When it comes to smart home technology, TVs are no exception. With the wide range and variety of affordable models available, I wanted to find out if smart TVs could work without an internet connection.

Will a Smart TV Work Without Internet Connection? A Smart TV can be used extensively without an internet connection; however, if you’re looking to access more advanced features, you may want a standard model. An internet connection is required to use most of the “Smart” features on your TV.

If you’re concerned about using a Smart TV without an internet connection, the good news is they’ll still function like a standard TV. Let’s take a look at how Smart TVs connect to the internet, and what features require a connection.

How Does a Smart TV Connect to the Internet?

It’s worth discussing how Smart TVs connect to the internet in order to better understand what features require that functionality. Let’s start with what you’ll need to get connected:

What’s Required

  • A Smart TV with built-in internet functionality
    • Most connections use 802.11ac for WiFi
  • An internet connection (Ethernet or Wireless)

Features that Require Internet

Though Smart TVs can be used extensively without an internet connection, some features require that you are connected:

  • Streaming Services
    • If you’re looking to use popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc., you’ll need to be connected to the internet.
  • Downloading Apps
    • An internet connection is required for downloading and updating apps on your Smart TV.
  • Firmware Updates
    • To keep your TV up-to-date with the latest firmware, an internet connection is required.

Features that Don’t Require Internet

  • Streaming Local Media
    • You can share photos and videos using a USB stick (assuming your TV allows USB connections) without an internet connection.
  • Watching Media
    • Without an internet connection, you can still watch media on your TV like Blu-ray, DVDs, etc.
  • Connect Devices
    • As long as you have the appropriate connections you can hook up a range of devices; DVD players, VCR players, Satellite, etc

Even though some features require an internet connection to work properly, you can still use the TV for many of your multimedia needs. 

Should I Invest in a Smart TV if I Don’t Have an Internet Connection?

Now that we have a better idea of how Smart TVs function, you may be wondering: Is it worth purchasing a Smart TV if I don’t have an internet connection? There are many reasons why a Smart TV could address your needs, even without being able to connect to the internet.

  • Quality: The TV market is so saturated, it may come down to a matter of quality. Some Smart TVs simply have superior quality to other “Standard” models, regardless of their ability to connect to the internet. 
    • For example, many Smart TVs (like those listed below) boast 4K Ultra HD video resolutions, which might not be offered on some standard models.
    • Many Smart TV owners aren’t interested in the App feature(s), but rather are just looking to invest in a quality tv that happens to be a Smart TV.

If, however, you’re purchasing a Smart TV for streaming services or app functionality but don’t have access to the internet, then a Smart TV may not be the right fit for you.

Which Model is Right for Me?

If you’ve decided to invest in Smart TV, you’ll find there’s no shortage of models available. I’ve provided a quick guide to some top brands (all “Smart TVs”) to get you started:

Feature(s)TOSHIBA 50-inch Smart TVInsignia 50-inch Ultra HD Smart TVSamsung 50-inch 7 Series HDR
Video Resolution4K UHD4K UHD4K UHD
Refresh Rate60 Hz60 Hz60 Hz
Smart Home IntegrationAmazon AlexaAmazon AlexaAmazon Alexa/ Google Assistant
HDMI Ports333
Hands-Free Control

With the variety of models available and the comparable features, it really boils down to price, and brand preference. For example, if your smart home ecosystem uses Amazon, you may want to invest in an Alexa-capable Smart TV (Amazon).

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues

So you’ve decided to purchase a Smart TV, but you’re experiencing some connection issues. Let’s take a look at some common troubleshooting steps you can take:

Weak Connection

  • If you’re having intermittent connection issues, try updating your TV’s firmware.
  • Make sure there are no other devices nearby interfering with your connection (microwaves, phones, monitors, etc.)

No Connection

  • If your TV has the appropriate port, try hardwiring your connection via an Ethernet cable to isolate the issue.
  • When in doubt, try resetting your internet router.

Summary

Smart TVs offer a high-quality viewing experience that can be appreciated regardless of whether or not you have an internet connection. If you’re looking for a Smart TV to integrate into your existing ecosystem, or if you want to stream popular media, however, you’ll want to make sure you have an internet connection up and ready to go.