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How to Watch TV on Your MFD

DATE POSTED:February 7, 2020
For most, only the right adapter and an HDMI cable are needed to stream video from a mobile phone to your MFD.
For most, only the right adapter and an HDMI cable are needed to stream video from a mobile phone to your MFD. (Courtesy Garmin/)

As my buddy and I listened to a football game on the boat stereo last fall, it occurred to us that we might find a way to watch the game on my 12-inch multifunction display. The next day, I researched the details and discovered it’s pretty simple to stream video to your MFD from a mobile phone.

A key is having an HDMI input port on your MFD — the same port found on the back of today’s televisions and monitors. You’ll find such ports on advanced displays from Garmin, Lowrance and Simrad. Furuno offers an HDMI input port on the black-box module for its TZTouch displays.

I was able to plug a 4-foot male-to-male HDMI cable into a Lowrance HDS-12 Live. But in order to connect the other end of the cable to my iPhone, I needed a special interface — a Lightning digital AV adapter ($12.89, walmart.com).

This plugs into the little Lightning charging port at the bottom of the iPhone. The female HDMI port connects to the end of the HDMI cable. The adapter also has a spare Lightning port so you can charge your iPhone while watching video. For Android devices, you can connect using a micro-USB male-to-HDMI female adapter ($9.98, walmart.com).

The next step is to select the video window on the MFD (you might have to choose the HDMI input in the menu), then watch streaming video from your phone via apps such as YouTube. For live sports, you will need an app such as Fox Sports Go, and you might have to input your username and password for your TV provider to access the programming.

In my case, I stream the audio via Bluetooth through the boat’s multispeaker stereo, but MFDs connected to the onboard sound systems can stream the audio without using the Bluetooth function.

All of this assumes you have stable cell service. Otherwise, you might have to access a satellite TV service, but that’s another story.