Will a Smart TV Work Without Internet Connection? (Not Always)

Can a smart TV work without an internet connection?

Smart TV without internet connection

A smart TV will work with or without an internet connection. You can watch your TV channels with your internet box or router. You can watch Blu-ray and DVDs, connect a computer or speakers and antenna, etc. However, you will not be able to use all the functions of the smart TV.

A smart TV has a purpose, but first, let’s take a look at what a smart TV can do.

What can a Smart TV do?

What can a smart TV do that a regular TV can’t? Can we use a smart TV as normal TV?

A smart TV is a regular TV with the ability to connect to the internet. The internet connection allows the TV to use internet applications, just like your smartphone can while connected to internet.

Although present for 25 years (Netflix has just celebrated 25 years in 2022), it is only since the democratization of the Internet in homes that video streaming platforms have started to take off. Before that, there weren’t many advantages to having a TV with an Internet connection and they were expensive.

Now there are lots of video streaming apps and services like Disney+, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling, etc.)

A smart TV can download apps directly to your TV and access video streaming services in a matter of seconds.

With a smart TV, you can sometimes stop paying for streaming subscriptions on the side and just use your smart TV to watch YouTube and Netflix. You will still need an internet connection to do so.

These streaming services are sometimes directly included with your internet provider subscription.

The latest generations of smart TVs have built-in voice recognition. So you can turn your TV on and off with your voice, change channels or choose a movie. In some cases, smart TVs are compatible with home automation, allowing you to control your home from your TV.

Smart TV Features that Require Internet

Some features of a smart TV that require an internet connection to work:

  • Downloading and updating apps on your smart TV.
  • Streaming Services: If you’re looking to use streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc., you will need internet.
  • Keep smart TV software up-to-date.
  • Voice Features: If your smart TV can work with Alexa, you will need internet to use the voice assistant.

Smart TV Features that Don’t Require Internet

Not all features require an internet connection:

  • Watch photos and videos using a USB stick (if your TV has USB port).
  • Watch a Blu-ray or DVDs.
  • Connect Devices with Bluetooth like speakers, headphones.
  • Play video games with a console like PS5, Xbox, Nintendo…

Why buy a smart TV if you don’t have an internet connection?

You know that a smart TV works with or without an internet connection and we know what a smart TV can do, what is the point of buying a smart TV if we don’t plan to use its smart functions?

Reason 1: Because smart TVs have more features

Smart TVs offer more features than standard TVs.

Even if you don’t use the internet, a smart TV have more HDMI ports than a normal TV.

We can connect multiple devices, wired or Bluetooth and in some cases, connecting devices requires an HDMI port. This is the case for connecting video game consoles, cable boxes, internet boxes, Blu-ray players, etc.

Having more connecting ports means you don’t have to disconnect a device to connect another in its place and you can leave all your devices connected to your TV. A smart TV has enough connection ports to avoid this problem.

Smart TVs also tend to have better picture quality compared to regular TVs because they benefit from the latest technologies.

Reason 2: Because there are a lot of streaming platforms

More and more people are buying smart TVs in order to use another device to access the internet and streaming apps.

Because yes, nowadays, most homes have computers, laptops and tablets. I regularly use my laptop to watch Netflix during my lunch break.

Good to know

Wonderering how you can connect a normal TV to the Internet? There are cheap streaming sticks and devices like Amazon’s Fire Stick, Apple TV and Google Chromecast to plug directly into the TV.

Even video game consoles today like Xbox and PS5 allow video streaming apps to be downloaded and accessed directly.

Reason 2: Because smart TVs are what is being sold today

For some time now, the ratio of smart TVs sold has exploded. That is to say that the majority of new TVs sold have smart functions. This is the market trend.

More and more consumers are buying smart TVs (39% in 2021 according to a quechoisir survey ). Therefore, your next TV purchase will likely be a smart TV, as it’s what’s being made and sold the most lately.

So whether or not you use the smart functions of your TV, it will already be ready to connect to the internet the day you need it.

Buying a smart TV even if we don’t plan to use the internet yet is not a bad idea because it is not just about the internet connection.

A smart TV costs about a hundred dollars more than a TV without internet. This price difference is decreasing recently and soon almost all TVs will have built-in smart services like Alexa or others (whether we use it or not).

Problems of using a smart TV without an Internet connection

There are a few downsides to using a smart TV without an internet connection.

– Smart TV software updates

Another disadvantage is that the connected TV will not be able to benefit from software updates.

The software is built into the TV, just like Windows is into a computer.

Manufacturers regularly update their software via the Internet, but there, it will not be possible.

Why does a connected TV need software updates?

Software updates are made when new features are introduced or to correct problems identified for certain users (bug).

Here are examples of common smart TV software updates:

  1. Improved ergonomics and navigation in the TV menus and allowing better usability
  2. General speed improvement
  3. Bug fixes and anomalies identified in the software code
  4. Adding new services and functions

If your TV is smart and has an internet connection, it will automatically receive these patches and updates.

Without an internet connection, a smart TV will not be able to receive updates.

However, this is not dramatic because since your television is not connected to the Internet, this means that you do not use many of these basic functions.

– The purchase price of a smart TV

The first is the purchase cost . On average, connected TVs cost a hundred dollars more than conventional, unconnected TVs. In addition, the cost gap is narrowing and there will soon be no point in buying a TV without an internet connection.

– Problem need creating an account when installing a smart TV

It is possible to encounter a problem installing a smart TV if it is not connected to the internet.

Some smart TVs require you to create an account right away and log in to update the software. More and more brands require this step.

If you have this problem with a Samsung TV, watch this video to know how to setup a Samsung smart TV if you don’t have Wifi:

You can also try to use your mobile hotspot as the internet connection.

How to connect a smart TV to the Internet (2 options)

Apart from rare exceptions, you know that a smart TV works with and without the Internet. but that you will not have access to all services without internet.

To take advantage of video streaming and online TV series, you must connect your smart TV to the Internet and have 2 options:

  1. Wireless Option (WiFi)
  2. Wired Option (Ethernet)

Obviously, you need a good internet connection to have a good video quality. This is increasingly the case these days with the development of fiber optics.

1) How to connect smart TV to WiFi wireless

Today, the majority of smart TVs are Wi-Fi enabled, you simply need to enter your Wi-Fi password on the TV. The good news is you won’t have visible cables! You will appreciate it.

All you need is press the Menu button on your remote, then Network settings and Set up a wireless connection.

That is it! You won’t need to connect any wires to your TV. This gives the option to choose where to place the smart TV in the house because the only limit is the distance of an electrical outlet.

Do not forget that the TV must remain within range of the router for a strong enough WiFi signal.

2) Connect a smart TV to the Internet via Ethernet cable

Another possibility to connect a smart TV to the Internet is to use an Ethernet cable (still very common, especially for the main TV). Plug the Ethernet cable into the TV and the other end at the back of the router. It usually won’t require any password.

This option is best for a most stable and faster Internet connection, but the downside is that there is a cable.

Because cables are usually short, you will also need to setup the TV close to your router, (unless you have a very long Ethernet cable and don’t bother crossing the house and be less aesthetic).

Best 4k non-smart TV

Some people don’t want a smart TV even if it works without an internet connection. They just want a good TV with a great image and their favorite classic channels.

They don’t want to mess with technology, maybe you do.

Some manufacturers still make televisions that are not connected to the Internet. In my opinion, the best “snon-smart” classic 4k TV you can buy is the RCA 40-Inch 1080P Full HD LED.

RCA 40-Inch 1080P Full HD LED Flat Screen TV

→ Check on Amazon

This TV has sharp contrasts of light and dark. The LED screen is very beautiful and the bright colors make the images crisp, pleasant to see.

And there are 3 HDMI ports in case you decide in the future to plug in a connected dongle to make this TV smart (Firestick, Chromecast…)

Best 4k smart tv

For a bit more but a very reasonable price, the SAMSUNG UN50TU7000FXZA 50 inch 4K + Smart TV is a pretty good deal.

SAMSUNG 50-Inch Class Crystal UHD TU7000 Series - 4K UHD Smart TV - Works with Alexa...

→ Check on Amazon

Wrapping it up

A smart TV will work without an internet connection but…

No, you will not be able to use all the built-in apps and functions like video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime or others.

If you plan to use a smart TV without an internet connection, you should know that:

  1. You will not be able to use smart TV functions
  2. The price difference between a smart TV compared to a normal TV is quite small
  3. You won’t be able to get TV software updates without internet
  4. You may not being able to use it in case of an account creation request for the first use
  5. You will not benefit from the improvements in the usability of the TV menus, the fixes of bugs and anomalies identified in the software code

So… is it better to buy a smart TV without an internet connection or to buy a normal TV that is not connected?

Knowing that the lifespan of a TV is around 7-8 years, we recommend to buy a smart TV even if you do not plan to connect the internet for now. It will save you from buying additional devices the day you need internet on it. (depends on what the future will be…)