The television is probably the electronic device we use more than any other in our homes. You have a nice big one, with a great image and colors, but would you like the functionality of the modern smart ones?
How to Turn a Normal TV into a Smart TV
Don’t worry, there is absolutely no need to change it, but you can simply use a dedicated device that costs little and allows you to add a myriad of features to it. That’s right and in today’s article, I show you how to turn a TV into a Smart TV without having to spend a fortune.
Today, in fact, it is possible to buy a series of devices that allow you to implement all those features that are in the new models of smart TVs, in anyone, even very old.
In addition to connecting the TV to the internet, they allow you to browse the web, consult sites, read news, watch videos on platforms such as YouTube, streaming movies from Netflix or the like and much more. Plus, you can control everything from your smartphone!
Basics for starting on the right foot
Before going into the tutorial, and to see the devices with which you can transform your normal TV into a smart one, it is necessary to deepen the subject a little and to understand both what we are talking about and a little about this technology.
There is a lot of talk about smart TV, but not everyone is clear about the topic and the difference between the different types of devices. For example, there are fairly old TVs that, however, were equipped with various types of applications and some might call them smart, but compared to the new generation ones, there is a huge difference.
Then someone confuses the various external boxes with the TV itself, so a little clarification is necessary and before starting let’s understand the basic concepts.
What is a Smart TV?
A smart TV is one of the latest advances in television technology when it comes to home entertainment. It’s a bit of a mix between a computer and a television – it connects to the internet and has several programs installed with which you can use a number of unique features such as streaming movies, browsing websites, and even playing games. The word “intelligent” refers precisely to these features.
There are currently several types of TV devices called Smart, and to the uninitiated, it may seem that all of these devices have the same functions.
In fact, this is not always the case! Or rather, the basic ones are always identical, there are also other additional ones, however, which depend on both the manufacturer and the operating system installed above.
What is a multimedia Smart Box?
The multimedia box is the most complete and powerful device you can have to completely overhaul your TV and equip it with functionality that a smartphone, tablet or even a PC has.
It is a device that has an important operating system on which various programs, games are installed and also has internet connectivity. Some models even come with an internal hard drive for downloading and saving web movies for later viewing.
The most famous multimedia box of all is the AppleTV which has somewhat revolutionized the way of watching TV, but in Italy there is also that of TIMVision which is a perfect alternative, especially for those who have this fixed network at home and can combine the various packages while saving on monthly passes.
TV Dongle: the HDMI multimedia player
The first devices to equip the old TVs with Smart features were the so-called Dongle or multimedia players that connect via HDMI. The big limitation is that they only work on televisions that, in fact, have an HDMI port, so their use is more limited, but the features are too.
The most famous dongles are Google’s Chromecast and amazon’s Fire Stick which are capable of turning your regular TV into a Smart TV controllable from smartphones and tablets.
Compared to the Boxes they are decidedly more limited: even if they have their own operating system, both the functionalities and apps and the power are limited.
Although however, they are not able to offer all the versatility of a multimedia box, they have great advantages and still allow many operations such as streaming both from the internet and of movies from phone and PC, as well as to use applications with games and more.
Precisely because they are more limited, they are also significantly cheaper and often suffice for most of the functions we would like from our television: you may not have to spend a fortune to have everything you need on your television.
How to make a TV Smart
If you understand what has been said so far, you will have understood that to bring smart features to your old TV, you just need an external device. Today there are really many with prices ranging from a few tens of euros and reaching over 200, as for the AppleTV 4K.
Each of these will help you improve the experience with your TV and take it to a new level: often even the most basic functions offered make a big difference and, once tried, many never want to go back.
Which one to buy and how much to spend, however, it all depends on your needs, on the features you are looking for and, of course, on the TV you have.
Below I show you the best devices to have, with strengths and weaknesses of each, so you can make a more informed choice and inform yourself a little before moving on to purchase.
These are the best donges and boxes to turn a TV into a Smart TV:
Currently, the best box ever is the AppleTV, on one condition: your smartphone, tablet or pc must all be from the apple! Only, in fact, you will be able to use this device in a unique way.
Currently the Cupertino house has two models: the Apple TV HD and the 4K one which is probably the most advanced multimedia box ever. The features and potential of this device are truly incredible and I assure you that it will completely revolutionize the world of streaming and home cinema.
This multimedia box is much more advanced than any current smart TV and is worth buying even if you have a latest generation TV.
For example, a smart TV can be used with Netflix and Amazon Video, Roku and other streaming apps, it also has Youtube, but still has so many limitations. Apple TV, on the other hand, is a complete entertainment hub with a host of other applications and access to the unique features offered by the Apple ecosystem.
Although it has a remote control, you can control it from your phone and any other device and you can use it like a real one. The HD variant has an internal memory of 32 GB while the AppleTV 4K you can also have it with 64GB. It should be noted that the latter has the A12 Bionic Chip inside which is the same mounted on some iPads and iPhones.
You have access, in addition to TV +, to the Fitness + apps to follow your workouts on the TV, instead of on the phone and Arcade, which makes this device a real console capable of entertaining young and old.
It will be the most advanced tv box but it is also the one with the highest price, but maybe it mitigates the fact that with each new device you get 6 months of AppleTV + for free. Here are the current offers on Amazon:
ChromeCast is one of the first famous and widespread devices on a large scale with which to transform a TV into a Smart TV, be able to connect it to the internet and control it directly from your smartphone, tablet and others.
ChromeCast is a dongle that attaches to your TV via HDMI and is controlled from your phone. If the first models were limited enough, now this very small device is very advanced and offers a myriad of possibilities.
After connecting to your home wifi network, it allows you to watch streaming movies and programs, as well as videos from Youtube. You can also view photos and videos on your TV or listen to the music you have on your smartphone, without having to connect them via cable. It doesn’t stop there: ChromeCast is compatible with major pay TV apps such as DAZN, Disney + and HBO Now.
The only thing it lacks, however, is the remote control which would make it even more convenient. You can manage it all from the phone which is certainly convenient, but also limited.
Nevertheless, Google Chromecast is the HDMI device that I most recommend to make your TV smart, especially if you have an Android phone, given the very wide compatibility.
Cheap and powerful, it doesn’t have much competition in the dongle industry. Obviously, compared to the Apple device it lags behind, but it also costs a third, if not less.
Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon is among the most versatile multimedia device manufacturers because it offers both dongles and tv boxes, but the Fire Stick is the one with the best value for money. It costs very little and offers a ton of features and apps thanks to which you will use your TV in a totally new way.
The Fire Stick is an HDMI dongle that comes in four versions: Lite, normal, 4K and 4K Max. Unless you have a UHD resolution TV I recommend the regular one which costs slightly a little more than the lite, but has a much more convenient remote control and Dolby Atmos compatibility to create a truly unique home cinema.
The differences between 4K and 4K max, on the other hand, are many more. From the hardware point of view it has both a more powerful processor and WiFi 6, very useful when streaming in ultraHD definition and you need a very fast and stable connection. The RAM is 1.5Gb against the 2GB of 4K Max which can also take advantage of live view mode and Picture in Picture window.
Amazon closes with a flourish with the Fire TV Cube which, with the octa core processor and advanced features, aims to be the rival of AppleTV. It is certainly very functional and decidedly cheaper, but it is not yet at the level necessary to compete with the device of the apple.
These devices, in addition to being cheaper than the others, offer a myriad of features thanks to the many apps, especially those dedicated to streaming such as Netflix, Prime Video, NowTV and even Mediaset Infinity or RaiPlay.
It also has a memory of 8G on which you can save videos and movies to watch them later. There aren’t many, but a film fits in perfectly.
If you are not in a hurry to buy one, wait until they are on offer, as Amazon often launches them with huge discounts.
A fourth device device is the one offered by TIM and is called TIM Vision. It is a multimedia box that provides the offers of the largest telecommunications company in Italy and has an integrated Chromecast. This makes it possible to install tons of apps.
More than a multimedia device, it is a decoder with smart functionality that is ideal for resurrecting any older TV and offers you a myriad of possibilities within your smartphone or remote control.
We are talking about decoders because TIMVision Box allows you to also watch classic TV channels and integrates the new digital TV standard ( DVB-T2 ), which will soon become the only one to be used.
In addition to watching television programs broadcast on various channels, it also provides you with a huge number of truly unique on-demand content.
Although it is possible to buy it freely, the box is free for those who activate a TIMVision television offer. You can find out all the details directly here, on the TIM website, or buy it on sites like Amazon where you could find it at a great price.
Check latest buyer’s guide about best smart tvs reviewed by Getflink.
We spend more and more time in front of the TV but not to watch classic TV channels, which are increasingly boring and broadcast old movies over and over again, but to watch content on demand. Smart TVs take interactivity and home cinema to another level, thanks to numerous apps and streaming services and more.
Unfortunately, they cost a fortune and, if you already have a good TV, nice big one, thanks to the dongles or multimedia boxes you don’t have to spend a fortune to change it. Thanks to these devices you can turn it into a smart TV in seconds and revolutionize the way you watch television.
Not only do you save money, but you have even more functionality and control than tons of new models on the market.