How Do I Know If I Have A Smart TV?

Smart TVs have evolved in much the same way as smartphones. We use to have flip-phones that didn’t really do much by today’s standards.  You could call and text, but that was about it. Just as nearly all phones produced now are smartphones, most TV’s manufactured today are smart TVs.  What kind of TV do you have?

The easiest way to know if you have a smart TV is to check your remote and menu options for an Apps section.  See if it has apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix or Hulu. Also, see if there is a menu section for network connections such as WiFi or an Ethernet port on the back of the TV.  If you’re still unsure, google your TV’s model number.  

If you determine that your TV doesn’t have these features, there are aftermarket components to transform your older TV into a Smart TV.  We’re going to go over several options, but first, let’s make sure you have a basic understanding of everything surrounding Smart TVs.

The Fire TV Stick is a little larger than a flash drive and plugs into your HDMI port with a power cord coming off of the side to plug into the wall.  The accompanied remote has a built-in push button Alexa feature so you can use voice commands to search for shows, pause, play and etc.

Finally, if you want to shell out a few more dollars, you can upgrade to 4K resolution with the Fire Stick 4K.

Note:  You can also connect your Amazon Echo to your Fire Stick 

The Cube sports an Ethernet port straight out of the box if you prefer to hardwire your Internet connection rather than use your home WiFi.  This, of course, can make for more efficient streaming, but by today’s standards tends to be more relevant for 4K streaming.

Article post on: howto.tungchinguyen.com

If your TV doesn’t support 4K, this isn’t an issue, but if you do want 4K resolution you will need the Fire TV Cube or the Fire Stick 4K.  If your Wifi can’t keep up with the 4K streaming, then you’ll need to utilize the Ethernet connection built into the Fire TV Cube. If you do decide to purchase a Fire Stick 4K, you’ll then possibly want to grab an Ethernet adapter for it.

The Fire TV Cube also has an Alexa Smart Speaker built into its base, so if you don’t already own an Amazon Echo you kind of have 2 purchases in one.  

Unlike previous versions, the Chromecast with Google TV does have a remote its own remote.  This is a step up from having to control everything from your phone or tablet using the Google Home App and integration from 3rd party supported apps.   

Article post on: howto.tungchinguyen.com

You can do just about anything (as far as streaming from the most popular media services) that the other popular devices do.  It also has Siri built-in just as Fire TV has Alexa and Google Chromecast has Google Home.  

That being said and simply put, this is an option I need to explain to you, but it isn’t recommended. 

The Roku Premiere has a great interface though.  Some may like the interaction better than other streaming media devices.  They have about as many Apps available as Fire TV, but Fire TV wipes them out in the Gaming app department. 

Article post on: howto.tungchinguyen.com

The remote control isn’t quite as good as the Fire TV remote either.  It uses IR technology so you’ll need a direct line of sight to control the Roku.  You can’t hide the box behind your TV if that’s the case. There is the option (for quite a price increase) to get the Roku Premiere Plus which solves that issue.

Table of Contents

A Few More Things

Conclusion

Again, if you buy a new TV today it’s probably going the be an HD Smart TV.  It’s come to be pretty standard. You’ll know it’s a Smart TV by the Internet connection and third-party app capabilities. 

If you find you don’t have a smart tv, then you can convert an older TV with an external streaming media player.  I would recommend purchasing the Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube.  

You can also view my article on using Alexa with your Fire Stick here.  

Article post on: howto.tungchinguyen.com