Do I Need a Streaming Device With a Smart TV?

Reasons for and against getting another device

Your smart TV may have a lot of valuable features, but sometimes a streaming stick can do something a smart TV can’t. This guide will help you decide if you need a streaming stick in addition to your smart TV by explaining how to compare features and check alternative methods for watching content.

Do I Need a Streaming Device if I Have Smart TV?

Whether you need a streaming device in addition to your smart TV or not will greatly depend on what features your smart TV has, which functionalities it’s lacking, and what kind of services you want.

For example, if your smart TV has an app for a streaming service on it, you won’t have to buy a steaming stick or box to use it as the app can run directly off of the smart TV.

Here are three example scenarios to give you an idea of what to consider when buying a streaming device for your smart TV.

Example 1: Netflix

Most smart TVs either come with the Netflix app pre-installed or have it for download from their built-in app store. The Netflix app can run directly on the smart TV, and viewers can control it using the TV’s remote control. In this case, you don’t need to buy an extra device to use Netflix.

Example 2: Disney Plus

Disney Plus is a newer streaming service than Netflix that does come installed on some smart TVs, but some smaller TV brands or older models may not support it. In this case, if you want to watch Disney Plus directly on your TV, you will need to buy a streaming device that supports the Disney Plus app.

Example 3: Chromecast

Chromecast is a technology that allows for the wireless casting of media from smartphones, tablets, and computers to other devices such as a TV. Some smart TVs support Chromecast while others do not. If you want to use Chromecast to cast media to your TV, you'll need to invest in a Chromecast-enabled smart device.

Don’t Forget About These Smart TV Hacks for Watching Media

You may be surprised to learn that numerous alternative methods for adding features and watching media on your TV don’t involve built-in tech. Before spending money on a new streaming device, try giving these tricks a go.

  • Cast from your phone or tablet. If your smart TV lacks an app, try using the app, such as HBO Max, on your phone and casting its media to your TV.
  • Connect your smart device to your TV. There are various ways to connect your Android smartphone and tablet or your iPhone and iPad to your TV for watching content.
  • Connect your computer to your TV. You can also connect your computer to your TV to mirror its display and watch content.
  • Use a video game console. Don’t forget that Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo consoles support many smart TV features such as apps and casting. If you own a console, see if it has the feature your smart TV lacks.

Do I Need a Roku Device if I Have a Smart TV?

Whether or not you need a Roku device depends on what features or functionality you want. For example, if you're using a Roku Box or Roku Streaming Stick to access apps like HBO Max and Tubi, check your smart TV because you may already have these apps.

However, if you want a Roku because you're interested in its numerous streaming channels or some other exclusive feature, buying a Roku device could be something you may want to consider.

Why Use a Streaming Stick With a Smart TV?

Streaming sticks can sometimes be helpful when used with smart TVs as they can add features that the smart TV lacks for a fraction of the price of upgrading to a newer TV model.

Streaming stick and smart TV features vary greatly depending on the model and brand.

Here are some examples of streaming stick features that you may find helpful.

  • Wireless casting. Many streaming devices enable wireless casting methods such as Chromecast or AirPlay.
  • More apps. Some streaming sticks support more apps than several smart TV models.
  • Voice controls. Some streaming sticks, such as Amazon’s Fire TV Sticks, feature voice controls and virtual assistants.
  • Enhanced surround sound. Some streaming sticks support enhanced sound processing for apps such as Dolby Atmos. If your smart TV doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, it can be worth a look.

How Do You Stream on a Smart TV?

Streaming content on a smart TV usually involves the following steps.

Casting content to a smart TV from a laptop, smartphone, or tablet is also a common way to stream media on your smart TV.

How Are Video Game Streaming and TV Streaming Different?

When someone talks about streaming content on a smart TV, they usually mean watching media via a streaming app like Netflix, YouTube, or Disney Plus.

While streaming video games via the cloud with services such as Google Stadia and Xbox Cloud Gaming is growing in popularity, when people mention video game streaming, they’re most likely talking about broadcasting gameplay to a service such as Twitch for others to watch.

Video game streaming requires more than just a TV, and the process varies slightly depending on whether you’re using an Xbox and PlayStation or a Nintendo Switch or computer.

  • How do I restart a streaming device on an LG Smart TV?

    How you restart your streaming device depends on what streaming device you're using. For example, if you're using a Roku streaming device, use your remote to navigate to Settings > System > System Restart. To restart your LG Smart TV itself, press the remote's Home button and select Settings > General > Reset, and then follow the prompts.

  • Which streaming device is good for an LG Smart TV?

    LG Smart TVs have many apps available, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, Disney +, and more. Check the LG Content Store for a complete list. Newer LG TVs will also have access to live TV. If you have an older LG Smart TV without live TV, you can use a streaming device such as a Roku or Chromecast to access a streaming app that offers live TV or another service not included in the LG Content Store.

  • What's the best streaming device for a non-smart TV?

    If you don't have a smart TV, consider streaming devices like a Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV Stick. These devices are relatively inexpensive and portable, making them ideal for transferring between TVs. You can also consider an Apple TV; while it's more expensive, you'll be able to use Apple's AirPlay technology to mirror content from any of your Apple devices to the TV.

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