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How to get Surround Sound from streaming TV ROKU, FireTV, Netflix, Hulu

You need home internet service to gain access to the internet for your TV to get content.

How to setup home internet service

Make a non-Smart TV into a Smart TV

How To Turn Your Old TV into Smart TV

There are a number of devices which can access internet content and be connected to your TV. Blu-ray players, Game consoles, laptops and PCs to name a few. You can even mirror your iPhone to your TV. The least costly way is to use a TV stick such as the ROKU or Fire TV devices which connect to your home internet service usually by Wi-Fi and then on to your TV.

What makes a TV Smart?

Internet communication to view almost limitless content. Smart TVs have a few more parts inside them than older non-smart TVs. Yes, you can view broadcast TV (no internet required) on a Smart TV just like a non-smart TV. With a smart TV you can also view internet content.

Smart TVs have a chip inside that runs code, usually proprietary code called an Operating System or OS to operate the user interface, load apps and control the display.

In addition an Ethernet and Wi-Fi circuits for internet communications. The smart TV is almost like a traditional computer but the user interface is limited as compared with a Windows or Apple computer.

Each TV maker usually has their own OS and so you must check to make sure it has what you are looking for in your TV.

Samsung Smart TVs run an OS called Tizen while LG runs WebOS. Roku TV runs on quite a few Haier, Hisense, Insignia, Sharp and TCL TV models. Android TV runs on Sony, Phillips, and others.

Amazon Fire TV has their own OS while some TV makers run several different OS on different models within the same manufacturer. Always check the Specs for the TV.

Amost any TV can be turned into a smart TV by connecting a device which can communicate over the internet. These are available from


• Amazon - FIRE TV

• Google - Chromecast

Apple offers the Apple TV box for those in the Apple universe.

These devices typically have the HDMI connector to connect to a TV but if your older TV does not have an HDMI input, you can use an adapter. The HDMI to RCA adapter has an HDMI input and a RCA composite (yellow, white, red) output which is connected to the older TV inputs. For a TV without RCA inputs, you can use an RF Modulator setup.

The point is that your non-smart TV can communicate just like a smart TV to view content from the internet.

RF Modulator for older TV without any inputs. Tune TV to channel 3 or 4.

The internet TV or streaming devices are sold by ROKU, Amazon, Google and others. These devices have a computer processor, memory, and other circuits all built in. They have Wi-Fi to communicate with your home network.

Plug the device directly into your TV HDMI input or into the adapter. Plug the adapter (if needed for your older TV) RCA cables into the TV RCA inputs (yellow, white, red). Plug the device into power (usually a wall outlet). Select the proper input on the TV.

Setup the device: select your Wi-Fi home network and enter your password. There are a number of steps to complete before viewing content. Also some content is not free, so you will need to setup a payment option if you intend to view paid content.

ROKU Player for TV

How to Setup ROKU device

How to setup ROKU TV Stick - YouTube

Flat screen TV with HDMI inputs: Streaming stick plugs directly into TV

Old tube TV without HDMI: Streaming stick plugs into HDMI to RCA adapter and RCA cables plug into TV

Be sure to select the correct input source on the TV.

Internet content displayed on old crt TV

YouTube video of a non-smart TV turned into a smart TV

This setup uses an RF modulator since the old TV does not have RCA ports, only a RF coax cable connection. This setup uses a ROKU TV streaming stick with Wi-Fi plugged into a HDMI to RCA adapter and a RF modulator.


Once the TV streaming device is connected to the TV, power on the TV and select the input source that the device is hooked up to such as HDMI 1 or VIDEO or channel 3 or 4 in the case of an RF modulator. You should see the screen to select your Language or some other initial setup screen. Also some remotes use Bluetooth so pairing should be done or it may be done automatically after inserting the batteries into the remote.

Using the remote for the TV streaming device, navigate forward through each screen to select all the initial setup options for your operation. You need to select your home Wi-Fi network and input the password.

You may also need to setup an account. ROKU requires this step. To do this you need a laptop, desktop or mobile phone because ROKU requires you to obtain a code online and then input or verify this code on the TV. Setting up an account requires an email address but there is no charge for the account. Next you can add apps of your choice for the content you want to watch. Some content is free while other content requires a payment.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Stream more than 1.5 million movies and TV episodes from Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Peacock, and more, plus listen to millions of songs. Subscription fees may apply.

Fire TV Stick

How to Setup Fire TV Stick - YouTube

Security and Viewing Habits

Viewing content from internet providers can mean your viewing habits are being tracked. Advertisers are interested in your habits and the providers are often happy to get paid to turn over your information.


Q: Why Does My Non-Smart TV Have an Ethernet Port?
A: Most likely to be used to get firmware updates from the TV manufacturer's website or connect your local media for viewing.

Q: Can I connect my non-Smart TV to my modem/router and get movie and TV show content from the internet over the ethernet port?
A: No. There is more to it than just connecting over ethernet to the internet. The TV must have the capability to process what it receives.

Q: If Smart TVs have built-in capabilities to view internet content, why would I need a device like the ROKU or Amazon Fire TV stick?
A: Smart TVs only have capabilities to show certain apps, and as time goes by, the apps may become updated so that the TV no longer can process them. This is where the cost of a new stick to adapt to the new technology saves you money over the cost of a new TV. Plus your TV may not handle apps available on platforms from content providers moving forward.

Q: My TV is 1080p. Can I view 4K content from a TV stick?
A: No. Your TV cannot display 4K although you may still be able to view in 1080p.

Use Google Chromecast to make an old non-smart TV into a smart TV

A very old TV with a CRT may only have a twin lead antenna input. You can connect some adapters and use your smartphone as a remote control to cast internet content to the TV thereby making the TV into a smart TV. Yes an old TV from decades ago can show YouTube etc. and the volume can also be controlled from the smartphone.

What you need:

• Internet service with Wi-Fi (phone and chromecast on same network)
• The old TV in working condition
• An RF Modulator
• An HDMI to RCA adapter
• A Balun 75 ohm to 300 ohm
• The Chromecast device
• A RF coaxial RG-6 cable
• Three RCA composite cables (yellow, white, red)

1. Connect the Chromecast to the HDMI port of the HDMI to RCA adapter
2. Connect the other end of the HDMI adapter using 3 RCA cables to the RF Modulator RCA inputs.
3. Connect the RF Modulator RF coaxial output to the Balun using the coaxial RG-6 cable
4. Connect the twin lead of the Balun to the TV antenna terminals (VHF)
5. Select channel 3 (or 4) on the TV.

6. On the smartphone, select internet content such as YouTube and cast to the TV

You can mirror the phone screen to the TV or you can use an App provided by the content provider. Using the App will prevent the TV screen from going black when the phone screen times out.

TV online content providers


LIVE TV shows, Classic TV shows, local News and Weather from New York, Chicago, National News, movies and more.


Breaking News, Live events, Classic TV shows, Sports, Family movies and more.


Free Classic movies and much more.

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Diagram RF Modulator

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TV introduction

VCR basics

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