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

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 content 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


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. It also comes with an 'Alexa Remote' that lets you search using your voice.

Amazon also offer the more powerful Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD which also comes with Dolby Atmos audio, so not only does the picture look great, it sounds amazing too.

Get the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD

Google Chromecast


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.

Get the Google Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra

Apple TV


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.

Get the Apple TV or Apple TV 4K

Now TV


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.

Get the Now TV Smart Stick with HD & Voice Search or the more powerful Now TV Smart Box with 4K & Voice Search



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 streams Full HD content, or there's also the Roku Streaming Stick+, which is more powerful, faster, and offers 4K Ultra HD streaming.

Get the Roku Express or Roku Streaming Stick+

Games consoles


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


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.

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