I’m a big fan of smart Televisions because most smart TVs have built-in voice assistants for hands-free control. Besides controlling my Samsung and Philips smart TV through voice commands, I can also access streaming services and connect the TV to my smartphone. The smart TV also connects to my home internet connection and can update its app for improved user experience. These are some experiences you only get from a smart TV. But how do you know you have a smart Television?
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Check your TV’s Remote
You can quickly know if you have a smart TV by checking the remote control and seeing app buttons like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix. Also, your TV should have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and an ethernet port on its back. The TV should also have a built-in browser and allow you to download and use third-party apps.
More indicators to confirm you have a smart TV.
In my case, I checked if my Philips TV had streaming apps and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. I also ensured my TV was HDR compatible and showed content in 4K resolution. Read on to learn how to tell if you have a smart TV.
How Can I Convert My Old TV Into a Smart TV?
If you have a digital Television at home or an old smart TV that no longer updates, you can convert it to a smart TV with a few streaming devices. Some streaming devices I find instrumental are The Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, and Roku. These devices have HDMI ports through which you connect them to your digital TV. And your TV will do everything any recent smart TV can, including accessing the latest and greatest version of streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, HBO Max.
You can also buy a smart TV converter box or adapter, an alternative to streaming devices like Fire Stick. I like Samsung SmartThings Extend smart TV adapter as it allows me to mirror content from my tablet to a digital TV. But another option, Belkin Miracast Video Adapter, does the same thing. So, you can choose whichever smart adapter works best for you.
Amazon Fire Stick – How It Converts Old (dumb TV) Into a Smart TV
I love Amazon Fire Stick because it simplifies my TV experience and offers more powerful streaming. It comes with a single remote with all buttons I need to control my TV. Some buttons on the remote are Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney Plus.
No matter which app I launch, the Fire Stick delivers a quick app start, meaning I can watch my favorite content in Full HD fast. The remote control even has an Alexa button for voice control. When I press the Alexa button, I can ask her to find my favorite streaming apps and content. Since I love sports, I usually ask Alexa to check the scores for me, and she does that.
But I can always find content fast to avoid controlling my TV through voice commands. The main menu has all the apps and content I need to get my entertainment started. If you have a TV in your home, other family members will likely use it. And that’s where Fire Stick’s profiles come to play, as it allows me to personalize my entertainment under my profile.
Installation is a no-brainer; I only have to plug it into my digital TV’s HDMI port, and I’m ready to watch live and free TV. I can always watch Amazon Original films from my Fire Stick since I became a Prime member. This membership allows me to stream over 100 shows from AMC+, Cinemax, and Paramount.
If you have a digital TV you want to convert into a smart TV, Amazon Fire Stick is a great device to plug into your TV’s HDMI port. But I can also plug an ethernet cable into its port to access the internet and stream from YouTube and similar streaming services. The Fire Stick has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
Google Chromecast – How It Converts Old TV Into a Smart TV
Google Chromecast is another device you can use to convert an old TV into a smart TV. Since my old TV has an HDMI port, I can always plug a Chromecast HDMI cable into this port. Then this expands my home entertainment without buying a new smart TV.
Besides HDMI connectivity, Google Chromecast features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. I can connect this device to my home Wi-Fi network and stream entertainment content from YouTube and Netflix. I love the experience because I can use the app I already know.
What’s more impressive is that I can mirror content from my laptop to my TV thanks to the Chromecast feature. I don’t need a remote to control this TV add-on, as I can use my phone to control this device. The resolution is also impressive, with my old TV displaying content at 1080P.
Google Chromecast is another device you can use to convert an old TV into a smart TV. It connects easily to any TV model through an HDMI port and requires no remote control. Therefore, I recommend it if you want to avoid buying a new smart TV altogether.
How Roku Converts an Old TV Into a Smart TV
Roku also can turn your old TV into a smart one. For one thing, it features an HDMI connector to connect to your old TV. Moreover, it boasts built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to connect your old TV to the internet. I have also used this smart TV device, and it impressed me.
The first thing I noticed after connecting it to my old TV was how brilliant the picture quality was. With the brilliance of high-end smart TVs, I could stream my favorite entertainment content, whether HD, HDR, or 4K. The sharp resolution and vivid color made it a device I’d recommend to my friends with old TVs.
The Wi-Fi connectivity is dual-band, meaning this device can connect to Wi-Fi 2.4 and 5GHz. And the result of this is smooth video streaming. Some streaming platforms on this device are Netflix, Disney+, Discovery+, and HBO Max. There is always something you can watch from your Roku TV device.
It is another smart device with a remote control. I can always power up my Roku device, adjust its volume, and navigate to my favorite streaming apps with a remote button. Another feature many people may need to become more familiar with is private listening.
The Roku app allows you to use your wired or wireless headphones to crank up/down the volume. You can also pair this device with a voice assistant to control it with no hands. But it would be great if the remote control had a built-in voice assistant.
It is another device you may want if you need your old TV to show HDR content while keeping energy consumption down. Besides, it has Roku channels that are great for streaming and cutting cables.
Should I Buy a New Smart TV if I Can’t Update It?
You shouldn’t buy a new smart TV if you can’t update your old TV. Most time, people change TVs to upgrade their tv screen size; Otherwise, purchasing a streaming device such as Amazon Fire TV is far more convenient and affordable. I recommend you buy a streaming device, connect it to your TV, and enjoy your favorite content.
TV OS is improving, but they need to catch up with the improvements on streaming devices. Besides price affordability, streaming devices have less convoluted interfaces for more straightforward navigation. What’s even more impressive is that the app selection on streaming devices is far more incredible for a heightened experience.
Some streaming devices even have increased internal space for storing more apps. And that means accessing more content. These devices have built-in storage your smart TV can’t match. That’s why I recommend buying one and converting your TV into a smart TV.
I’ve also found out that streaming devices integrate with smart ecosystems better than smart TVs. I can also seamlessly connect my smartphone (or tablet) to a Roku platform for convenient TV control. The device even connects with voice assistant devices, allowing me to connect my TV to a hub for access from anywhere.
Even though smart TVs can do most things a streaming set-top box can do, there’s no denying that streaming sticks outperform smart TVs. These devices cost a fraction of your smart TV’s price and are more flexible. If you are okay with spending hundreds of dollars on a new smart TV, you can buy a new one.
But if you’re working on a tight budget, why would you need a new TV when you can buy a streaming device?
You can know if you have a smart TV if you take a quick look at your TV’s connectivity and apps in the main menu. If your TV has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity or an ethernet port, it shows it’s a smart TV. Also, you should check if your TV has streaming apps such as Netflix and YouTube.
You may also want to know if you can turn your old TV into a smart one. That is possible since you can plug a streaming device into your old TV’s HDMI port. There are plug-and-play streaming devices, such as Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, and Google Chromecast, that will turn your TV into a smart TV.
These devices also give your smart TV that won’t update a chance to function like an updated smart TV. These devices will make your TV perform even better. I recommend buying these streaming devices if you’re on a budget when your smart TV doesn’t update. But you also have the option to buy a new smart TV altogether. I hope you found these tips helpful.