Got an older HDTV without smart features? Can’t afford to upgrade to a smart TV? You don’t have to. Interestingly, you can convert a normal TV into a smart one by using inexpensive devices.
I and my friends once tried to watch HD channels on my Spectrum TV Silver package on a homemade smart TV. After trial and error, we were finally able to make it work. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go through all that fuss. This guide has got you covered.
Here’s how to turn your regular TV into a smart TV:
#1: Use a Streaming Stick
The easiest way of adding smart features to your dumb TV is by using a streaming stick. You will be surprised by the features you get. If you watch content on Amazon Prime, then you can use Amazon Fire TV stick. It lets you watch content over the Internet. Here’s how to get started:
- Plug the Amazon Fire TV stick into your TV through the HDMI port
- Select the HDMI channel input
- Follow the instructions provided on the screen to set the device up. This includes connecting to your Wi-Fi, selecting the language and more.
- Once everything is set, you can now use your regular TV as a smart TV.
You can stream content provided by not just Amazon Prime but Netflix and YouTube as well.
#2: Connect an HDMI Cable
If you don’t have a streaming stick? No worries, there’s another option. Use HDMI cable for watching content on a self-made smart TV. You will also need your laptop. Here, you will be mirroring or extending your laptop screen onto your TV. Follow these steps to get started:
- Get an HDMI cable.
- Find the HDMI-out port on your laptop
- Switch to the source on your TV for mirroring the screen.
- Turn on your TV and change the input to HDMI channel
- Follow the instructions and this shall mirror your laptop’s screen on your TV.
- Use your laptop as a controller for fetching the content you want to view.
You can use the same technique and connect your smartphone with your TV too. Make sure the cable you use adheres to the ports available on your TV. It will only work if the cable is compatible with your TV.
#3: Use a Game Console
This is one of the most featured filled ways of converting a normal TV into a smart TV. But for that, you need to have the latest game console. For instance, Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One. You might also be able to use their variants. You have to connect these consoles to the Internet and use apps like Amazon Prime, YouTube or Netflix to stream the content.
Let’s suppose you want to watch a Netflix show on your Xbox 360. Here’s how to get started:
- First of all, you must be signed in to your Xbox live account. You need to have access to a Netflix account as well.
- After signing into your Xbox Live account, go to “Apps.”
- Click on “Search Apps.” Some users might find “Browse Apps.” Both perform the same function.
- Search for the Netflix app and download it.
- Sign in to your Netflix account by going to “My Apps” on Xbox Live.
- Now you just have to hook the game console with your TV and use it as a controller.
- Search the show from the Netflix library and you are now ready to stream it on your TV.
#4: Use Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast is a streaming media player that can turn your regular TV into a smart TV. You can access content from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube and watch it on your TV.
You must first have the Google Home app installed on your PC or smartphone (you can use either). This will make it easier to install the Google Chromecast media player on your device. Follow the steps below to hook it with your TV:
- Search for an HDMI port on your TV and insert Google Chromecast there.
- Power Google Chromecast.
- Turn on your TV and change its input to the HDMI channel.
- Launch the Google Home app on your smartphone or PC and follow the steps to configure Chromecast.
- You might have to set up the device and connect to the Wi-Fi network. Make sure you follow through it all.
- Once you follow the instructions on-screen and complete the setup process, you can start using your regular TV as a smart TV.
If you don’t have a streaming stick, Game console or Google Chromecast, the most affordable way is to use the HDMI cable.
Before you convert your TV into a smart one, it’s worth exploring if you really need a smart TV. The answer to this will depend on your viewing habits and what you are expecting from your TV. If you want to stream popular shows like Stranger Things or Living With Yourself and they are only available on streaming services or you want to watch Spectrum live TV, then having a smart TV is a compulsion.