Why Does My Non-Smart TV Have an Ethernet Port?

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As more devices rely on wireless internet connections, ethernet cables are becoming more obsolete. Yet, as you unbox your non-smart TV, you may have noticed that it features an ethernet cable in the back. You may be asking yourself one simple question: “Why?”

Your non-smart TV most likely has an ethernet cable to install firmware updates, although this is seldom necessary. You can also use the ethernet port to upload digital media or even use a non-smart TV as a smart TV.

If you purposefully wanted a non-smart TV and find that it has an ethernet port, this is no cause for concern. You will only need to use it to update your TV or take advantage of other features only available via an internet connection. Read on to learn more about your ethernet port’s purpose and what you can do with it.

Uses for a Non-Smart TV’s Ethernet Port

If you are not planning on connecting your TV to the internet, then the ethernet port will rarely be used. Most non-smart TV manufacturers want to deliver finished products that do not require updates or downloads. However, this is not the case for every device.

Firmware Updates

Your phone, tablet, and laptop will probably tell you every other week that something needs to be updated. Usually, these updates are meant to improve “bugs” that make using certain applications difficult. Other updates come with new features.

Firmware updates are not nearly as common. Your TV may tell you that it needs a firmware update when:

  • You are using a new remote control.
  • You are trying to use the TV alongside a newer, third-party device.
  • The manufacturer has released an update because of a problem.
  • Your TV is having a problem picking up signals.

If you need to install a firmware update on your non-smart TV, you will need to read your user manual to understand how to do this, as every TV comes with a different set of instructions. If you do not have your user manual, you could look up the PDF online. If you have any questions about your TV’s firmware and how to keep it up to date, contact your TV’s customer support team.

What Happens If You Don’t Install Firmware Updates?

Your TV will not stop working altogether just because you failed to install a firmware update. Many people own non-smart TVs and never once have to install any updates.

However, if your TV requires you to keep it updated and you fail to do this, you could run into the following issues:

  • Some features on your TV may not be available.
  • You may not be able to use the remote control.
  • The TV’s audio, picture, and color could be affected.

Without a firmware update, your TV may not be able to connect to other devices, like DVD players and video game consoles.

Upload Digital Media

The idea behind smart TVs is that they are your one-stop-shop for your video and music streaming services. Upon purchase, they come pre-equipped with apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. Some even come with internet browsers so that you can surf the web.

Your non-smart TV might have an ethernet port because even though it cannot connect to the internet, it still allows you to upload digital media. For instance, some non-smart TVs allow you to upload pictures and other media using the ethernet port. 

The specifics of these details will, again, depend on the type of product you purchased.

Can You Use Ethernet to Make Non-Smart TVs Smart?

You may have located an ethernet port on the back of your non-smart TV and assumed that you could just plug it into the wall and get all of your favorite apps on the big screen. This is not the case. If you want to turn your non-smart TV into a smart TV, you can do this by:

Attaching a Video Streaming Device into the HDMI Slot

As long as you have an internet connection, you can make any TV “smart.” If your TV is compatible with the following devices, you could watch non-demand shows:

Once you plug in one of these devices to your TV, you will change the input and follow the prompts on the screen. You do not need an ethernet cable for this, as these products rely on wireless connections.


Your non-smart TV primarily has an ethernet port because it may require periodic firmware updates. Whether you will need to install these updates and how often will depend on your device.

If you do not intend to connect your TV to the internet or upload digital media, you will probably never need to use the ethernet port. However, before making any assumptions, be sure to read your user manual and read up on your TV online.

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