While smart TVs are a staple in most living rooms and entertainment rooms, there was a time when a digital TV or a flat-screen TV was all you got. These TVs were good enough and are still perfect when hooked up to a satellite TV box with terrestrial FTA digital TV channels.
With more and more content moving online and into the streaming world, finding a way to connect your dumb TV to WiFi is paramount.
It doesn’t matter if it is an inherited piece or a secondary TV in another room. You don’t have to throw it away just because it has no inbuilt WiFi.
Can You Hook Up Internet to a Non-Smart TV?
Technically, you can’t hook up the internet to a non-smart TV. However, you can connect the TV to a smart device via HDMI or RCA to stream content from popular platforms like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+.
This is the only way to connect an old Samsung TV to WiFi or any other brand TV you have lying around. The only caveat is you will have to invest some bucks into purchasing a streaming device.
Get a Streaming Device
If your TV has an HDMI port, you can go for any smart streaming device that will link to the internet and beam content to your old TV via HDMI.
Some of the best streaming devices you can get include:
- Nvidia Shield TV
- Apple TV
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K
- Chromecast With Google TV
- Amazon Firestick
- Roku Ultra
- TiVo Stream 4K
- Xfinity Flex
There are tons of other cheap Android-based streaming boxes that you could opt for too. The only problem is that most are straight from Aliexpress and resold by merchants who don’t take the time to support their product after release.
Sticking with known brands will give you a streaming device that is safe and supported for years to come.
If money isn’t an issue, go for something overpowered like the Nvidia Shield TV. It will remain powerful enough to run newer resource-hungry apps for years compared to cheap streamers with minimum memory and CPU power to support current apps and content.
Use a Gaming Console
Gaming consoles are more than gamer boxes. Most previous gen consoles can access the internet and have access to most streaming services apps. This makes them a perfect makeshift way to turn your non-smart TV smart – especially if you have a newer console and rarely use the old one.
Hook the console up to a power source and connect it to the TV using HDMI or even the RCA cables if your console and TV support that.
I’ve been running YouTube and Netflix on PS3 for years in my bedroom via my old digital TV with no WiFi. This, coupled with the freedom to play old games every now and then, makes it quite an awesome setup.
Hook it Up to a Computer
A simpler way to let your TV connect to WiFi is by hooking it up to a computer via HDMI. Connect the laptop to the TV via HDMI and extend or mirror the screen.
After this, anything you browse via the laptop or computer will be reflected on the big TV screen. This is technically a way to make your non-smart TV access online content.
The only problem is you will either have to get a dedicated media center computer or keep an HDMI cable hanging around for easy access and plug into your computer.
If you have a computer lying around, you can permanently hook it up to the TV. Get a wireless keyboard & mouse combo or a small palm-held keyboard to make controlling content easier.
Hook it Up to a BlueRay Player
The last option you could try is connecting your TV to a smart BlueRay player that not only plays BlueRay discs but can also stream online content.
Not very many BlueRay players had this feature. If yours has it, you could use it to the fullest. Chances are you rarely play BlueRay in your main system and stream straight to your SmartTV. If this is the case, the BlueRay player might be redundant.
How to Connect a Smart Streamer to a TV Without HDMI
If your old Samsung or LG tv doesn’t have an HDMI port, you can still connect it to a smart streaming device.
You don’t have to hunt down a streaming device with the yellow composite video RCA input. You can, instead, buy a digital to analog converter that takes the digital input from the HDMI port and converts it to composite video that you can pipe into your old TV via the RCA cable.
Get some of the best converters on Amazon here.
An Old Smart TV With a LAN Port But no WiFi
Though rare, there could be a wild chance you own a TV with a LAN port but no WiFi capabilities. These earlier smart TVs worked on the premise that a wired connection would be more reliable than WiFi and opted for an RJ45 port for LAN connections.
You could use a LAN cable to hook it straight to a router and enjoy your internet. If the router is far away and you don’t want to run long cables throughout the house, you can get a WiFi repeater with a LAN port.
These repeaters will connect to your home WiFi and give you a single wired port to connect to the TV. Alternatively, you can put an old router into repeater mode, connect it to WiFi and run a short LAN cable from the router to the TV.
These tricks will still have you run an ethernet cable, only that it will be short since you will use the WiFi repeater (or old router) to span most of the distance to your main router or access point.
How Do I Know if My TV Has WiFi Capability?
A TV with WiFi capability will have WiFi setup options under the Network Connections menu. If your unit doesn’t have such a menu, it does not have WiFi capability.