If you've recently bought new a television from a big brand like LG, Panasonic, Samsung, TCL, Hisense or Sony in the last year it's likely that you’re going to need to connect it to the internet in order to get the most from it.
Most brand new TVs these days rely on and use the internet to access online services like IPTV, video-on-demand movies, streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, weather information, news updates and more. Some TVs can even access social-networking services like Twitter and Facebook.
If you're picking out a new television and want to work out what's best for you, read through our Buying a TV in 2018? Here's everything you need to know and LCD vs LED vs plasma TV buyers guides.
Want to learn about the difference between OLED, QLED and HDR TVs? Take a look at our Everything you need to know about QLED TVs, Everything you need to know about OLED TVs and Everything you need to know about HDR TV buying guides.
If you're in a situation where you’ve bought one of these TVs and don’t know how to connect it to the internet, fear not, we're put together a quick guide on how to do so.
Step 1. Do You Have Working Internet?
Before messing with any cables, first make sure that you’ve got both an active a broadband Internet connection in your home and a wired or wireless router that’s been set up to distribute that internet connection. Mesh Wi-Fi counts too.
Without the above, you're not going to be able to connect your Smart TV to the internet (for obvious reasons).
Step 2. Does Your TV Have An Ethernet Port?
To start, you’ll need to work out whether your television has a wired Ethernet port on the back — it looks like an oversized phone jack. Take a look at the picture (included to the left)if you’re confused about what an ethernet port looks like.
If it does, you’ll need to connect your TV to your router using an Ethernet cable (not a phone cable!), plugging one end into a free LAN port on the router and the other end into your TV.
Step 3. A Quick Trip To The Setting Menu
After that, enter your TV's settings menu and find the networking options. If you've got a standard network setup it should be as simple as selecting the setting to enable wired networking — everything will sort itself out automatically through your router.
If your TV doesn’t have an ethernet cable, don’t fret just yet. You can also connect your TV to the Internet using a wireless network connection, which comes as a built-in feature on many modern TV models.
If your new TV has neither wired nor wireless connectivity, there is one other option. Many televisions can also use wireless networking via an optional wireless USB adapter. These generally cost around $50. For example, this USB dongle for Samsung TVs is $36 on Amazon.
Step 4a. Going Wireless
Connecting your TV to the internet using a wireless network can be a little more complicated than the alternative, but not by much.
For a start, your home's router will need to be set up and broadcasting wirelessly. If you've got a wireless network already set up in your house and you've confirmed your television supports wireless networking, the next step is to enter your television's settings menu and find the option for wireless networking setup.
If you want to know what to look for when in the shop, check out our expert tips 4K TV buying guide.
Step 4b. Enter Your Password
After finding your network in the list of available access points, you'll have to enter your network password.
If you don't have this already, ask the person that set up your wireless network. Some newer routers and TVs also support WPS (Wireless Protected Setup) — so instead of entering a password, all you have to do is press the button on your router when prompted by the TV.
When you've entered a password or hit the WPS button, you should receive a prompt that wireless setup is complete.
Once you've set up Internet access on your television, you should be able to access Web services directly — on most televisions there's a menu that allows you to choose and configure services as you want.
Connecting your TV to your router and the Internet will also give it access to your computer, allowing you share media files via DLNA and similar applications.
Step 5. Finishing Touches
Depending on the operating system powering your TV, you might be prompted to download a software update. However, aside from that, you’re pretty much ready to go.
Congratulations - your TV should now be connected to the internet.
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This article was originally published by Campbell Simpson in January 2011. It was updated by Fergus Halliday in September 2020.