How to use your phone to watch movies on your TV – and stay under your data limits.

Many of us have data plans on our phones that have Unlimited on-device data. What that means is that, as long as you are viewing online media on your phone, you can view as many hours as you want. But, if you turn on the hotspot feature for your other devices to share that data, there are definite limits and associated charges.

The problem

Let’s say you want to watch a Netflix movie. Just pull it up on your phone and watch right? Oh, but it looks SO much better to watch and listen on your TV’s big screen. And, for more than one person to watch, the TV is necessary. If you use your Smart TV’s Netflix, it will need to connect to Wi-Fi and that will cost you. Or, if you cast your phone’s screen to the TV using something like Chromecast, that is still using WiFi.

Here’s the answer

Play the movie on your phone, and connect your phone to the TV with a HDMI cable. In that case, the TV is just acting as an external monitor to your phone – no WiFi involved!

What you need

  • A mobile device with an unlimited data plan: All iPhone’s can mirror. My Samsung Android phone can mirror. I’m not sure about other Android phones, you’ll have to just try it or look it up in your phone’s documentation, or read the guide linked below.
  • An HDMI cable for your TV
  • An adapter for your phone to the HDMI. The iPhone will need a HDMI -> Lightning adapter. My Samsung Note 9 uses an HDMI -> USB-C adapter

Now all you need is the popcorn!

Note: for lots more information on how to best use your phone for streaming video, check out this guide from our friends at