How to Show Photos on Your TV

Learn About Displaying Your Camera's Photos on a Television

How to display photos on a TV
Having the ability to show your camera's photos on a TV requires the right equipment. Tomek Sikora / Getty Images

Sharing your digital photos with a room full of people can be frustrating if you don’t have the right equipment. Using small prints, the LCD screen on your camera, a digital photo frame, or a small laptop screen will work, but the ideal equipment for displaying photos to several people at once is your TV. It'll be worth the results when you learn how to show photos on your TV.

An HDTV is great for showing photos, as it has a high resolution and a great size. And if you also shoot full HD videos with your digital camera, the HDTV is made for displaying those types of recordings. 

No matter how perfect your HDTV may be for displaying photos and videos, it's utterly worthless if you can't make your camera connect properly to the TV. Each camera/TV connection is a little different, so you may have to try a few different methods for making the connection.

Use these tips for making a connection between your TV and camera when displaying your photos. (Make sure the camera is powered down before you make the connection with the television.)

  • Different steps for different TVs. Displaying photos on a TV sometimes require slightly different techniques, depending on the type of TV you’re using. A standard definition TV will work a little differently than an HDTV. Be sure you’ve checked your camera’s user manual to see how the steps required to connect your camera to a TV differ, depending on the type of TV.
  • A/V cables. With a standard definition TV, you may want to use an audio/video cable to connect the TV and the camera. Not a lot of cameras ship with USB-to-A/V cables, but if yours does, you probably won’t need the red A/V connector. You also may be able to purchase a cable separately. Just make sure the cable you purchase from a third party has a USB connector that's compatible with your camera.
  • HDMI cable. With an HDTV, an HDMI cable is preferred for connecting the camera to the TV. However, not every camera will have an HDMI connector, meaning you may need to use a USB-to-A/V cable or a USB-only cable. In addition, some cameras need a mini-HDMI connector, so be sure you know what type you need before you attempt to connect the camera to the TV.
  • USB cable. Many newer flat screen TVs have USB connections available, so you might be able to connect the camera and TV directly via USB. However, very few cameras can port the images via USB alone. You can try this method, but be prepared to have to try another option.
  • Wi-Fi connection. If you own a Smart TV that is connected to the Internet, you may be able to send photos to the television across the Wi-Fi connection. Just remember that using your camera's Wi-Fi capabilities will drain its battery faster than through general photography usage.
  • Full battery. Along those same lines, if you have an AC adapter for your camera, you may want to connect it to the camera, rather than running on battery power, when displaying photos on a TV. Otherwise, the battery could drain pretty quickly, whether you're using WI-Fi or a cable connection.
  • Output mode. With all of the cables hooked up properly between the camera and the TV, press the Playback button on the camera. Now, the images that would normally be shown on the LCD of the camera should be mirrored on the TV, as long as the camera has an output capability. 
  • Troubleshooting. If you’re having problems making the images appear on the TV screen, the problem could be with your TV. Try pressing the Input or TV/Video button on your TV remote until you find the A/V channel or the HDMI channel, which should allow your images to be displayed. In addition, you may have two or even three A/V channels or HDMI channels, depending on how many connectors your TV has. Be sure you’re on the numbered A/V or HDMI channel that corresponds with the connection slot you’re using on the TV.