With most tablets on the market packing HDMI out, it’s become common practice (at least in my world) to use the tablet as a media player for your HD TV.
But unlike actual media players, the lack of a remote is a pain. There are two options here: use a super-maxi-jumbo-length HDMI cable and watch movies with the tablet on your lap (albeit while trying to prevent people from tripping over said cable) or get creative with remote control apps.
As we’re now firmly in a world where Apple’s ‘there’s an app for that’ slogan spreads further than even it imagined, I’m going to focus on the latter option (well, also because I just summed up the entire ‘how-to’ for the former). I’m presuming that you already have your tablet hooked up to your TV for this. If not, go find yourself an appropriate HDMI cable (on eBay for around $10 or an adapter for around $3) and hook it up.
There are two options here: free and paid. The free option involves installing Tablet Remote on both devices and pairing the two via Bluetooth. This whole article was going to be on setting this up, but after trying it out (successfully) once, I’ve not been able to get it to work again. You may have more luck than I, so give it a go. The paid option additionally requires root. Don’t make me try to convince you to root your device again.
However, I should add that it also works as a mouse (so you can see it move around on the screen) with a multi-touch touchpad, a keyboard, a media remote (play, pause, volume etc), a gamepad, a joystick with accelerometer and two analogue sticks, plus it can control multiple devices simultaneously. It can even control Linux or Windows PCs. Best of all, it works flawlessly.
So, install the $1.90 DrioidMote Server app on your tablet and then install the free DroidMote Client app on your phone. Connect both devices to your Wi-Fi network (or turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot and connect your tablet to it), open the Server app on your tablet and hit the jumbo ‘On’ button. You should be granted with an SU request (grant it, of course) and then shown the IP of your tablet.
Next, open the Client app on your phone, hit ‘Menu > Settings’ and enter the IP address and Port (the bit after the ‘:’), as shown on your tablet. Hit Back to go to the main screen, then ‘Menu > Connect’. That should be it!
Across the bottom of the app are four tabs that each give you a different method of control. The first will put a virtual mouse onscreen, the second gives you a directional pad, the next offers media playback controls and the last is the analogue joysticks. You can also customise the buttons by following the guide here.
From your phone, you can now open your favourite video app (I like MX Player), navigate to the video you want to watch and then hit Play. Extra points if you stream them over CIFS/SMB using CifsManager (a tale for another day).