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

Looking for a little more entertainment? Here's how to get streaming, even if you don't have a smart TV...

27 Mar 2020

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 stuff using a media player, games console, or your computer.

There are lots of different media players available, and 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 and Amazon Video. It also comes with an 'Alexa Remote' that lets you search using your voice.

Amazon also offers 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.


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. That gives you a serious amount of entertainment to choose from. 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, so it's great for giving your smartphone games a big-screen experience!


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


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. The cheapest passes are only a few quid a 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.



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.


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 PlayStation or Xbox... 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 streaming 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.

Got any streaming tips or favourite devices of your own? Comment below and share your thoughts!

Related in Streaming tips

Our pick of the best festive films on Netflix and Prime Video

24 Nov 2021

How to set up Google Chromecast

09 Mar 2021

Which TV streaming service is best for you?

11 Jun 2020

10 great streaming apps on Samsung TV

23 Apr 2020

Top streaming devices for your TV

21 Apr 2020