How to Stream Shows and Movies on Your Dorm Room TV

Impress your roomies by streaming a series or film to your dorm TV

What to Know

  • AirPlay/iOS: Swipe down to reveal Control Panel. Select Screen Mirroring > [Apple TV device]. Tap Stop Mirroring to stop casting.
  • Chromecast: Install the Google Home app. When playing compatible media, select the cast icon in the upper-right corner.

You can stream or mirror content from your smartphone, tablet, or computer onto a TV. This solution is cheap and easy to set up and allows you to watch streaming content without the need for a set-top box or over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Here's how to stream movies and TV on a dorm room TV.

Stream and Mirror With Apple AirPlay

AirPlay is a technology developed by Apple that allows iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) to stream media and mirror their displays on an Apple TV.

An Apple TV is a small device that connects to a TV set using an HDMI cable. It essentially turns a regular TV into a smart TV, with apps for streaming services, video games, and iTunes music.

Here's how to set it up:

  1. On your iOS device, swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen to open the Control Panel.

    In older versions of iOS, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

  2. Tap the Screen Mirroring button.

  3. Select the Apple TV.

    The Screen Mirroring button and an Apple TV in iOS Control Center
  4. To stop mirroring, open the Control Panel and tap Stop Mirroring, which replaces the Screen Mirroring button when the feature is active.

Mirror and Stream With Chromecast

Like the Apple TV, the Google Chromecast is a small device that brings smart TV functionality to any TV with an HDMI cable port. Chromecast features a variety of built-in apps for streaming media from services like Netflix and YouTube. It can be used to stream and mirror content from a range of devices. Some smart TVs have Chromecast technology built-in and don't require the purchase of a separate Chromecast hardware device.

iOS Devices

After installing the Google Home app on your iOS device, a small cast icon appears in the upper-right corner of the screen when media from a compatible app can be streamed to a Chromecast-connected TV. Popular apps that support this functionality include Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, and Hulu.

Android Devices

Android smartphones and tablets can mirror the entire screen on a Chromecast-connected TV set.

  1. On your Android device, open the Google Home app.

  2. Tap on the menu icon, which looks like three horizontal lines, then select Cast Screen.

  3. The Chromecast should show up on a list of compatible devices. Select it to begin mirroring your device.

Windows PC

The entire contents of a web browser's tab can be mirrored on your TV using the Google Chrome browser. This is great for when viewing video or images that are embedded on a website.

  1. Open Google Chrome and select the three dots in the upper-right corner.

  2. Select Cast.

    Amazon Video with the Cast button highlighted
  3. The Chromecast that's connected to the TV should appear in a list of connected devices. Select it to mirror the current browser tab.

Important Rules for Streaming and Mirroring

Specific instructions for mirroring and streaming vary depending on the devices used. Here are some important tips that apply to all scenarios:

  • Make sure all the devices, including the smart TV if being used, are connected to the same Wi-Fi internet connection if you plan to do wireless streaming or mirroring.
  • Some devices may require Bluetooth to be enabled for streaming or mirroring to work. It's best to leave Bluetooth turned on.
  • When streaming or mirroring, plug the charging cable into your smartphone, tablet, or computer as the process can take up battery power.
  • If mirroring, turn off notifications on your device as these pop up on the TV while watching a movie or TV episode.

Tips for Streaming and Mirroring TV in a Dorm

Dormitory staff should be able to provide you with detailed instructions on your dorm's particular TV setup, including the password for the Wi-Fi connection.

Suppose multiple students use the same dorm room TV on a regular basis for streaming TV or cable. In that case, it may be a good idea to discuss who pays for which subscription services. The last thing you want is for multiple people to pay for the same channel or streaming service. If you can get everyone in your dorm to agree to chip in a dollar or two a month, you could get a cheaper TV or cable service than you would have otherwise.

Watch Media on a Dorm Room Smart TV

A smart TV is a television set with enhanced functionality. Some smart TVs may have a small selection of apps, such as Netflix and YouTube, which are installed on the TV and can be used for streaming online video when connected to the internet. Advanced smart TVs may have a larger selection of apps, voice controls, and an option for streaming media from other devices.

Some of the terms smart TVs use to signify wireless streaming or mirroring include Miracast, Screen Mirroring, Display Mirroring, SmartShare, and AllShare Cast.

If your smart TV has apps such as Netflix installed on it, log in to your Netflix account directly on the TV without using a smart device or computer.

  • iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad may need a special app to mirror or stream media to a smart TV. For example, streaming to a Samsung smart TV requires the Mirror for Samsung TV iOS app. Smart TVs usually inform users of which apps, if any, are required for streaming media once the TV is turned on.
  • Windows 10 and 8 PCs can mirror to a smart TV by pressing the Project button in the Notification Center of the desktop.
  • Wireless streaming and mirroring from an Android smartphone or tablet varies by device. A quick way to check if the option is available is to open the Notification pane, select Quick Connect, then select Scan for nearby devices. If the device can stream or mirror, the smart TV should show up in a list of available devices.

Mirror Your Device With an HDMI Cable

One of the simplest ways to mirror a smartphone, tablet, or computer is to connect it directly to a TV set using an HDMI cable. Compatible cables are available for iOS and Android devices in addition to Windows and Mac computers.

An HDMI cable requires you to connect one end to your device and the other to one of the TV's HDMI ports. As soon as the physical connection is made, the mirroring should begin automatically.

Popular Streaming Alternatives

While Apple TV and Chromecast are commonly used, two other popular streaming devices that are worth considering are the Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Each device has several models to choose from, such as the Amazon Fire TV Cube and Roku Ultra, with each selling in a different price range.


How to Connect a Laptop or Computer to Your TV

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