Modern Android games have a lot of allure to them – improvements in mobile GPUs and thermal management have allowed mobile games to become faster, more immersive and more beautiful than ever before; think of Asphalt 8, or some of the offerings from Telltale Games. And there's definitely an enticing aspect within the thought of taking that experience to the living room, to bask in the glory of these games outside of the realm of your 5-inch phone. There are a couple of ways to go about this process, which is why today we're walking you through just how to get started with Android Gaming on your TV.
Method 1: Chromecast
One of the most popular features of Google's wireless casting platform, Google Cast, is Screen Mirroring, or the ability to cast the contents of the display on your Android device to any Google Cast device; be it an LG webOS TV with Google Cast built in, or any TV with a Chromecast plugged into it. That means you can easily view photos or videos on your TV straight from your Android device; or, more importantly for our cause, can be used to play Android games on your TV.
If you've got a TV, your phone and a WiFi connection, you're set to get gaming.
The brilliance of this method is in its simplicity and ease of use, as well as it's universality; it works with any TV with HDMI, so even if you're at some hotel in no-mans-land, you can still plug in your Chromecast, pop back on the bed and enjoy a quality gaming experience. As long as your Chromecast is already set up, and you're using an Android device running Android 4.4.2 or higher, all you have to do is open the Home app on your Android device and hit the "Show what's on my screen" button.
And voila. The contents of your display should now be visible on your TV, along with accompanying sound. If you really want to complete the experience, pair up a Bluetooth controller with your phone, put the phone to one side and revel in your newfound gaming experience.
Method 2: Android TV Games
The Android TV platform has never enjoyed much success as a smart TV platform; while Hisense, TCL and B&O have made a few models, they've never garnered the same mainstream appeal as Samsung's Tizen-based Smart TV ecosystem or LG's webOS-based competitor. However, an area where it's seen some popularity in recent times is in smart set-top boxes, such as the NVIDIA Shield TV; which, funnily enough, is a device that is being wholeheartedly marketed at gamers as "the streamer for gamers". So what does it have to offer in the space of Android gaming?
"The streamer for gamers" is actually a solid option for gamers – but at a price.
A decent bit, actually. As well as the standard affair Android games that you can download and play off of the Google Play Store (as you could with a Chromecast), there are more choices; a series of Shield-exclusive games that may be more demanding but are optimised for the better-equipped Shield TV. These include games such as Half Life 2, Metal Gear Solid 2 and many more. Furthermore, users can use NVIDIA's GeForce NOW service to cast games from a custom gaming PC to their Shield TV's, for a fully-fledged gaming experience.
You've got choices.
Whichever way you want to go, you've got choices.
Android games have gotten really good. You can get sucked into any number of the stellar titles that have hit the Play Store in recent times, and they make for a solid experience all round. And while the best experience on your TV will obviously be reserved for the ranks of the Shield TV, which packs dedicated gaming hardware, exclusive features and a solid controller, all of that comes at a price. And if we're honest, you're probably going to enjoy yourself just as much with a Chromecast and a cheap controller. But overall, the best part of this whole experience is knowing that whichever way you choose to go, you have no shortage of options; and all options offer a great experience for you, the user.
What do you guys think? Will you try any of these methods to get gaming on your TV? Let us know in the comments, or post over on the forums with your thoughts.