By now, chances are you’ve probably heard of smart TVs. With built-in wireless Internet connection and a suite of apps, having a smart TV means you can stream movies and shows, listen to music and watch videos. Some include a browser for surfing the web.
Cool, right? But maybe getting a smart TV, which can be a bit pricey, doesn’t fit into your budget right now. Here’s an idea: With a host of accessories out there, you can learn how to make your TV a smart TV without breaking the bank.
To up your television’s IQ, you first need the right hardware. If you’re a Verizon customer with a plan that has at least 10 GB of data, consider LTE Internet (Installed).* The fast-connecting router uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network to deliver high-speed Internet service to your home so you can take full advantage of high-definition (HD) technology.
Accessories for any budget
For the budget-conscious, a streaming media player such as the Belkin Miracast™ will allow you to enjoy online video and music on your TV. Simply plug it into your TV’s HDMI port, connect it to your Wi-Fi network and use your smartphone or tablet to stream videos or music to your TV. Miracast simply mirrors your mobile device screen onto your television screen.
Investing in an HDMI cable is another inexpensive option for making your TV a smart TV. Many of today’s smartphones, tablets and laptops can use an HDMI cable (or an MHL or HDMI adapter), so you can directly hook them up to your HDTV. Whatever appears on the device will then show up on the TV.
Speaking of smartphones and tablets, there are other ways you can use your mobile devices to make your TV a smart TV.
With two different technologies built into mobile devices and TVs, you can easily send media content from smartphone to TV via your home Wi-Fi network. A DLNA® (Digital Living Network Alliance) certified phone, such as the LG G5, can connect to a DLNA-certified TV as long as both devices are connected to the same Internet router.
With Miracast™ technology, smartphones communicate with any other Miracast-certified devices (not just TVs) over a Wi-Fi network. That means the two devices communicate directly with each other instead of through the router.
If both smartphone and TV come from the same manufacturer (whether they use DLNA or Miracast technology), they may include apps that enable the connection process or let you mirror your mobile device screen directly on the TV. One example is the Samsung Galaxy S® 6, which uses the AllShare® app to stream content to compatible Samsung HDTVs.
Hooray for Blu-ray
Blu-ray players, which have become more affordable over the years, are also a good way to make your TV a smart TV. Many of today’s Blu-ray players are Internet-connected, offering the same video-streaming options compared with other devices. A good number of models also feature apps for Facebook®, Twitter and Flickr, not to mention music services and a web browser.
As a bonus, Blu-ray Discs™ provide better HD picture quality and sound compared with streaming services.
Let the games begin
How about watching Blu-ray movies, enjoying the same features of a smart TV and playing awesome video games, all rolled into one?
Although a bit more pricey than other accessories that will make your TV a smart TV, the titans of today’s gaming world—the Xbox® One and PlayStation® 4—could make a nice addition to your living room.
Both gaming consoles offer online subscription services including a host of apps such as Amazon Instant Video and Crackle for streaming movies, sports, listening to music and more.
Both gaming systems also have built-in Blu-ray players. And when it’s time to let loose, both consoles let you play cutting-edge, eye-popping games in dazzling high-definition glory.
No matter what your budget is, you’re bound to find an accessory that will help you figure out how to make your TV a smart TV.