Smartphones have so much to offer that it can sometimes be hard to imagine how we got by without them – even though they haven’t really been around all that long.
Indeed, they can act as a complement to almost every imaginable part of life, which can make them the ultimate accessory for so many things.
Not least of these is TV. Here, we run down just some of the ways you can use your smartphone to get the most from your televisual experience.
Checking the TV listings
Perhaps the most obvious thing you can do is use your smartphone to browse what’s being shown on your favourite channels this evening.
Magazine listings such as TV Times and the Radio Times are still going strong as ever, but they typically offer an app to make it even more convenient to plan your evening’s entertainment.
If you don’t want to commit to having another app on your device for this purpose, you can also access their website via your browser.
Smartphone as remote
Now we’re getting to some functions that really make the most of the technology – and this is one of the more interesting ways in which a smartphone can complement your TV set.
This is particularly relevant for those who are thinking of purchasing a new TV, as many modern smart TVs have a complementary app for smartphones that allow it to act as a remote control via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
These apps often provide a programme guide as a minimum, which makes it possible to tap the show and change the channel accordingly.
If you’re out and about with a couple of hours to kill, then you can always watch television or a film by using an app to stream the content directly to your device.
While this won’t be the same experience as watching something in crisp high definition on a large widescreen TV, sometimes it can be very convenient for catching up on the news or your favourite sitcom.
The likes of BBC iPlayer and Netflix offer mobile apps that allow you to stream any of the content they offer directly to your smartphone.
By simply signing in, you have access to exactly the same content you would on the full browser versions of those apps.
If you have these apps and enjoy making use of them to access more content than can be found on any other single device, then mirroring could be the way forward for you.
There is a rapidly growing range of accessories that make it possible to mirror anything you see on your smartphone on your TV. This is also a great way of sharing holiday photos with friends and family.
For instance, Apple TV offers Airplay – a proprietary system and a very simple way to send audio, video and almost any content wirelessly from your iOS device to any display with an HDMI input.
Similarly, Chromecast is an HDMI-connected dongle that starts playback of content on your device and transmits it to the dongle. This allows you to give your smartphone a break and preserve its battery.