Different Ways to make your TV smart


Sunday is almost here and you are keen on making the most of it by binge-watching your favourite Netflix series without getting out of your bed. Now that you have made up your mind, you think to yourself, “Would it not be better to stream the show directly on my TV?” Alas, your TV is not among the smart ones sold today! So, will you settle with your smaller laptop with less sound or a headphone around ear? Well, you actually have some alternative ways to make the most out of your TV.

Use a streaming stick
If you have a media streaming stick like Google Chromecast, Amazon Firestick or Roku Stick, you already have everything you need! Streaming sticks are quite popular and affordable now, and there are many options to choose from.

All these devices follow similar process of installation and are aided by mobile applications. Usually, media devices connect to the television via HDMI ports.

Connect the device to your TV and turn it on. You will find the welcome screen along with the device name and a website URL from where you can download the necessary application. Use your smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android) to download the application. If you are using a computer (Windows or Mac), visit the URL displayed on the screen, download the application in your computer and open it.

Attaching the Google Chromecast to the TV (Source: techadvisor.co.uk)

Select Connect to Devices option. Your streaming device will be detected by the application. Minimise the application and go to your Wi-Fi settings. You will see a network of the streaming device listed. Connect to the network and go back to the application. (This step is not necessary if you are using a computer.)

The application will connect with your device through a passcode, which is displayed both on your application as well as TV screen. Once the app detects the device, it will allow you to select your home Wi-Fi network and rename your device. Provide your Wi-Fi credentials. Now the application as well as the streaming device will set up and connect to your home network on the TV.

Connect to a gaming console
If you own a gaming console like PlayStation or Xbox, you can stream the Internet from your TV directly when you’re not playing videogames. Different gaming consoles offer multiple connectivity methods to televisions—be it via audio-video wires or HDMI cables. Each console has Settings option, where you can set up the connectivity with your home Wi-Fi. Choose options similar to Network Settings. A dropdown menu will appear with names of all the Wi-Fi networks available.

Choose the one you want to connect to and provide the access credentials. Voila! You are now connected to the Internet. The consoles can also store media files like images, videos and audios. You can also scroll through them on your TV. You can even watch movies directly from disks on your TV connected with your gaming console. You can conveniently use the system by attaching a keyboard or mouse via USB or Bluetooth.

Using Raspberry Pi with OSMC
Those who own a Raspberry Pi computer can use it to turn their TV into a media-centre. You will need to download OSMC, which means Open Source Media Centre. It is a freely available software that launches a media streaming platform. Before connecting to the TV, first download OSMC in a drive and install it in the Raspberry Pi.

Using OSMC

Next, connect Raspberry Pi to your television and run OSMC. You are now ready to stream the locally stored media files on your TV. You can also connect to the network. Explore the Raspberry Pi Settings menu and connect to your home Wi-Fi for availing this facility.

And finally, using your laptop or smartphone

If you don’t have any extra gadgets but own a laptop, you can put it to use. Get an HDMI cable. Connect its one end to the laptop’s HDMI port and the other end to the TV, and use it to mirror your laptop screen on your television.

You can do the same with your smartphone or tablet. You need an additional Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) cable for the purpose. Attach microUSB port of the MHL cable to the smartphone. Then insert one end of the HDMI cable into the open end of the MHL and the other end into the TV. Now, you are ready to surf your phone or tablet on your TV.

Connecting the smartphone to a TV via HDMI (Source: CNET)

It is a good option to watch movies and video files or surf media sites like Netflix or YouTube. It is also a great way to play games on your device, especially while using a laptop. The only limitation to this is the wiring, which may prompt you to set yourself closer to the TV.

All these methods are cost-effective and very simple to execute. Many of these devices are often available in households. So make use of what you have and make this Sunday the holiday you dream of!