors.  Many newer monitors support multiple display sources, you could even switch between using your monitor for your desktop and using it for your iPad.

The VGA adapter will also support the Display Mirroring mode. However, it does not transfer sound, so you either need to listen through the iPad's built-in speakers or through external speakers hooked up through the iPad's headphone jack.

If you are planning on watching through you television, the HDMI adapter or the component cables are the best solutions. But if you plan on using a computer monitor or want to use your iPad for large presentations with a projector, the VGA adapter may be the best solution. 

Watch Live TV on Your iPad

There are several accessories designed to allow you to watch live TV on your iPad, gaining access to your cable channels and even your DVR from any room in the house and while away from home through your data connect. Find out how to watch TV on your iPad.