Do I Need a LAN Adapter for a Smart TV?

The back of an router showing ethernet cables.The back of an router showing ethernet cables.

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A LAN adapter is a device that you can plug in (plug-and-play), install, or attach to the motherboard through a PCI slot. If your smart TV has no built-in wireless internet capabilities of its own, a LAN adapter may be the solution.

The only reason you would need a LAN adapter for a smart TV is if the TV’s internal, wireless connection is broken or somehow disrupted.

Below, we’ll cover the reason why you may need a LAN adapter for your smart TV, and how to find the best option for your device.

Do Smart TVs Need LAN Adapters?

Smart TVs come with wireless capability by design. Smart TVs can also connect directly to your router with an Ethernet cable, providing a more stable internet connection.

However, if your smart TV is no longer connected to the internet, you may require a LAN adapter or wireless media bridge to replace your TV’s built-in wireless connection.

You can even use a Roku, Fire Stick, or Chromecast to replace your smart TV’s connection. Of course, you would be accessing a different operating system than the original, built-in software that your TV came with, but it’s better than buying a brand new TV.

Finding Compatible LAN Adapters for Smart TVs

If your TV is located next to your router, you have the option of connecting directly to your router with an Ethernet cable using a LAN adapter.

Smart TVs usually come with a host of plug-ins, whether they are output or input. You’re likely to find at least one Ethernet port on the side, below, or behind your TV. Also, using an Ethernet cable to connect to a router will give you the most stable connection you can get.

Wires aren’t always the best choice, however, especially when it comes to appearance. You have to be careful to choose a LAN adapter that is compatible with your TV. There are three types:

All of them essentially share the same function but install differently. However, they are almost exclusively designed for use with computers in the form of desktops and laptops. With that said, a wireless media bridge will often be the better alternative to use.

If you want to use a LAN adapter despite this common issue, you will need to search for a wireless adapter by searching with your specific TV brand and model number. For instance, this adapter will only work with 2009-2012 Samsung TVs, and only specific models within that time frame.

In other words, you can’t just order a Samsung Smart TV LAN adapter and expect it to work. Smart TVs have their own proprietary software and operating systems, and LAN adapters have to be compatible.

Using a Wireless Media Bridge

They may sound complicated, but they’re really not. In fact, a wireless media bridge is a much better option than shopping around for a LAN adapter. There are several options to choose from, and you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues either:

 TRENDNet N900BrosTrend AC1200Asus RP-N12 N300
Dual Band2.4 and 5.0 GHz2.4 and 5.0 GHz2.4 GHz
Transfer Rate450 Mbps867 MbpsUnknown
Wireless Type802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n

Wireless Media Bridges are a reliable way to get your smart TV reassociated with your Wi-Fi connection. Hooking them up is as simple as plugging them into your smart TV via Ethernet ports. You can use the WPS features to quickly connect your media bridge to your home network.

Go with a Streaming Device

You’ll basically replace your familiar smart TV operating system with one from Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV. Sure, there’s more, but those are the most popular and well-known brands.

Like the wireless media bridge, these are mostly plug-and-play, without the necessity of WPS or connecting them to your router to set them up. You’ll have to create login information if you don’t have an Apple ID, Gmail, Roku, or Amazon account. If you do, you’ll enter this information during the setup process.

Final Thoughts

LAN adapters are great devices and convenient when you need the internet. However, they’re mostly focused on compatibility with computers and not TVs.

While you can find them for smart TVs, you have to be careful to find compatible ones, and the selection leaves much to be desired.

Wireless media bridges are far more effective and just as convenient if your smart TV’s internal wireless capabilities are lost. Plus, most bridges come with multiple connection points, and—like the ASUS RP-N12—many come equipped with 2-1 and 3-1 features.

A LAN adapter may not be the product you need to get internet connectivity back on your smart TV. However, wireless media bridges and streaming devices will accomplish what you’re looking for. They’re easier to shop for, convenient in usage, and often come with more convenient features that will add to your overall experience.

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