My plan would be to allow me to connect my Android to my TV by USB, and then be able to play videos/audio from my Computer that is mounted over wifi on my Android. Is this currently possible, or is there a better way that I can accomplish this task (using only a USB cable/wifi and not having to copy files to my Android)

Thanks for any advice :D

2 Answers 2


There are definitely Android DLNA clients and servers which will allow you to share or receive videos or other media over a wireless network, see these previous questions:

DLNA enabled media player?
What can I do with DLNA on an android smartphone?
Can I get DLNA on my Droid?
What is the Android Answer to Air Video Server?

If you have a TV with a USB port, you should definitely be able to mount your phone's SD card as a drive and play the files on it (assuming they're encoded with codecs that your TV understands).

Also if you have a phone with video or HDMI out functionality you can play videos direct to the TV over a video or HDMI cable.

But, I don't think you'll be able to do things quite the way you describe. I don't know of any TVs that will mount a USB device as anything other than a mass storage device (USB drive) or a network adapter (normally only specific manufacturer approved adaptors), and it sounds like you want to stream movies via your phone rather than just play them from its storage. One problem you're going to face is that on an unmodified Android phone the moment you mount your phone as mass storage to one device (eg your TV) it's no longer accessible to other apps on your phone (such as whatever's receiving it from your PC).

TL;DR three realistic options:

  1. Plug phone into PC copy movies onto SD card, unplug phone, plug into TV play as files
  2. If your phone has TV-out, video-out or HDMI-out, plug your phone into the TV that way instead of USB and then either play from its storage, or from a streaming video client
  3. If your TV is network connectible, use a DLNA client on your phone (see above question links) to push the movie from a DLNA server on the PC (eg Windows Media Player on Win 7, or Twonky server) to a DLNA compatible, network attached TV (or media streamer box attached to TV).
  • Hmmm, currently my method is to copy to USB key and play on the TV so I've got that angle covered, I was simply hoping to cut out the copying part of the process :) Also no DLNA for me, thanks for trying :)
    – DanH
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 2:30
  • @Danh which phone have you got, a lot of the higher end phones have video out via an adaptor cable?
    – GAThrawn
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 9:20
  • HTC Legend for the foreseeable future, which as far as I can tell isn't cool enough for video out :(
    – DanH
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 13:41

This is possible, if the phone is rooted. And I suppose it might even be worth doing if you can get an old G1 off craebayslist, but probably not with the device that is your "phone".

Normally when you connect your android device to a computer (or the TV) and enable mounting, it mounts the SDHC card or non-removable equivelent. But that's not the only possibility. With some root level reconfiguration (replacing vold) the usb storage driver on the phone can actually be pointed at anything that looks sufficiently like a disk - ie, a physical disk, or a file containing a disk image.

Since there are also ways to get the linux underlying a (rooted) android device to mount a filesystem served over the network from your pc, you could now point the usb storage driver at a file on your pc containing a disk image of a FAT filesystem containing the media you want to serve.

(There are some potential shortcuts to merge the steps, but it will be easier to get the PC-to-android and android-to-tv parts working separately first)

You would still have to create disk image files on your pc much like you now copy things to usb sticks, but you could automate that and only eat up hard dive space having duplicate copies in the images, and you wouldn't have to physically move the USB stick.

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