There was plenty of interesting advancements in home based entertainment within the last couple of years, but one is unique: smart TVs. Internet connected TV screens that pipe through all kinds of video on demand and then some. Everyone from Samsung to Philips will be vying to encourage doubters just why their smart TV is the smartest.
However the big brands aren’t telling you something: the television you have got in the living room is already smart. It’s not that hard to transform your flatscreen to a web TV with gear you have in all probability already, without cost. Keep reading, and we’ll explain to you how.
Got a gaming system?
Got an Xbox 360 console or Sony PS3? Then you’ve got the ideal smart TV money can get already. Both have access to an entire range of services already, including ESPN, Syfy, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and several other available services. Both consoles can stream media directly from your laptop or computer. Sony’s gaming system can also be controlled with the remote control that is included with most advanced TVs. Both provide lots of content in HD, though Xbox users will have to pay the Gold subscription for everything other than the basics.
It is possible to get some of the services on the Nintendo Wii too, though not in high definition. Movie streaming service Netflix is also included in the Wii Shop Channel. If you would like stream your video from a PC, you can utilize a free application called Orb.
Some Blu-ray players (particularly Sony and Samsung models) will come with with web services built-in, so have a look in their instruction manuals to determine.
Tablet double duty
If you’ve got a tablet handy, you’ve probably got another smart TV option too. Every generation of Apple’s iPad could be connected to a TV using the official Digital AV Adapter, enabling you to play-back whatever you can view on your own iPad on your own Tv, from iTunes Tv program downloads to iPlayer and YouTube videos.
Got an Android tablet? If it’s got an HDMI (hd multimedia interface) slot perhaps you can do exactly exactly the same, and enjoy Flash video on any website too. It is likely you won’t possess the right cable in the box, but you can pick up a micro HDMI cable on Amazon for under $5.
Use your phone
Without a tablet, an advanced smartphone might also solve the issue for you. Apple’s iPhone works using its Digital AV Adapter in precisely the same way so that you can hook them up with ease and play all of your videos and stream from apps.
If you’ve got an Android phone meanwhile you could be in luck too. Some older Android phones use the same micro HDMI connection as Android tablets – and then there are apps which could permit you to take control of your TV right from your phone meaning you can do it all straight from your sofa.
Newer top of the line phones such as Samsung Galaxy line and HTC One all have a regular sized HDMI cable, but you’ll need something called an MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) adapter to connect it. They are again available through trusted online retailers like Amazon, but once it’s plugged in, work the same.
Connect your laptop
Similar to a tablet, you can always plug in your laptop right to your TV to stream web video like a smart TV. Some laptops use a HDMI connection so a standard HDMI cable will do the trick, while other olders will only have a VGA connector (15-pins in three rows) or maybe a DVI connector (29 pins). If your TV doesn’t have either of them, you can aquire an HDMI adaptor for both that’ll share your laptop’s screen to your TV, however, you may need a different audio cable too.
Many new TVs are “Wi-Fi Ready”, meaning they could be linked to the internet, but you’ll need to purchase another little USB dongle to connect and hook them up to your network. Take a look in the user manual to see if yours is and be sure to search around: you can find discounted prices online, and many accept third party equivalents.
Time to Shop
If you’ve not got any of these, don’t despair: you could make your TV a smart TV using one of many little digital tuners or Android based mini-pc sticks. Google recently released its Chromecast media streamer, priced at $35. Check out our reviews of them all to find out which would be the right one for you.