Smart TVs & Wi-Fi: 19 Common Questions (Answered)

When smart TVs infiltrated the market, home entertainment changed drastically.

With smart TVs, there’s no need to squint at your laptop’s small screen or connect your computer to your TV to watch your favorite programs!

Here’s What You Need to Know about Smart TVs and Wi-Fi:

Modern smart TVs come with Wi-Fi connectivity as a convenient way to connect your TV to the Internet without the hassles of setting up wires across your home. As long as your Internet speed is at par with the standards set by the streaming service, you won’t have much issue connecting wirelessly.

1. Do All Smart TVs Work with Wi-Fi?

Modern smart TVs now have the option for Wi-Fi or LAN connectivity, which makes it possible to go online for streaming services.

Earlier smart TV models only had LAN ports, which needed a cable connected to a router or modem to work.

2. Do Smart TVs Come with Wi-Fi?

Most smart TVs now come with Wi-Fi compatibility, as well as an option for Ethernet connection.

3. Do You Need Wi-Fi for a Smart TV?

A smart TV does not become useless when there is no Wi-Fi!

You can still watch free-to-air channels, content from your USB drives or Blu-Ray players from the HDMI port, or satellite or cable content, if you have those set up.

But if you want to access streaming platforms such as YouTube or Netflix, then you will need to connect to the Internet.

Usually, smart TVs come with two options for connecting to the Internet: Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

If your smart TV does not have Ethernet, then you need to have Wi-Fi to access streaming platforms.

4. Can You Use a Smart TV without Wi-Fi?

You can use a smart TV if you don’t have Wi-Fi, as you can connect to the Internet using an Ethernet connection. 

You can use the Ethernet connection on your modem or router to connect your smart TV to the Internet.

But even without the Internet connection, you can still use your smart TV! However, it will be limited to non-Internet based activities, such as watching free-to-air channels, cable or satellite TV, or media that uses the HDMI port of your smart TV.

5. Can You Use a Wi-Fi Dongle with Your Smart TV?

There are third-party Wi-Fi dongles that you can plug into your smart TV for access to mobile broadband. 

These products come in handy when your smart TV does not have built-in Wi-Fi access or if the Wi-Fi is not working.

6. What Exactly Do You Need to Connect Smart TVs to Wi-Fi?

Aside from having a Wi-Fi router, which is often bundled with the modem of your Internet connection, your smart TV must have a built-in Wi-Fi antenna or receiver. 

Most modern smart TVs have a built-in Wi-Fi antenna or receiver.

7. How Do I Disable the Wi-Fi on My Smart TV?

You can disable the Wi-Fi connection on your smart TV in the settings menu.

The steps to disable in the settings vary for different manufacturers, so it’s best to consult the smart TV’s manual.

8. How Much Bandwidth Do Smart TVs Use?

The bandwidth needed for a smart TV depends on how you use it.

  • If you are looking to watch content in Standard Definition, you will need a speed of at least 3 Mbps.
  • But if you are looking to stream at 4k resolution, then you should have a bandwidth of at least 25 Mbps.

Note that different streaming platforms have their own speed requirements.

  • Netflix, for example, recommends having at least 5 Mbps for High Definition (HD) and around 12 Mbps for Super HD.
  • YouTube, meanwhile, recommends having at least 2.5 Mbps for HD 720p streaming and 20 Mbps for 4k streaming.

9. Do Larger Smart TVs Use More Bandwidth?

The size of your screen does not affect the amount of bandwidth you use. However, the screen resolution you choose to stream in will affect your bandwidth.

As pointed out before, the higher or better the screen resolution you choose, the more bandwidth your smart TV will take up.

10. Can You Restrict the Bandwidth on a Smart TV?

You can limit the amount of bandwidth your smart TV uses by adjusting the settings in the individual apps that need an Internet connection.

Services like Netflix let you set video quality so that it won’t take up as much bandwidth.

This feature comes in handy when you want to watch a movie, but someone else needs high-quality bandwidth for, say, a video conference.

11. Can You Connect a Non-smart TV to Wi-Fi?

On their own, non-smart TVs cannot connect to Wi-Fi.

But if you install devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Stick, which add smart TV properties through the HDMI port, you can connect your non-smart TV to Wi-Fi.

12. How Do I Know if My Smart TV is Connected to Wi-Fi?

The best way to check if your smart TV is connected to your Wi-Fi is through the Network settings.

Here, you can check the exact status, including possible issues, should you have any connectivity problems with your apps.

13. How Do You Reset Wi-Fi on a Smart TV?

You cannot reset the Wi-Fi connection through your smart TV.

Instead, you need to turn off and unplug your Wi-Fi router for 30 seconds before turning it back on.

14. Does a Smart TV Only Use Wi-Fi for Video Streaming Platforms?

While smart TVs use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet so that you can access different videos, it also uses Wi-Fi for other purposes.

Remote Control

You can turn your smartphone into a remote control for your smart TV.

Many modern smart TVs have a smartphone app that lets you control your TV from your phone.

To do this, download your smart TV’s app onto your phone and connect them through the same Wi-Fi network.

Screen Mirroring

Using your TV’s remote to search on your TV can be awkward and difficult. It‘s much easier to look for content by typing on your phone or computer.

With screen mirroring, you can connect your computer or phone to your TV, so you can search for content on an easier interface, then broadcast it onto your TV screen. 

In order to do this, your device and smart TV must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Services like YouTube and Facebook have easy interfaces that let you mirror videos on their platform onto your smart TV.

You can even add videos to the queue without interrupting the video being played. This feature requires you to have the corresponding app (such as Facebook Watch and YouTube) installed on your smart TV to use.

Automated Home System

Your smart TV, when connected to the Wi-Fi network, can join your automated home system.

If your smart TV has Google Assistant or Alexa, you can connect it to your smart speakers so that you can operate your smart TV via voice command.

You can set commands to have your smart TV increase or decrease volume, play a video, or even turn on or off when you want it to.

Web Browsing

Many smart TVs have built-in web browsers, or you can install web browsers onto your TV through the app store.

Being able to access the web using browsers allows you to browse the web on a large, high-definition screen.

Note that browsing is not a Wi-Fi exclusive feature and can also be accessed through Ethernet.

Learn more about using your smart TV with a browser in our article Smart TVs & Web Browsers: 11 Answers For Beginners.

15. Do You Need Wi-Fi to Watch Cable TV Channels?

Wi-Fi is only for watching content on Internet-based streaming platforms and does not give you access to cable TV.

You need a cable box to watch programs on cable channels.

Cable TV and Internet streaming may offer some of the same content, but they operate differently and independently from each other. Note that many cable television networks now have apps you can access on your smart TV.

To learn more about cable boxes, check out our article about cable here

16. Why Does My Smart TV Keep Disconnecting from Wi-Fi?

There are a few factors that might be causing your smart TV to disconnect from the Wi-Fi network. Here are some of them.

Router Location

If your house is relatively big, the router location matters.

Let’s say your smart TV is located in one corner of your house and the router is located in another corner. That can affect the stability of your connection with your smart TV.

You don’t have to put the smart TV and router right beside each other, necessarily, but you should ensure there are no blockages that can interfere with your Wi-Fi connection, and that they are not too far away from each other.

If moving the router is not practical, you can try getting a Wi-Fi Range Extender.

Signal Interference

Your smart TV may experience signal interference from other wireless devices.

These may include wireless gaming controllers for your console, baby monitors, and sometimes microwaves, although modern devices have resolved this last interference.

Any large, metallic objects in the path of your router to your smart TV can also cause signal interference.

The best way to resolve this is to keep the router close to your smart TV.

But if this isn’t possible, the best next thing is to reduce the number of metallic objects within the path of your Wi-Fi router.

Unauthorized Devices

If you have not set a password for your Wi-Fi connection, unauthorized devices may be accessing your Wi-Fi and causing disruptions to your network.

If you don’t have a password on your wi-fi network, other people could be unintentionally or intentionally connecting to your wi-fi and creating issues or disruptions.

That is why you need to keep your Wi-Fi networks secure with a strong password!

Bandwidth Congestion

While you may have a high-speed connection for your Internet, if you have a lot of devices connected and streaming at the same time, you could end up with slow connectivity or ejection.  

When you have too many gadgets online under one network, eventually, the quality of connection gets compromised and the network will eject some connected devices.

If you regularly need to use a lot of Internet-connected devices, consider getting a dual-band router and splitting device loads.

Using a Wireless Connection

Wi-Fi itself can be the culprit on why your smart TV gets disconnected.

While Wi-Fi is an excellent and convenient option, given all the possible hindrances, smart TVs, or any device for that matter, stand to have a more stable connection when using a wired connection.

If you’re having connectivity issues, try using the Ethernet port instead of Wi-Fi, if possible. It may not improve speed, but it will fix the stability of your connection.

17. Can You Use any Wi-Fi Frequency with a Smart TV?

With most modern Wi-Fi routers, you will encounter the term Dual-Band.

Dual-Band refers to the two frequencies your Wi-Fi router can work in.

These two frequencies are 2.4 and 5 GHz. You can think of these frequencies as roads, wherein the 2.4 GHz frequency is your ordinary neighborhood road, and the 5 GHz frequency is a highway, which can accommodate more traffic.

Now, your smart TV can operate on both frequencies. But, where it works best still depends on the demand of your streaming services.

Ideally, you would want your smart TV in the 5 GHz frequency so you can experience HD content with fewer hiccups.

The lower frequency works best for non-intensive devices, such as smartphones, or daily browsing on the web or social media.

18. Is it Better to Use Ethernet over Wi-Fi on a Smart TV?

Choosing to use Ethernet or Wi-Fi for your smart TV’s Internet connection depends on a few factors.

Note that Wi-Fi and Ethernet coming from the same modem or router will have relatively the same speed.

But the difference between them is about convenience.

  • Wi-Fi brings you the convenience of being able to set up your smart TV wherever you want to put it. You don’t need to run cables all over your house to connect your smart TV.
  • Ethernet, meanwhile, gives you the convenience of stable connections. But that also means having to set up long cables from your router to your smart TV, which can be a challenge if your router and smart TV are not in the same room.

If you are after flexibility, Wi-Fi may be your best bet. But if you are fairly certain that you won’t be doing any significant decor rearrangements, Ethernet can be a great choice.

19. Is it Safe to Use Your Smart TV with Wi-Fi?

The safety of using a smart TV with Wi-Fi depends on your comfort level with your cybersecurity. 

Smart TVs also have security measures in place. For example, you cannot update the payment information for apps on your smart TV. You need to use your browser or mobile device to make payment changes to your account.

While this is a good layer of protection, there is still some risk when using Wi-Fi and Ethernet on your smart TV, just as with any other device.

When you connect your smart TV to the Internet in general, manufacturers collect data on your TV-watching preferences, and sometimes even the ads that did or did not work for you. The data they receive from your viewing habits is what they sell to marketers.

Now, even if smart TVs have the option to let you opt-out from data collecting activities, you cannot be quite sure that they’re really respecting your privacy.

And of course, with the Internet comes the risk of hacking.

Hackers can gain access to your login credentials if they manage to enter through your smart TV. They can then sometimes manage to access your credit card information. There are even cases of hackers accessing your smart TV’s camera and audio functions. 

One thing you can do to keep your smart TV secure is to use a VPN service.

There are plenty of good VPN services available for smart TVs that protect you from data breaches and hacking.

But if you are not comfortable with using VPNs and are worried about cybersecurity, you can disable your smart TV from the Internet.

Final Thoughts:

Smart TV’s ability to connect with the Internet is what makes them so, well, smart. You can stream, browse, and access apps, all from your TV.

And unlike an Ethernet connection, a Wi-Fi connection with your smart TV means you don’t have to deal with wires.



How to Connect a Smart TV to Wi-Fi

Do Smart TVs take up Bandwidth

Are Smart TVs Wireless? (Solved & Explained!)

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