The Cheap way to Make any TV a Smart TV

Smart TV’s can bring a number of benefits to your home AV setup from a multitude of on demand media content to apps and internet browsing capabilities all accessed directly through your TV set. If you have yet to jump on the smart TV bandwagon but are still considering whether replacing your TV for a brand new all singing all dancing model would be the best idea then give our guide a read first! 

Are you happy with your current TV?

This is the first question to ask yourself.  If you are happy with the performance of your TV set, you like the sharp images and great colour reproduction but the only thing it is missing is the smart features then our advice is to keep your current setup and buy one of the many devices that can turn your regular old TV into an internet enabled smart model.

So how can I make my current TV smart?  Do I have to take it apart and get handy with the soldering iron?

Simple answer to this question. No.  There are a great selection of devices available all relatively cheaply that will quickly and easily connect to one of your TV’s HDMI ports and give you access to all the smart features you are missing out on.

So what are these devices and where do I get them?

There are a growing number of options on the market that will allow you to make your current TV “smart” and it would take weeks if not months to list them all but we have put together a overview of the most popular budget options to get access to the smart features you need

Now TV

This is probably the cheapest option available in the UK at the moment coming in at a paltry £14.99 directly from the makers: http://www.nowtv.com/box This nifty little box will give you instant access to all the free on demand content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5, and also has access to an app store where you can download the likes of YouTube, Spotify, Vevo and Facebook for easy access to their services from your TV set.  You also have the option to add what they call “passes” which you can buy for periods lasting anywhere from a day to 6 months to get access to exclusive content from Sky Sports, movies, or Entertainment channels that you would otherwise need a SKY satellite subscription to be able to watch.

Amazon Fire TV

This kit works in a similar way to the Now TV setup and is available directly from Amazon.  Prices range from £34.99 for the Fire TV stick which is roughly comparable to the Now TV box and go up to £79.99 for the top of the range box which gives you the added benefit of 4K video streaming. You will have access to the same basic on demand TV content from the 4 major UK free to air networks but also have the addition of the thousands of movies and TV shows available on Amazon prime instant video.  You will require a subscription to Amazon prime to access the additional content making this a great option if you already shop with amazon and have the Prime account and still competitively priced at £79 per year even if you are newly signing up to it.

Google Chromecast

Available directly from google or through many high street retailers this is another of the cheap options available on the market coming in at around £25.  Chromecast works in a completely different way to the other two options.  Instead of having a box with its own apps and user interface accessed by a separate remote control like the other 2 google chromecast is controlled entirely through your mobile phone or laptop.  Chromecast works with iPhone®, iPad®, Android phones and tablets, Mac® and Windows® laptops and Chromebooks.  Once you have chromecast enabled on your phone you simply find the content you would like to watch on the big screen and press the cast button and google's magic in the background does the rest.

There are of course many other options on the market but these ones are around the cheapest and in our opinion the easiest to use.  So before you go out and splash the cash on a brand new smart TV have a look how smart your TV can become for a small investment in one of these options.

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