- Transforming your basic television into a smart TV opens up a whole new world of streaming possibilities for your home.
- Smart TVs give you unrivaled access to streaming service content, allowing you to stream all your favorite movies, shows, documentaries, and even live events.
- Smart TVs offer a diverse range of apps beyond streaming services, including social media platforms, games, weather updates, and internet browsing.
- Smart TVs seamlessly integrate with other smart home devices, allowing you to control lights, thermostat, and security cameras from your television screen.
- Popular digital media players include Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast with Google TV, gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and NVIDIA Shield TV.
Imagine a world of streaming services, interactive apps, and smart home integration, all enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. This is the reality that awaits those who transform their regular TV into a smart TV. Let’s talk about the advantages of turning your television into a streaming powerhouse, offer up some possible ways to make it happen, and explain how to complete the transformation. In the end, you’ll unlock a whole new world of possibilities for your regular TV — giving you a smart streaming hub unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Benefits of a Smart TV
Transforming your basic television into a smart TV opens up a whole new world of streaming possibilities for your home. From easier access to streaming content to better integration with smart home devices and beyond, we can think of three good reasons why you might want to turn your regular TV into a smart TV. Rest assured, once you make the smart TV switch, you may never want to go back to the way things were. Here’s why.
Access to Streaming Services
Smart TVs give you unrivaled access to streaming service content. By turning your regular TV into a smart TV, you can stream all your favorite movies, shows, documentaries, and even live events. The devices let you access popular platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu straight from your TV.
For many, this fills the space of a traditional cable or satellite subscription. The user-friendly interface of your average smart TV makes it easy to navigate through all your streaming service libraries, giving you greater control over what you watch and when you watch it.
Smart TVs offer a diverse range of apps beyond streaming services. With the right apps, you can also access social media platforms, play games, check the weather, and even browse the Internet directly on your TV screen.
This versatility enhances your smart TV experience even further, creating an all-in-one device for both entertainment and productivity. Certain smart TV devices give you special advantages over others, so pick your digital media player wisely based on your particular interests.
Smart Home Features
Another huge advantage is the seamless integration with other smart home devices provided by a smart TV. Once incorporated into a compatible smart home system, your new smart TV can control your lights, thermostat, and even security cameras — right from your television screen.
This centralized control adds a layer of convenience to your daily life, allowing you to manage your smart devices from one comfortable location. Some smart TV devices even support voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Integrating these features further improves your experience.
Popular Digital Media Players
Decided you want to make the switch from regular TV to smart TV? You’re in luck. You have lots of different options to choose from. In the ever-expanding market of digital media players, these seven devices stand out as the best of the bunch. However, no two players are the same. Each one of these devices offers its own set of unique features. Before explaining how to turn your regular TV into a smart TV, let’s explore some of the most appealing digital media players below.
Apple TV is the tech giant’s state-of-the-art digital media player. Its sleek interface and easy-to-use Siri remote brings Apple’s beloved ecosystem to your television screen. This enables you to access all your favorite streaming services and iOS apps alongside your library of iTunes purchases. You can also AirPlay from your other Apple devices to the TV screen, further enhancing the smart TV experience.
- 4K Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos sound and HDR10+ support
- Equipped with the powerful A15 Bionic chip
- Third-generation Siri Remote with improved clickpad
- Wi-Fi and Ethernet options available
Roku is an affordable, versatile streaming device that offers a less expensive alternative to some of the pricier smart TV devices on the market. The device gives you access to a wide range of streaming services in a more budget-friendly package. Roku’s interface and remote are incredibly stripped down and very easy to use, too. Not to mention, its low price doesn’t rob you of quality. Roku has plenty of 4K UHD models with HDR support.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a compact streaming device from everyone’s favorite e-commerce platform. It plugs into your standard TV’s HDMI port, making installation a breeze. The Fire TV Stick also comes with a remote that has Alexa integration, allowing you to use voice commands to search for shows, control playback, and more. Plus, it’s ready to connect to all your other Alexa-enabled devices right out of the box.
- Support for all major HDR formats with Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+
- Immersive audio through Dolby Atmos.
- Stream content from leading services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and more
- Control your TV and other devices in your home with the Alexa voice remote
Chromecast with Google TV
Chromecast with Google TV is a streaming device that combines the convenience of Chromecast with a full-fledged Google interface. This device is similar to the Fire TV Stick in that it provides access to streaming services with the addition of smart assistant support. It offers 4K and HDR capabilities for a high-quality viewing experience in a low-cost package that discreetly hangs from the back of your television.
- Streaming in up to 4K HDR quality
- Dedicated Google Assistant button on the included remote
- Stream over 700,000 TV shows and films
- Compatible with most TVs with an HDMI port
The latest PlayStation and Xbox consoles go beyond basic gaming to double as digital media players. No matter if you have a PS5 or an Xbox Series X/S, these gaming consoles allow you to play content from streaming apps from the console’s home screen. This helps justify the high price point of these next-gen gaming consoles. Think about it: you’re getting a gaming system, a digital media player, and a DVD/Blu-ray player all rolled into one.
Like new gaming consoles, today’s Blu-ray players incorporate smart TV features into their physical media players. Not only do they play high-definition discs, but they also stream content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and the like. While Blu-ray players may not offer the kind of extensive app library that you’d expect from an Apple TV or Roku device, they still have online streaming capabilities built right in.
- Makes 3D, 4K, standard Blu-Ray, and old DVDs look great.
- Works with Dolby Vision, as well as HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.
- Works with most every high-tech sound format, like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
- Easy to create immersive soundscape at home.
NVIDIA Shield TV
NVIDIA Shield TV is a powerful Android TV-based streaming device that delivers high-quality 4K HDR streaming bolstered by NVIDIA technology. It offers a variety of streaming apps with support for Google Assistant and other Android devices. The NVIDIA Shield TV also has gaming capabilities, allowing you to stream PC games and access a library of Android games from your computer to your television. It even comes with its own gaming controller.
- Powerful Android TV 4K UHD HDR streaming media player
- Support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for next-level visuals and audio
- GeForce NOW cloud gaming support
- Built-in Google Assistant for hands-free use
How to Turn Regular TV Into Smart TV
Once you’ve decided on a device to turn your regular TV into a smart TV, you’ll need to learn how to set it up. Thankfully, we have plenty of experience in this regard. This how-to shows the proper setup for an Apple TV. However, it should look very much the same for other digital media players too. Follow along with the steps and photos below to start streaming.
Step One: Plug Into Power Source
First, plug the digital media player into the power source. Depending on your home setup, this could be an extension cord, a wall outlet, a power strip, or some other plug-in. Make sure the power cord is attached to both the device and the power source.
Step Two: Plug Into HDMI
Next, connect the digital media player to the television with an HDMI cord. Some digital media players come with their own cord, while others require you to supply your own. Alternatively, some devices — such as the Chromecast or Fire TV Stick — plug right into the HDMI port with no cord required. Check the box to know what your device requires.
Step Three: Start Streaming
Lastly, power on your digital media player and complete the setup on the screen. With this, you’re free to start streaming. Fair warning: You’ll need to log into your services on first use. This may take a while for those of you with lots of streaming subscriptions. However, it’ll all be worth it to turn your regular TV into a smart TV.
|Benefits of a Smart TV||Description|
|Access to Streaming Services||Unrivaled access to streaming service content. Stream all your favorite movies, shows, documentaries, and even live events. Access popular platforms like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu straight from your TV.|
|App Downloads||Access to a diverse range of apps beyond streaming services. Access social media platforms, play games, check the weather, and even browse the Internet directly on your TV screen.|
|Smart Home Features||Seamless integration with other smart home devices. Control your lights, thermostat, and even security cameras â right from your television screen. Some smart TV devices even support voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/Robert Daly.