When our TVs were smaller, seeing that black screen wasn’t a big deal. In the age of cheap big screens, they’re an eyesore.
That’s especially true if your TV is dusty and smudged. There’s a right way and a wrong way to clean your screen. Tap or click here for the steps pros know to get your screen clean without scratches and streaks.
When the TV is switched on, your settings play a role in how good what you’re watching looks. Tap or click for six quick steps to better picture quality.
And if you’re not watching anything, why not display your favorite photos? Here are a few easy ways to get the job done, straight from your phone:
1. Roku screen mirroring
If you own an Android or Windows phone and a Roku device, you can display photos on your TV using the Roku app. Note: This feature is not available for iPhone users.
Play on Roku is an app feature that allows you to select what photos you want to see and loads them directly onto your TV. You can even share songs. Be sure your app is updated to the latest version, and ensure your phone is on the same wireless network as your Roku device.
• Open the Roku mobile app and choose the Devices app.
• Choose the Roku Device you want to display photos to.
• Tap the Media icon to launch Play on Roku.
• Choose Music, Photos, or Videos to select what you want to display.
• Select your options, and your choices will appear on your TV.
You can also use screen mirroring. This replicates everything on your phone onto your TV. If you have a device that supports screen mirroring, be sure you are running Roku OS 7.7 or later. It will be enabled by default. When you’re ready, choose the Screen Mirroring option on your device. Tap or click here to see what models qualify and get in-depth instructions.
Get more from your Roku: 8 smart tricks to try now
2. Amazon Fire TV
If you prefer Fire TV over Roku, you can display photos with this app, too. It’s straightforward as long as you have the Alexa app. Unlike with Roku, you can do this on Android and iOS devices. Here’s how:
• Open the Alexa app and tap More.
• Choose Settings > Photos > Devices.
• Select your TV from the list.
• Upload your photos of choice to display on your television.
Alexa is handy, but she can drive you up the wall. Tap or click to stop some of Alexa’s most annoying behaviors.
Like with Fire TV, you can cast your photos in a few simple steps with the Google Photos app. First, make sure your Google Photos app and Chromecast are fully updated. You also need to connect both to the same wireless network.
• Open Google Photos.
• Choose the photo or album you want to display.
• At the top right corner, choose Cast.
• Choose the correct Chromecast.
• Open the photo to display it on your TV.
• Open Google Photos, and sign in to your Google Account.
• Choose the photo or album you want to cast.
• At the top right corner, choose Cast and choose the correct Chromecast.
• Open the photo to display it on your TV.
This option is similar to screen mirroring on Roku as it casts the content from your phone directly to your TV.
You can also set up Ambient Mode. When your Chromecast is not in use, it will display photos from your Google account if you choose. Tap or click for settings and instructions to get it up and running.
Don’t have any of these devices? Use your TV’s settings
If you have a smart TV, third-party extras like the Roku and Fire TV aren’t strictly necessary. So, if you own a smart TV and don’t have one of these devices, can you still display photos on your TV? Most likely, yes!
Depending on your TV brand and compatibility, there's a good chance you have access to a built-in option to display photos. If you own a Vizio or Samsung smart TV, along with many others, you can show pictures in seconds. Tap or click here for directions for your smart TV.
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The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Straight from your phone to your TV: How to show photos, play music.