How To Get Netflix On A Non-Smart TV

Watch movies on your old TV

Young woman watches a warm video image
You don't need a smart TV to stream Netflix. Your old TV will probably do just fine.

 Getty Images -

While it's true some TVs have Netflix built-in, not all do. If you simply must have your dose of Netflix but you don't have a smart TV, don't fret. There are some easy ways to get Netflix on a non-smart TV.

This information applies to televisions from a variety of manufacturers including, but not limited to, those made by LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, and Vizio.

First, Buy A Media Player Or Game Console

Apple TV, Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku are the big brands associated with media players that enhance the content of your existing TV, typically through set-top boxes or plug-in accessories. They all offer Netflix compatibility. These devices are all fairly inexpensive and offer different features; this list gives you an idea of what's available and related pricing.

Game consoles like Nintendo Wii, Playstation 4 and Xbox One also can be used to connect Netflix to a standard television.

How to Get Netflix on Apple TV

Setting up Netflix streaming through Apple TV involves downloading the Netflix app from the Apple TV's app store and then signing in to your Netflix account. Older Apple TVs have the Netflix app pre-installed (although you'll still need to sign into your account).

Netflix on Apple TV
Netflix on Apple TV.

To install the Netflix app on Apple TV 2 or 3, simply select Netflix from the menu, sign in (assuming you already have your Netflix account) and enter your password and email. The device will automatically connect to your Netflix account.

To install the Netflix app on Apple TV 4 or Apple TV 4k:

  1. From the Apple TV home screen, select the App Store.
  2. Locate Netflix, then select Get.
  3. Launch the Netflix app.
  4. Select Sign in (existing Netflix account holders) or Start your free month (new Netflix account holders.)
  5. Enter your Netflix email and password.
  6. Start watching your shows.

If you have set up your Netflix account through iTunes, yours Apple TV must be signed in to the correct iTunes account. Select Restore Purchases when you're prompted for your email and password.

How to Get Netflix On Roku

Adding Netflix to your Roku is almost ridiculously easy.


Using Netflix on Roku requires a similar approach as the Apple TV. Initially, from Home, find the Netflix icon. If you don’t see it, choose Streaming Channels from the Home Screen, then Movies & TV. In some cases, you may immediately see a Netflix icon after choosing Streaming Channels.

Once you find Netflix in the on-screen assortment, select Add Channel and then Go to Channel. You’re then ready to watch Netflix content!

How to Add Netflix To Google Chromecast

You can easily mirror Netflix from your phone directly to your Chromecast. However, you can also add the app to your Chromecast.

Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast.

To stream Netflix with a Google Chromecast, first, connect the device to your TV and Wi-Fi network. Then, go to the Netflix website through the iOS or Android app, or access it on a computer with the Chrome browser.

Next, follow these steps:

  1. Sign into your Netflix account.
  2. Select the Cast icon on the right side of the screen. It appears as a TV screen with a Wi-Fi signal icon in the left bottom corner.
  3. Find and select your specific Chromecast from the list. This action launches the Netflix app on your TV.
  4. From there, choose the content you want and click Play.

How to Get Netflix On Amazon Fire Stick

Amazon offers multiple versions of Fire TV. You can even stream in ultra high definition with a compatible TV. However, we're talking non-smart televisions in this article so we'll stick to the basics.

Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon Fire Stick.

To connect Fire TV to Netflix, follow these steps:

  1. Start from the Amazon Fire Stick’s Home screen.
  2. Select Search.
  3. Enter Netflix into the search box, then choose it from the provided options.
  4. The icon next to the Netflix option should say either Free or Download. Select Download.
  5. When the download finishes, select the Open button associated with Netflix.
  6. Select Sign in and log in with your Netflix account information.

Use a Video Game Console To Connect

Some video game consoles also support Netflix streaming. Activating the feature requires going through some straightforward steps that vary by system.

PlayStation 4

Did you realize your PlayStation 4 lets you watch movies? The steps are really pretty simple.

PS4 video apps
PS4 video apps.

These instructions apply to the PlayStation 3 and 4:

  1. Press the PS button in the middle of your PlayStation controller to go to the Home screen.
  2. Select TV & Video.
  3. Select Netflix. The Netflix app will then download to your game console.
  4. Access Netflix from the TV & Video section of your home screen. Log in as usual.

If you don’t see Netflix as a choice in the TV & Video section, go to the PlayStation Store. From there, choose Apps, then Movies/TV. Find and select Netflix, then the Download button.

Xbox One and Xbox 360

You can download and watch Netflix from both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Xbox One video apps
Xbox One video apps.

From the Home screen of the Xbox, navigate to the right to access the Store. Then follow these steps:

  1. Click Apps.
  2. Select Netflix.
  3. Click Install.
  4. Click Launch after the app downloads.
  5. Sign into your Netflix account, and look for content to watch. (After initially signing into Netflix once you download the app, you can find a Netflix icon on the Xbox Home screen.)

Nintendo Wii and WiiU

Netflix works very easily even with older versions of the Wii. These steps will work from an old Wii or newer versions of the WiiU.

Nintendo Wii
Nintendo Wii.

Follow these steps to download Netflix to your Wii or WiiU console:

  1. From the Home screen, select the Wii Shop.
  2. Select Start.
  3. Select Start Shopping.
  4. Click Wii Channels from the upper-right corner.
  5. Select Netflix. Note: In some cases, the Netflix icon appears before you click Start Shopping.
  6. You’ll see either a Download or Free option. Notice that each one has a 0 Wii Points designation with it.
  7. Choose Wii System Memory on the Download Location screen
  8. Click Yes to confirm. Wait for the Download Successful message.
  9. Go back to the Home screen where you can click the Netflix icon to sign into your account and look for content.

Connect Your Laptop to the TV With a Cable

With the help of a specialized cable, you can connect your laptop to your TV, then stream Netflix from the laptop and watch it on the television screen. Your television will need to have at least one HDMI port and your laptop will need to have a video out port. The required HDMI cable to connect the two devices should cost less than 10 dollars.

Laptop connected to TV
You can also connect your laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable.  Photo by Oliur Rahman on Unsplash

If you have a MacBook type of computer, rather a Windows PC, you may need to buy a Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) adapter. Make sure you to check which port your Mac has before buying the cable.

Once the devices are physically connected, you'll need to know which input to tell your TV to display. Check the port you've plugged the new cable into (the ports are usually labeled) and tell your TV to use that. Typically your remote will say "Source" and you click that until you find the one that matches where you've plugged the cable into.

Then, go to Netflix using a browser on your laptop. If you don’t hear anything but you do see the Netflix images on the TV, check your laptop’s sound settings.

It’s often necessary to specify to your computer that you want to use external speakers — in this case, the ones on the TV — instead of the laptop’s integrated speakers. Here's how to do that:

On a PC

  1. On Windows, click the Start button, then choose the gear icon to go to Settings.
  2. Type Sound into the search box, and hit the Enter key on your keyboard. Choose Manage Audio Devices from the results.
  3. Once the settings window loads, select the Playback tab, then click the icon representing your TV or the HDMI output.
  4. If your system shows the Not Plugged In message, check both the computer and laptop connections again.
  5. After selecting the HDMI Output, click the Set Default button, which should now be active.
  6. Don’t see an image on the TV? Press the Windows key + P.
  7. Then, select Duplicate or Second Screen Only. You should then see your computer desktop showing up on the TV screen. If not, verify you’ve chosen the correct TV output setting and try again.

On a Mac

  1. Go to System Preferences by clicking the Apple icon in the top left or the System Preferences icon in the dock.
  2. Choose Sound. Once the options appear, select the Output tab along the top.
  3. Select the TV’s speakers as your choice.
  4. If you're not seeing anything come up on your TV screen, go to System Preferences, either from the Apple menu in the top left corner or the icon in the dock.
  5. Choose Display. When the options appear, click the Arrangement tab.
  6. Click the Mirror Displays checkbox.

After making those adjustments, you should see the MacBook’s screen content on your TV, meaning you’re set up to watch Netflix.

Invest in a Smart Blu-ray Player

Although some Blu-ray players only accommodate Blu-ray discs, most — marketed as smart Blu-ray players — have built-in streaming capabilities that let you watch Netflix content.

If you’re not ready to buy a smart TV but are open to purchasing other types of smart devices, a smart Blu-ray player could solve your Netflix-streaming needs.