Smart TVs have enhanced at-home entertainment by making it possible to watch streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, without the need for extra cables or devices. But, if you don’t want to upgrade your TV, you still have options to turn your existing TV into a smart TV.
Make Sure Your TV Has an HDMI Port
The first thing you’ll want to check is that your TV has an HDMI port. You’ll need this port to hook up a smart media player. If your TV doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can buy an HDMI-to-RCA adapter that plugs into the red, yellow and white cables located on the back of your TV.
Purchase a Smart Media Player
You have quite a few options for smart media players, including smart boxes like Apple TV, Amazon Fire Cube, streaming sticks like the Roku Streaming Stick or Amazon Fire Stick and ultra-portable media players like Google Chromecast, among others.
Option 1: Install Your Smart Box
To install the Apple TV box, connect one end of the HDMI cable to the box and the other to an HDMI port on the back of your TV. Be sure to note which HDMI slot on the TV you used (slot one, two, three, etc.) Next, plug the two-cylinder end of the cable plugs into the back of the Apple TV box, and the other end into an electrical outlet. Now turn on your TV, change the TV’s input to the HDMI number that matches the slot you selected. A setup display for the box should now appear. From there you can follow the screen’s instructions to complete the process. For the Amazon Cube, the process is relatively similar. You plug HDMI and power cables into the Fire Cube, press fast-forward on your remote, select your WiFi network, enter your password and click connect, then sign in or create an Amazon account.
Option 2: Install Your Streaming Stick
If you choose the Amazon Fire Stick, simply plug the stick itself directly into the HDMI port on your TV. Next, assemble the power cable by plugging the USB cable into the power adapter brick, then unfolding the plug from the brick. Now, plug the end of the cable into the port on the side of the stick, and the other end of the cable into an electrical outlet. Finally, change the TVs input to the HDMI channel that matches the slot you used on the back of your TV. You’ll then be prompted to press the Play/Pause button on your remote, which pairs the remote with your Fire Stick /TV. Next, select a wireless network and enter the password. Once this is completed, you’ll be prompted to sign in to your Amazon account. You can then begin using the streaming stick to turn your TV into a smart TV.
Option 3: Install a Portable Media Player
Portable media players are thumb-sized sticks that look much like USB pen drives. Google’s Chromecast is one option. To use it, you’ll want to plug the cable on the Chromecast directly into one of the HDMI ports on the back of your TV. Now attach the USB power cable, plugging one end into the Chromecast unit and the other into a USB port on your TV. Turn your TV on, select the appropriate HDMI number and wait for the Chromecast setup screen to appear. You’ll then be prompted to download the Google app on your smartphone. Once downloaded, open the app, tap on the Devices icon, wait for Chromecast to detect your phone (be mindful that for an iPhone, you will need to first tap “Use without Bluetooth” and then tap “Skip Setup” before getting to the homepage of the Google Home app). You’ll then be prompted with setup instructions to follow in order to begin using your TV like a smart TV.