Cheap way to make my TV smart

So my TV is an 8 year old Samsung but they have removed all the decent apps so it is basically dumb.
I have an old Apple TV but it can’t access the store.

What’s the cheapest way to make my TV smart so I can Netflix, Disney, you tube etc?

Edited to add: Amazon would be great also!


  • +8
    • +1

      Will this get me stuff like Disney (I pay so not looking for a freebie), you tube etc?

      • +1

        Yes, both will.

        Fire TV Stick | Stream Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ and more by Amazon

      • Firestick will.

    • +4

      Vodafone TV is the perfect answer. I'm already running Netflix, Youtube, and Disney+ through it along with the various catch up services. Has access to all the Google Play apps so I'm sure the other primary streaming services would be equally supported.

      • +1

        Best 72 bucks I've spent

    • +1

      Only problem with Firestick is that it doesnt have all the Australian catchup TV channels available as its not recognised as a located in Australia. I think only 2 are available. 7Plus is one of them.
      So most of the Austrailan TV stations (such as SBS) which have broadcasting rights exclusive to/in Australia are not available on Firestick. This includes the FreeViewTV app so thats not a workaround.
      I suspect though that OPs old smart TV would still support all the Australian Catch-Up TV apps so this shouldnt be a draw-back.

      On the other hand Amazon Firestick has access to many android apps either through the Amazon app store or through third party stores such as Aptoide TV.
      BeeTV (via Aptoide TV Store) is a great one available to the Firestick which is not available through Chromecast nor Smart TVs. I got to watch the Star Trek Pickard series through BeeTV for free!
      There are also plenty of other excellent international TV channels and free movie channels such as the FlimRise group to choose from.

      The Firestick Interface is EXCELLENT. Probably the best I've seen.
      And its driven by the Firestick remote so a real life Smart TV experience if not better.
      If you can get the Alexa Voice remote its even better

  • +5

    Mi box s

  • +6

    Love the simplicity of a Chromecast, but requires casting from your devices.

    • Once you have experienced the FireStick your Chromecast will be put in the bottom drawer and only be used to access the Australian catch-Up TV channels.
      And nothing too simple about Chromecast either. In fact its very confusing.
      Its actually a very complicated device in comparison with Firestick. In the instructions are so vague for first time uses that many just give up.
      The proof is the number of used Chromecast constantly available for sale whereas you rarely see a used Firestick up for sale.

      • +2

        That's because nobody buys Firesticks

        • No Mate
          They are a tightly held device

  • +5

    sorry, but smart tvs are dumb. the ui is clunky, and they always discontinue upgrades. they also send info back to the manufacturer, some serve ads.

    Use a set top box, chromecast, or basically anything else.

  • Telstra TV. If you don’t have a Telstra account, you’ll need to borrow one to activate it. Activation process is one off.

    • Doesn’t support Disney Plus to my knowledge

      • Likely coming soon

        • Hopefully - Telstra have been saying that they hope to have it since Disney a plus launched last year!

  • Use chromecast, just cast from one of your devices.

  • +4

    Firestick. $54 at JBHiFi. Easy enough for my ndis clients to use once set up.

  • Pi will make your tv smart.Just add peripherals and Voila you have a desktop PC.

    • I'd advise against this. I tried to run Netflix on my pi and it's been a total hassle trying to get that to work. And I consider myself a tech-minded guy. If you're asking how to make a tv smart, using a Pi to do so is not the answer here

  • User Upgrade/Upgrade User.. Smarter TV

  • Apart from smart tvs, which can stream with only the NBN box and the tv turned on, am I correct in saying that all the other methods need another device running?

    I have a smart tv and that's the only method I'm familiar with.

  • Is there an options that works with an android phone acting as a remote? Maybe like android tv (or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about)

    • Roku devices have android apps you can use in place of the remote (also works on Telstra TV). There are also apps available for Android TV devices (e.g. Vodafone TV) and they also have a bu8lt in Chromecast you can cast from Android apps. Not sure about the Firestick.

  • +1

    Free Udemy courses.

  • Wait for the new Android TV Chromecast from Google, will be out in the next couple of months and should be better than VTV and Firestick.

  • +8

    First of all, maybe you can do it for "free".
    Do you have any devices that you can repurpose for this job?
    Examples: A PS4/XB1 console, a HTPC computer, an old laptop, how about an Android Tablet or Phone.

    Secondly, if that's not an option, what is your tolerance level for frustration?
    $30 - $60: You can get really cheap sticks or boxes.
    $60 - $120: Or you can get moderately better ones.
    $110 - $180: Then there are SBCs like the Raspberry Pi 4 (8GB) and the Odroid N2 (4GB).
    $200: Or hit up Gumtree for a Used PS4/XB1s barebones.
    $250: You could go higher up to the Nvidia Shield TV (either the 2015, or the refreshed models), it's the best Android TV option.
    $280: Maybe a Used Apple TV (5/4K)
    $300: You can a little more for a Used Intel NUC which has 8GB RAM and a Core i5 laptop chipset.
    $500: And for the thing that does it all, you can get a Dell OptiPlex SFF, and throw in a small dGPU like a GTX 1050… this is the most expensive option.

    My recommendation?
    $90 - Xiaomi Mi Box S. It is a Chromecast Ultra, with official Google Play and Android TV certified.
    So it will do all your 4K playback/streamy things well, but not perfectly, as it misses out on some codecs, HDR requirements, and Dolby Atmos sounds. But that's much much better than the "fake" Android TV boxes you get for $40. Not to mention its supported, gets updates, and doesn't have security/privacy issues like those other boxes. Compared to the $300 Apple/Nvidia boxes, it's actually not too shabby either. In terms of games? Has a couple of casual mobile games, or sideload something else, or you can run some emulations on it from the Play Store (Atari, Sega, SNES, GBA, N64, PS1, and DreamCast).

    • +1

      Upvoted. $250-$280 will get you a new Apple TV 4K

    • Xiaomi Mi Box S better than Vodafone TV?

      • +3

        If you're talking about The New Vodafone TV Box (2020) from New Zealand, that runs a Custom Android OS (with PlayStore). The Old Australian Vodafone TV Box (2018) runs the closed-source AndroidTV platform (which is better) like the Nvidia Shield TV.

        Both of the VTV and MiS boxes have the same specs. And they're both on the same AndroidTV software platform.

        However, the Voda Box has a Digital TV tuner built right into it (and so it uses slightly more power). And the VTV has a number pad built into the remote so you can enter the channel number instead of constant scrolling. I'm not sure if you can program it for shortcuts though.
        The MiS box doesn't have this, but it has a button on the remote which (Hdmi CEC) will take you to your TV's LiveTV Input, and you can control it with the remote (Power, Ok, Dpad, Volume, Channel Up/Down, and to go back into AndroidTV). So to me, it's an acceptable thing, since many of the cheap boxes don't have this function. But certainly the VTV gets a major advantage here.

        Also, the VTV has a built-in Ethernet port.
        This won't be an issue on the MiS box if you have a strong Wifi connection, to be frank.

        The box and remote on the VTV feel much cheaper than the Mi Box.
        But might not be an issue for most people.

        What is an issue is that apparently the VTV since a couple updates, has some bugs, and lags a bit. I can't confirm, but I think the reason the VTV is cheaper ($70 vs $90) is because it has Vodafone Ads built in to the software. The MiS box gets more frequent updates and has less bugs, and I think performs more fluidly. Which isn't a surprise because there's far more owners/users (100 Mil vs 5 Million ?). Neither boxes can be rooted, or boot into an OS other than the stock firmware. On top of this, the MiS box can do 4K/60/HDR without much trouble, whereas the VTV seems to be limited to 4K/30 and has issues with HDR and audio passthrough. It's not a hardware issue, since the VTV is the same (slight upgrade) over the MiS, so it's definitely a software thing. On top of all this, apparently you can connect a USB Webcam to the MiS and do some Skype/conferencing, but some people are reporting issues with the VTV box. Based on their track-record and the fact the bootloader is locked, it means these are features that won't be coming.

        The MiS box has proper support and you can connect a 2TB external HDD into it. That's much better for your media storage (photos, songs, videos, tv shows, movies) and not to mention to run Android Apps/Games/Emulation. Whereas the VTV no longer supports this feature (revoked NFTS license), so you can use small USB flash drives and small file sizes. But remember both only have like 4GB of built-in storage to use total. To me it's a major factor.

        …if you NEED the live-tv-turner: get the Voda Box, and save yourself $20.
        …if you NEED the external HDD support: get the Mi Box S, for a cheap $90.
        ……if neither are necessary, then pay $20 extra and get the Xiaomi Mi S TV Box, it is overall the better experience.

  • There's a new chromecast coming out soon with remote and android tv apparently.

  • +1

    Don’t know if this counts but I just use my hdmi cable to connect my phone to watch Netflix & Stan, haven’t had a problem. If you have an Apple phone you do have to get an additional attachment to connect to the hdmi cable which connects to the tv

  • Chromecast
    Mi Box S
    NVIDIA Shield

  • +1

    A second-hand Fetch TV? I like he fact that it has an aerial inlet so you have all your channel in the same place instead of switching from TV to HDMI, and only have to use one remote

  • +1

    I like the Xiaomi Mi Box as it has a USB port. I download a lot, so being able to have a HDD plugged in is nice.

  • +1

    If you don't want to spend any money,just plug in an old laptop via HDMI cable

  • IPTV

  • I’ve been following this thread with interest if less than complete comprehension given that I’m as untech savvy as you can find. I have an old ‘dumb’ TV (Panasonic TX-32LWD500A) and a blu ray disc recorder (Panasonic DMR-BWT460GN connected to NBN router with LAN cable). Could I plug something like Vodafone TV into my recorder to stream. I’m only interested in Australian catch up TV. Please ignore this post if irrelevant or inappropriate. Many thanks.

  • It depends on your budget and (any) existing devices.

    Smart TVs are never that great to begin with because, like with phones, manufacturers only want to provide minimal support with the hope you will but further devices.

    If you liked your old Apple TV, I recommend purchasing a new one. You're familiar with the interface and probably have some purchased content there (an assumption). My personal view here: I'm no Apple fan, but the Apple TV UI is excellent and beats all other options.

    If you'd like something new and have devices that support casting, the Chromecast is another good option but it's a unique use model in that you don't have a dedicated remote but use the casting device as the primary controller. HDMI-CEC allows you to pause and resume playback using your remote.

    I've found the other boxes I've used OK but nothing has leapt out at me.

    Good luck! :-)

  • +1

    Xbox, nvidia shield or fetch tv.

  • A secondhand OG Xbox one or even cheap Xbox one s would work well, plus you get the blu ray and potential gaming ability. Otherwise a telstra TV box but would be a bit limited with that. Going on fb marketplace and grabbing a cheap chromecast would be the way.

  • Vodafone TV.

  • Read it the classics

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