How to Use Netflix Without a Smart TV
Netflix continues to grow in popularity with an estimated 37% of internet users subscribed to its service. With the wide variety of movie genres and TV series available for streaming, Netflix continues to gain more positive reviews from its subscribers.
Netflix can be streamed via smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops, personal computers, game consoles, and streaming media players. Most people prefer to stream movies to their TV, even if you don’t have a smart TV, you can still stream Netflix with other internet-enabled devices.
There are many ways to do it. You can simply connect your laptop to the TV and stream Netflix via a web browser, or hook up your phone to the TV. For a more complicated setup, you can stream Netflix on your TV if you have an internet-ready Blu-ray player or another video component, such as Roku.
This article will explain some of the easiest solutions to watch Netflix without a Smart TV.
Connecting a Laptop to a TV via HDMI
You can download the Netflix app to your laptop or use the web browser, and then use an HDMI cable to connect it to your TV. Make sure that you have an available electric socket nearby since your laptop will consume power and would have to stay on for longer than usual.
Make sure that your TV has an HDMI input available and your laptop has an HDMI output. All newer TVs and laptops should have it. However, some MacBooks don’t, but you can get a Mini Display Port- or Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter.
With that out of the way, follow these steps:
- Connect your TV and laptop via an HDMI cable.
- Change your TV’s video input to HDMI. You can usually do this via your remote by pressing the ‘Source’ or ‘Input’ button until you find HDMI. If it has more than one HDMI input, make sure to set it to the right one – usually HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc.
- When successfully connected, you should see your laptop display on your TV screen.
- Launch Netflix on your laptop’s browser and start streaming.
If the sound is coming from your laptop instead of the TV, or if you don’t hear anything at all, you’ll have to change the sound source on your laptop.
For a PC, you can:
- Type ‘Manage Audio Devices’ in the Search bar at the bottom left of the screen.
- Next, open the Manage Audio Devices Menu.
- Click on the Playback tab and double click on your TV icon.
This should change the default sound output to your TV via the HDMI cable.
Streaming Netflix via Media Players
Various big-name media players such as Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast are compatible with Netflix. You can also use them to stream Netflix from your phone to your TV.
Stream Netflix via Chromecast
To stream Netflix with Chromecast, you should:
- Connect your Chromecast to the TV and to the Wi-Fi network.
- Use your phone to sign into Netflix.
- Tap on the Cast icon on the top right side of the screen.
- Select your Chromecast from the list.
- Play anything that you want and Netflix should stream on your TV.
Streaming Netflix via Apple TV
Depending on the version of your Apple TV, there are two ways to watch Netflix via Apple TV. Apple TV 2 and 3 have a built-in Netflix app. So you only have to select it from the menu and sign in.
If you have Apple TV 4 or Apple TV4k, do the following:
- Download the Netflix app from the App Store.
- Once installed, launch the Netflix app and sign in to your Netflix account.
- The device is now connected to your Netflix account and you can start streaming.
Streaming Netflix on Your TV via Roku
Using Netflix on a Roku device is an easy task, you should see the app on the home screen upon starting it.
If you don’t see the app on your homepage, follow along below to learn how to add it your home screen.
- Scroll down on the Roku Homepage and select Streaming Channels.
- Next, select Movies & TV from the list on the left-side of the screen.
- Choose the Netflix icon from the list and select Add Channel.
- Now, select Go to Channel from the list of options available.
That’s it. You should be able to watch your Netflix shows now. You can even add the channel by visiting the Roku Website and signing into your account.
- Simply tap on the What to Watch menu, then tap on Channel Store and type in ‘Netflix‘.
- Click Install and the Netflix app will automatically download on your Roku device.
Watching Netflix on Your TV via Gaming Consoles
Next-generation gaming consoles such as PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One are all compatible with Netflix. So, if you have one of these consoles, you can get the Netflix app and stream any available content.
- On a PlayStation, just go to the home screen and select TV & Video. Then, choose the Netflix app and it will download to the console.
- With Xbox, go to the Microsoft Store and select Apps. Find Netflix and click Install. Then, launch the app when it’s done.
Watch Netflix on Android or iPhone
You can enjoy streaming your favorite Netflix films and series conveniently on your smartphone device.
- Download the Netflix app from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.
- Once installed, you can log in using your Netflix account and password.
- You can then enjoy hundreds of films right on your smartphone or tablet.
What to Do If You Don’t Have an HDMI Cable
If you prefer to watch Netflix on a bigger screen, you can always cast it to your TV via media adapters like Chromecast. The digital era is bringing us more cord-free technology and casting is one of those services. Free to use and available with most devices (gaming consoles, Chromecast, etc.) you can easily mirror your laptop or smartphone screen directly to a device that is connected to your TV already.
- All you need to do is connect all involved devices to the same wifi network and choose the Netflix content you’d like to watch on a larger screen.
- Tap the Cast icon in the upper right-hand corner and a list will appear.
- Select one of the devices and the content will appear on the screen automatically.
Don’t see the cast icon? It’s likely you aren’t connected to wifi. Toggle wifi on and back off again, then you should be good to go.
What to Do If You Don’t Have Internet
Even in 2021, not everyone has internet. Fortunately, you can still stream Netflix to your TV without the internet. But, here’s what you need:
- You’ll need the HDMI cable connection from your smartphone or laptop to your TV
- You’ll need access to wifi at some point (a restaurant, friends’ house, etc.)
- A Netflix account
Netflix now allows its users to download content ahead of time and watch it later. Simply pull up the show or movie you’d like to download and click the option to download it. This may take a while depending on what all you’re downloading so if you’re in a coffee shop get comfortable.
Once you’ve downloaded your content and you’re set to go, open the Netflix app on your device and tap on the Downloads option. From here, you can start streaming even if you’re offline.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have a Smart TV?
Knowing whether your TV supports Netflix can broaden your entertainment horizons dramatically. But, what do you do if you aren’t sure whether you actually have a Smart TV or not?
A Smart TV is typically defined as a TV with internet capabilities. A lot of the time this simply means it has internet applications like Netflix. If you aren’t sure whether your TV is a Smart TV, look at your remote first. Assuming you have the original remote you should see an apps button (perhaps even a Netflix button). If you don’t see the app button, head over to the TV’s menu and search for apps here.
Of course, if you know the model number, Google it. Not only will you pull up information about your TV but you’ll likely get instructions on how to access the Netflix app if it does support it.
Can I watch Netflix on my TV if it isn’t a Smart TV?
As we’ve explained above, if you have a TV that doesn’t have native Netflix capabilities you aren’t completely out of luck. All you need is a device that you can use with your TV such as Chromecast, Roku, Firestick, or an HDMI cable.
The majority of these devices are fairly cheap and can be picked up at a store or ordered online. Of course, if you have a gaming console such as an Xbox or PlayStation you can certainly use Netflix on those as well.
Even if you don’t have a TV with internet access, you can still use another device to stream Netflix from it to your TV. Regardless of if it’s a Chromecast, Firestick, or laptop, the ability to watch Netflix from your television’s screen is only a few cables, clicks, or taps away.