Will A Smart TV Work Without Internet Connection?

Recently I found myself being without an internet connection. The cable company was working on the lines and said I wouldn’t have a connection for a couple of hours.

It was my day off from work and all I wanted to do was watch my favorite show. I was bound and determined to watch my show on my smart TV which lead me to question if I could get my smart TV to work without an internet connection. 

A smart TV can work without an internet connection, but you won’t be able to access any streaming apps or advanced smart features. However, a workaround to this is to use a cell phone or other device with data to cast your preferred streaming content to the television. It’s not ideal, but it works when you really need to use it. 

If you don’t have the internet at all where you live but still want to have a smart TV, I’ll fill you in on everything a smart TV can do without the use of the internet. 

What Can A Smart TV Do?

Think of a smart TV as a regular television with internet connectivity. It can do everything a traditional television can, but you can download apps, connect your smartphone to them, and even browse the internet on them. 

Before 2005, there wasn’t a reason to own a smart TV. There weren’t a ton of streaming services and there would have been no benefit to having a smart TV. Now, countless streaming apps offer new content. These include Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling, YouTube, and more. 

Thanks to smart TVs, you can download all of these apps to your TV and access these services instantly as long as you have an internet connection of some kind. 

Using a smart TV gives you the option to stop paying for cable altogether. Most times, multiple streaming services combined can cost less than traditional television services. Unfortunately, you’ll need an internet connection for this to work. 

In addition to streaming, smart TVs are also capable of voice recognition. You would be able to control your TV with voice commands. You may also be able to incorporate different aspects of your home from your smart television. 

Some may wonder how a smart TV connects to the internet, which is why I’m going to take some time to discuss it. 

How Does A Smart TV Connect To The Internet?

A smart TV requires a couple of things to get connected to the internet. This includes built-in internet functionality such as 802.11ac or Wi-Fi and an internet connection via wireless or ethernet. 

If you have a WiFi router, your TV will connect wirelessly through the network. You could also use an ethernet cable as long as your smart TV has the required port. 

Why Buy A Smart TV If You Don’t Have An Internet Connection?

Because Smart TVs Offer Additional Features

Smart TVs offer more features than you may think, much more than a traditional television set. Smart TVs have multiple HDMI ports as opposed to 1 or none that a traditional television would have. 

Today, we connect more devices to our televisions than ever. Whether it’s an Xbox, Playstation, DVD player, or streaming stick, there are plenty of HDMI ports available. In addition to a significant amount of HDMI ports, smart TVs have better overall video quality compared to traditional televisions. 

On smart TVs, you’ll also be able to connect optical video cables, headphones, Bluetooth devices, surround sound, and more. Some smart TVs allow you to connect your phone to them to use it as a remote control. Other smart TVs offer built-in voice control such as Google or Alexa. 

The additional features on smart TVs are there to make our lives just a little easier and more fun. 

Because Smart TVs Are What’s Available

We need to face the fact that smart TVs have officially taken over traditional TVs. There aren’t many places that are selling traditional televisions anymore. Even if it’s the simplest television you can find, it probably has some sort of internet connectivity on it. 

As of 2022, it’s estimated that 71% of all households have at least one connected smart TV. More people are buying smart TVs and manufacturers notice this. This is the reason why these are what’s mainly available and why you would have to buy one if you needed a new TV.  Whether you actually use it as a smart TV is a different story. 

You can’t walk into a Walmart or Best Buy without seeing the latest smart TV on the floor. They’re always displayed with huge banners explaining why it’s better than the last version. Unfortunately, even “dumb” TVs are smart in a way and the price tag isn’t too far from that of an actual smart TV. 

Smart TV Features That Require Internet

Streaming Services

Streaming is the ability to receive or transmit data over an internet network to allow continuous flow and playback of services. These services can include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more.

These services require a steady network connection to stream your favorite shows to your television. If you have no internet, streaming won’t work. Even if you were to purchase a Fire Stick or Roku stick, you would still need an internet connection. 

Downloading Apps

Smart TVs have a store on them where you can go to download apps. These apps can be for the weather, casting, or streaming, In order to download the apps, you need an internet connection. Some smart TVs will come with pre-installed apps that don’t require installation. 

Firmware Updates

As with many devices, smart TVs will occasionally require firmware updates. These updates keep your TV up-to-date with the latest firmware. Usually, when a new function is added to the TV, it will perform a firmware update. These updates will require an internet connection as it receives the information through the web.

Firmware updates improve your television’s performance, improve the home screen for easier navigation, and will prevent your TV from restarting on its own when the “home” key is pressed on the remote. 

Voice Features

If you have a smart TV that has Alexa, you will not be able to use the voice assistant feature unless the device is connected to the internet. The voice commands can be helpful if you lose your remote or are in a different room and want to turn the volume up to hear what’s going on with your favorite TV show. 

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues

Not all smart devices are free from issues. One of the most common issues that a smart TV has is a faulty internet connection. If you want to use any of the features listed above, but your internet isn’t working, here are a couple of reasons why: 

No Connection

If you consistently have an issue getting your TV to connect to the internet wirelessly, then try switching to an ethernet cable instead. If you get a connection with this, then you know it’s a problem with your Wi-Fi. If it doesn’t solve the issue, consider resetting your router. You can do this by performing the following steps: 

  1. Unplug all wires from the back of your router 
  2. Wait 2 minutes
  3. Plug all cables back in
  4. Try the connection again

Weak Connection

If you’re facing intermittent connection problems, see if there’s a firmware update available. If there isn’t, ensure there are no other devices nearby that may interfere with your internet connection. This can include microwaves, monitors, phones, etc.). Resetting your router can also solve this issue. 

Smart TV Features That Don’t Require Internet

Connect Devices

You don’t need an internet connection to hook up your favorite wired devices. As long as you have all of the required connections, you can connect various devices such as Blu-ray players, DVD players, Satellite TV, etc.

You can even connect Bluetooth devices since they don’t require an internet connection to use. Bluetooth can be used to send information from your phone or tablet to yoru TV. You can use this to transmit sound or you can even cast a video from your phone or TV. 

Watching Media

The Blu-ray and DVD players that you may have hooked up don’t require an internet connection to watch. You can also plug in a computer and view anything on it as long as you have the required hookups required such as HDMI cables or USB plugs. 

Streaming Local Media

If you have a USB thumb drive or SD card, you can use those to view media on your smart TV without the internet. As long as your smart TV has the proper ports, such as an SD or USB port, you can plug these devices to view pictures, videos, and movies that are stored on them. 

Stream With The Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV

If you have Wi-Fi but not a smart TV, you can use an Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV to stream live data. The Fire Sticks and Apple TV are designed to plug into your TV via HDMI cable and stream from your home’s Wi-Fi network.

From there, you can access platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services downloadable on these streaming sticks. 

If you have or plan to purchase one or both of these devices, here’s how to set them up: 

Amazon Fire Stick

  1. Purchase the Fire Stick
  2. Connect it to your TV using an HDMI cable and plug the deceive into the proper power socket using the adapter
  3. Turn on the TV and select the correct HDMI port
  4. Pair your remote with your TV by pressing the home button until a prompt appears
  5. Continue to follow the instructions to connect to Wi-Fi
  6. Sign in to your Amazon account

Apple TV

  1. Connect  your Apple TV to your smart TV using an HDMI cable and plug the device into the proper power supply
  2. Turn on your TV and choose the correct HDMI port
  3. Follow all on-screen instructions to configure the internet connection and other settings
  4. Sign into your Apple account

Concerns When Using A Smart TV Without An Internet Connection

Smart TV Cost

We all know that smart TVs aren’t cheap, especially the ones that come with all of the bells and whistles. On average, a small simple smart TV can cost around $100 more than traditional televisions.

The price can go all the way up into the tens of thousands of dollars for the fancy, huge televisions that an average person wouldn’t even consider purchasing. Why spend all of that money when you don’t have the internet connectivity to use its amazing features?

Smart TV Firmware Updates and Why

Smart TVs can’t get the proper firmware updates without an internet connection. If your TV doesn’t keep up with the newest updates, it won’t function as it should.

If you’re shelling out a significant amount of money on a smart TV, you’re going to want it to work the way it was meant to. Additionally, these firmware updates correct issues and bugs that your TV may be experiencing. 

Fortunately, if you don’t have an internet connection but you do have cell phone data, you can use your phone’s hotspot to obtain an internet connection. Once you do this, you can receive the firmware update. 

Account Creation During Setup

One last concern I have about a lack of internet connection is the account creation required during setup that you may face. A lot of smart TVs will require you to create an account and “login”. This will be followed by immediate software updates.

You can’t create an account without an internet connection, so you won’t receive the required software updates that allow your TV to run effortlessly. 

Fortunately, this isn’t very common, but more brands are requiring this, so do some research before choosing the smart TV you may be interested in.


Owing a smart TV without an internet connection doesn’t have to be an inconvenience. If you don’t plan to stream, but want to use the TV for video games or a DVD player, you will still receive optimal viewing and premium sound. I use a small smart TV as a computer monitor because of how vivid the picture is. 

If you don’t plan to use the smart TV as a smart device, it will certainly work well for other devices that don’t require an internet connection. They can cost $100 or more, but this is the standard price for pretty much any regular TV you will see for sale at the store.