How to Connect Non-Smart TV to Wi-Fi Networks


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Do you want a Smart TV, but you don’t want to spend $500+ on a new one? Well, you’re in luck. You can stick with your old non-smart TV and make it smart and connect it to Wi-Fi for smart features.

There are multiple ways to connect older, non-smart TVs to the Internet. The simplest method is using a USB adapter or dongle. This method requires no additional hardware and is relatively inexpensive. Another option is to purchase a set-top box specifically designed for connecting older TVs. Other options include gaming consoles, Ethernet cable, and your laptop. 

This article will cover the various ways on how to connect a non-smart TV to Wi-Fi, so you can start streaming all kinds of media and shows on your TV. 

How to Connect Non-Smart TV to Wi-Fi – Options 

Connecting older TVs to the Internet isn’t as simple as plugging them into a wall socket. There are several options depending on the devices and your TV you have.

1. Using an HDMI Cable

Using a HDMI cable and laptop or desktop is the cheapest and quickest way to start streaming on your non-smart TV. This is the best method if you have a computer that you can move close to your TV and the computer isn’t used for other things.

Plug the HDMI cable into the back of your TV, then plug the other end into your laptop or desktop. That’s usually all there is to it, but with some TVs, you’ll need to change the input source to the HDMI port. 

This can be the most annoying option if you use the laptop every day, and need to connect and disconnect it constantly from the TV. If you’re just using this occasionally, this can be a good option. 

This method mirrors what you have on your computer to the TV screen. You can also share videos and photos from your phone as well, but will probably need a separate HDMI connector. 

You can often find HDMI cables for under $10 online. If your laptop doesn’t have an HDMI output port, you’ll need to get an HDMI adapter. 

For Apple phones and tablets, there is a Lightning to HDMI adapter. For other phones and tablets, like Android, you can get a USB-C to HDMI adapter (Type C Connection) or a Micro HDMI to HDMI adapter (Type D). 

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2. Using a Streaming Device

A streaming device is another option for connecting a non-smart TV. These devices can be a USB dongle or a set-top box, including Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV stick, and others. 

These devices allow you to stream content directly to your TV without needing a computer or smartphone. They come in many different sizes and price ranges, and range from very basic to full-featured with 4K resolution.

These streaming devices will have Wi-Fi capabilities to connect to your home’s wireless network, and then plug into your TV’s HDMI port and power outlet. 

There are a number of streaming device options:

Last update on 2022-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Using a Gaming Console

If you already own a gaming console, such as Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or Wii U, you can use it to stream content to your non-smart TV by connecting the console to the TV via HDMI. 

The advantage of a gaming console over a streaming device is that they don’t require any additional hardware besides the console itself. 

The downside is gaming consoles are expensive, so if you don’t play video games, the other two options above are better. 

Here are some of the better gaming console options: 

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4. Using a Blu-ray Player

Blu-ray players are usually only meant to play blu-ray discs, but there are some now that have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities to connect to the internet to stream media from popular applications like YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and Pandora.

A lot of people still use them because they’re inexpensive and easy to setup. 

They typically only support 1080p HD resolution, which means they won’t look great when playing movies and shows at higher resolutions. 

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How to Install Apps on a Non-Smart TV?

Installing apps on a non-smart TV is similar to installing apps on a smart TV. The main difference is that you may not have access to all the features available on your smart TV. 

To install apps on your non-smart TV, you’ll need to use one of the above options to connect your TV to Wi-Fi first. Then follow these steps:

1. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store.

2. Open the downloaded file using iTunes or Google Play.

3. Select “Install” to install the app.

4. Once installed, open the app and log in using your credentials.

5. You should see an icon appear on your Home screen after installation. 

Tips for Your TV’s Wi-Fi Internet Connection

Wi-Fi connections are generally slower than wired connections, and may also tend to be more susceptible to interference. Here are some tips to get faster internet speeds: 

Move Your Router Closer to the TV

For best results, make sure your router has a strong signal and doesn’t interfere with nearby electronics. 

You can move your router closer to the TV to improve the signal strength. This will help increase the speed of your connection. 

Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Router

Make sure your router has enough bandwidth to handle the load of multiple devices connected at once. If you’re having trouble getting a good connection, consider upgrading your router to a newer model that supports Gigabit Ethernet. 

If you currently have a router that was made before 2015, consider upgrading to a newer model. Older routers are less efficient and provide weaker signals.   

Use an Ethernet Cable

An Ethernet cable provides a direct connection between your TV and your internet router, bypassing the need for a Wi-Fi adapter. Ethernet cables are generally used for networking purposes. They plug into the back of your router, but they also come with adapters that allow them to work with other devices.

Most older TVs do not include Ethernet ports, so if you want to connect your TV to a networked device, you’ll need to buy an adapter. Roku does include Ethernet ports on its cheapest model, but they’re only included on the top-of-the-line version.

How To Watch YouTube On An Old TV?

YouTube is the most popular video streaming website in the world, and it’s no surprise why. It has a huge library of videos that are easy to access and watch on your smart TV, laptop, and more.

However, if you have an old television or projector with limited capabilities, watching YouTube won’t be possible without a connection to the internet.

Luckily, there are several ways to be able to watch YouTube on an Old TV:

  • Using a streaming device like Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick, Amazon Fire Stick, etc.
  • HDMI cable or adapter with a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone
  • Using a gaming console that can have a YouTube app installed on it. 

Connect Non-Smart TV to Wi-Fi Final Thoughts

All in all, connecting a non-smart TV to Wi-Fi is pretty straightforward. It just requires a little bit of patience and planning ahead to ensure everything works as it should. 

Here are some other articles that you might be interested in: 

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Written by:

Greg Randall
I have a passion for Smart Home Technology and love to write about it! I’ve been swimming in the world of home automation for years now. I’ve purchased many smart displays, smart thermostats, and now I’m onto playing with smart TVs. I’ve been having so much fun here talking to other people who are as passionate as me about smart homes. In my free time, I like to snowboard and explore new restaurants with friends while having some wine too!