By Adama Brown,
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Sometimes, there’s nothing more fun than finding out that your gadgets have unexpected features. We’ve rounded up some little-known functions for some of the most popular smart TV and streaming devices.
1. Samsung Smart TV allows you to use your phone for private listening
If you’ve ever wanted to watch TV without disturbing anyone else, you know that sometimes private listening though headphones can come in handy. Samsung smart TVs have a feature that makes that much, much easier.
Sure, some smart TVs with Bluetooth built in can connect to a pair of headphones. But not all headphones allow for multiple pairings, and switching back and forth between devices can be a pain. Instead, Samsung allows you to use your smartphone and its existing headphone setup.
Via the SmartThings home automation app, you can connect to your TV and select “Play TV sound on phone.” Then, just use the headphones of your choice to listen to your programming, free from the worry of making too much noise.
2. Roku offers local news feeds from all around the US
Have you ever wanted to be able to catch up on news around the country without the added filler of national news channels? Or maybe you’ve moved, but want to keep up with what’s going on back in your former city?
Roku, through the free channels that you get automatically with their devices, has the answer. They offer free streaming feeds of local NBC news channels from eight different cities and metro areas around the US: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, and Hartford.
You can access them through the free channels found on your Roku, by looking for NBC News.
No need for cable TV!
3. Chromecast can be used to play games
Many Android users probably know that they can mirror the screen of their Android phone or tablet to a Chromecast device to share what they’re doing on the big screen. While screen mirroring performance might not be good enough to play a lot of regular games, there are actually a number that are specifically designed with Chromecast in mind.
There are a number of multiplayer games that work with Chromecast designed specifically to take advantage of the big screen for party gaming. DrawParty and PictoParty are digital takes on the classic party game Pictionary. Puzzle Cast allows you to put together a jigsaw puzzle without all the mess and missing pieces.
If you’re partial to word games, Wordcast is a big-screen multiplayer equivalent of the classic Scrabble. Or for something different, you can try Scrabble Blitz, which challenges you to make up words as quickly as possible. Whatever your taste is, you should be able to find something to play during your next friendly get together.
4. Apple TV serves as a HomeKit automation hub
Anyone with an Apple TV box knows well that it’s a robust choice for providing you with streaming TV options. However, you might not realize that it can also serve as a home automation hub.
If you have any home automation devices based on Apple’s HomeKit system, the Apple TV can serve as their hub, without the need for a HomePod or other hardware. Just go into your Apple TV’s settings, and connect it to an iCloud account, and it should configure itself automatically.
Then, any HomeKit enabled devices you have will be able to network through it, without the need for any other hardware.
Wrapping it up
These are just a few of the many things that people might not know that their streaming devices can do. Do you have any good tips and tricks of your own? We’d love to hear about them.