How to stream TV and movies through a non-smart TV

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By Mike Atherton 20 Nov 2017

With the success of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, streaming movies and TV shows has never been more popular. It means you can watch what you want, when you want, and you don't have to sit through all those annoying adverts.

Smart TVs usually come with apps built-in, but don't worry if you don't have the latest smart TV, you can still stream stuff using a media player, games console, or your computer.

There are lots of different media players available, here are some of the most popular ones.

Amazon Fire TV

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The Amazon Fire TV Stick plugs into the back of your TV, and lets you download apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video, and YouTube. 

The Fire TV Stick is available for £39.99, and comes with an 'Alexa Remote' that lets you search using your voice. Amazon also offer the new, and more powerful Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD for £69.99, and it also comes with Dolby Atmos audio, so not only does the picture look great, it sounds amazing too.

Google Chromecast

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The Google Chromecast is a dongle that plugs into the back of your TV, and you control it using your smartphone or tablet. There are over 200,000 apps for it, like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Now TV. Just find what you want to watch on your smartphone and tap the 'cast' button to play it through the Chromecast.

You can also use it to 'mirror' your phone's screen, which is great for playing smartphone games on your TV.

The Chromecast is available for £30, with the more powerful Chromecast Ultra, offering 4K Ultra HD streaming, available for £69.00.

Apple TV

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Apple TV is a small box that connects to your TV and lets you download apps from the App Store to stream movies, TV shows, and music. You get a 'Siri enabled' remote with it, which lets you use your voice to control it. The remote also has a built in accelerometer so it can sense movement, making it great for playing games.

Apple TV starts at £129 for the Full HD version, or £179 for the Apple TV 4K, which offers the best viewing experience with Ultra HD resolution.

Now TV

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Now TV is a subscription free service from Sky. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, you just buy the Now TV box and pay for the films and TV shows you watch. You can also buy 'Passes' for different types of content like Sky Cinema, or Sky Sports. These cost as little as £2.99 per month and there's no contract so you can cancel it whenever you like.

There are plenty of other apps you can download to your Now TV box too, like BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and Spotify.

You can pick up a Now TV Box for as little as £19.99 including a free Entertainment, or Movies Pass.

Roku

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Similar to the Firestick, and Chromecast, the Roku stick plugs into the HDMI slot in the back of your TV and comes with a remote control. It lets you stream content from services like Netflix, Amazon Video, and Now TV, and you can also download apps like Deezer, and VEVO to stream your favourite music.  

The Roku Express, which streams Full HD content, is available for £29.99, or there's also the Roku Streaming Stick+, which offers 4K Ultra HD at £79.99.

Games consoles

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If you're just looking for a way to stream movies and TV shows, we certainly wouldn't suggest splashing out on a PS4, or Xbox One, but if you already have one, they're a great way to stream content. You can download apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Now TV, and Spotify. Games consoles also pack a lot of processing power compared to other streaming devices, so apps tend to run very smoothly.

PC and Mac

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You'll be able to access steaming services from most computers and laptops – as long as you have an internet connection. In most cases you just need to go to the website for the streaming service you're using, and sign in to your account.

Most laptops and computers can be connected to a TV using an HDMI cable, which essentially turns it into a Smart TV. 

Find out more about connecting your computer, or laptop to a TV here.

Hopefully that's everything you need, but if you want some more help or have any questions, you can get in touch with our experts from Team Knowhow here.

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