Can You Use Roku on a Non-Smart TV? We Tried It

Roku streaming devices can be a great addition to your home viewing experience, thanks to the vast library of movies and TV shows that they give you access to.

Roku earns its popularity among users not just because of the different options it provides but also because of how easy it is to set up.

A few days ago, out of curiosity, I decided to try and connect my Roku streaming device to an old TV I had at home to see if I could get Roku working on a non-smart TV.

Because I was unsure how to do this, I decided to look for solutions online.

After spending a few hours going through different articles and forum threads on the subject, I was able to figure out how.

To connect your Roku streaming device to your non-smart TV, connect it using an HDMI cable. If there’s no HDMI port, connect it using composite video cables or a composite-to-HDMI converter.

This article will serve as a step by step guide that provides you with detailed instructions on how you can connect your Roku streaming device to your non-smart TV with ease.  

What is the Difference Between a Non-Smart TV and a Smart TV? 

Smart TVs have been out for quite a few years now, so it’s no surprise that almost every home has at least one smart TV.

Because smart TVs have become so common, it can be easy to forget what sets them apart from traditional TVs.

The main difference between smart TVs and traditional TVs is that smart TVs come with a host of pre-installed apps and can access the Internet.

Traditional TVs only let you view regular cable channels and any devices that may be connected to them, like DVD players.

In contrast, smart TVs let you do all that and access different streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and apps like YouTube.

Can You Connect Roku to a Non-Smart TV?

Yes, it is possible to connect your Roku device to your non-smart TV.

Roku makes use of HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface), which means that it can transmit audio and video to your TV irrespective of whether it is a smart TV or not.

Even if your TV does not have an HDMI port, it is still possible to connect your Roku device to it either by using composite video cables directly (if your Roku model supports it) or by using a composite to HDMI converter.

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How to Connect Roku to a Non-Smart TV? 

Connecting a Roku streaming device to your non-smart TV is relatively straightforward; all you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Before you proceed to connect your Roku to your TV, make sure that you have all the required equipment in place. These include the Roku streaming device and its remote, a pair of batteries, an HDMI cable, an AC charger and the user guide.
  2. Power on your television. While you can still connect your Roku to your TV while it is powered off, it is better to keep it turned on so you can know immediately if your TV was able to detect the Roku device.
  3. Place the batteries into the remote. Make sure you position the batteries correctly when inserting them into the remote.
  4. Find the HDMI port on your television. It is usually located on the back of your TV and looks wider than what a regular USB port would look like.
  5. Once you find the HDMI port, plug in the HDMI cable and connect it to your Roku device. In the case of a Roku streaming stick, you don’t need an HDMI cord as you can plug it directly into the port.
  6. Next, power on your Roku by connecting it to an AC charger. If you are using a streaming stick, you don’t need to worry about this step.
  7. If your TV has multiple HDMI inputs, make sure you select the right one. When you select the correct input, you will be able to see the Roku welcome screen.

Once you see the welcome screen, it means you have successfully connected your Roku device to your TV.

You have essentially converted a normal TV into a Smart TV.

The only thing left for you to do now is to set up your Roku device, which we will discuss later in this article.

How to Connect Roku to an Older TV with No HDMI Port?

If you have an older TV that does not have HDMI ports, you don’t have to worry as you can still connect your Roku device to it.

Roku comes with many different variants, some of which are compatible with composite video cables.

If your Roku device does not support composite video cables, you can purchase a composite to HDMI converter.

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To connect your Roku device to your older TV, all you need to do is follow the same steps listed above, using composite video cables to connect the devices together instead of an HDMI cable.

Setting Up Roku After Connection

Once you have successfully connected your Roku device to your TV, you need to set up your Roku to be able to use it.

To set up your Roku device, follow these steps:

  1. The next step is to pair the Roku remote to your TV. To do this, all you need to do is follow the instructions that appear on your screen.
  2. During the setup process, you will be asked to set up your internet connection. Roku offers two options – Wireless and Wired. If you choose Wireless, you will be redirected to a screen where you have to select your home WiFi network and enter its password. In the case of Wired, all you need to do is connect your Ethernet cable directly to your Roku. If you are using a Roku streaming stick, you will have to purchase an Ethernet adapter separately to allow for a wired connection.
  3. If your Roku has any pending updates, it will proceed to do so automatically. Once the update is complete, you may be required to restart your device. You will also be asked to detect the display of your TV. In this case, all you need to do is to use your remote to detect your television’s display.
  4. Once you have completed all this, all that’s left to do is to log into your Roku account. If you don’t have one, you can create an account via the Roku website or smartphone app.

Once you log in to your Roku account, you can begin streaming your favourite content.

How to Connect a Non-Smart TV to the Internet?

Since non-smart TVs do not come with any pre-installed apps like Netflix or YouTube that require an internet connection, these TVs do not come with any feature to connect to a network, unlike Smart TVs which can still work without Internet, but they essentially become regular TVs.

Thus, to Connect your Non-Smart TV to Wi-Fi/Internet, you will need a streaming device such as Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, or in this case, your Roku streaming device.

The streaming device acts as a link between your TV and your home WiFi network, allowing you to stream the Internet, or in this case, watch your favorite TV shows and movies.

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You Don’t Need a Smart TV to Connect Your Roku

You can see that you can connect and use your Roku streaming device, irrespective of the kind of TV you own. 

If your Roku device setup fails, it could indicate an issue with the connection at any point.

Ensure that the cables (HDMI or composite) are correctly secured and that there is no problem with your home WiFi network.

If you are still unable to fix the issue, contact Roku’s Customer Support, and they will help you troubleshoot your issue.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Roku not connecting to my TV?

The most common reason for your Roku not connecting to your TV is an issue with the HDMI connection.

This can be caused either by faulty wiring or if the devices are connected improperly.

What is the best Roku device to get?

The best Roku device available right now is the Roku Streaming Stick Plus.

It works with both HD and 4K HDR TVs and comes with features like voice search, TV power and volume control, and dual-band WiFi compatibility.

What is the difference between Roku TV and a smart TV?

Smart TVs are any TV that can be connected to the Internet and come with a built-in operating system (OS), while Roku TVs use technology that Roku exclusively manufactures.

Also, since the Roku functionality is directly built into the TV, Roku TV users don’t have to plug in a Roku device into the TV to use Roku’s features, unlike regular smart TV users.

Do all Roku devices overheat?

While it is normal for your Roku device to get warm when used, overheating can be a problem.

You will know if your device is overheating either by the white light on the front turning solid red or when Roku displays a message on your screen indicating that ‘Your device is overheating’.

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