Will a Smart TV Work Without Internet Connection?

If you’re planning to buy a smart TV or you’re going to be without the internet for a while, you might be wondering if a smart TV will work without an internet connection. Nowadays, most people get their internet needs met from the network connection on their phones, such as 3G or 4G, and not everyone sees the need of having an internet connection in their homes.

If you happen to fall into that category, this article is for you. Today I’m going to cover some practical ways to use a TV even without an internet connection, as well as some other alternatives and suggestions that might interest you.

Will a Smart TV Work Without an Internet Connection?

A smart TV will work without an internet connection but you’ll be limited to the basic display functions. You won’t be able to use most of your smart TV’s built-in apps such as Netflix, YouTube, and other smart features. With a top box, you can watch regular TV on a smart TV without an internet connection.

Even if you don’t have an internet connection in your home, buying a smart TV is not a bad idea because it can still act as a multi-functional display. For example, you can use it to watch media through USB, HDMI, and other connectors. You can also hook up a console or another device for quick entertainment.

Why Does Your Smart TV Need an Internet Connection?

Your smart TV needs an internet connection to download apps, stream media, and update its software. If you don’t use any media streaming apps such as Netflix, then you probably don’t need an internet connection on your TV.

However, chances are you paid a premium for the smart features on your TV and, if you’re unable to use those features, you might feel cheated. In most cases, a smart TV will connect to the internet through an ethernet port located on the rear panel or through Wifi.

If those options aren’t available, for example, maybe you don’t have a router in your home, or your TV only has ethernet, and you don’t have a long enough ethernet cable. Or maybe you want to install a TV in a mobile home.

Here’s something that you can try:

Connect Smart TV to the Internet Through Mobile Hotspot:

If your TV has Wifi, one way to get the internet working is by sharing your phone’s network via a mobile hotspot. The exact steps to do this vary depending on the phone you have, but it’s usually a matter of tapping a few icons, and then filling in the wireless network information into your TV.

In most cases, the TV will be able to connect to the hotspot and you can use all the smart features and apps that require an internet connection. The downside to this method is your TV might consume a lot of your mobile data, especially if you’re watching HD videos.

Speaking of phones, there are a number of ways to use your phone as a media source for your smart TV. One of the easiest ways is through screen-mirroring and sometimes you don’t even need an internet or wireless connection for screen-mirroring to work.

But you do need to double-check to see if the screen-mirroring feature is supported on your TV. Side note, new Samsung phones have a feature called Samsung Dex that transforms a TV or other display into a full-screen desktop UI which makes watching videos super easy. But you do need a USB-C to HDMI adapter for that.

When it comes to screen-mirroring the TV will show the same aspect ratio as your phone, so it might look a little strange. Watching content through screen-mirroring can be a headache too because the framerate is usually quite low, and the quality is not the best.

Use an Aerial or Android Top Box

With an aerial, you can pick up all local TV broadcasts without an internet connection. A top box is another option, it won’t unlock the internet-based apps on your TV, but it will add lots of HD channels and other content you can watch.

There are lots of Android boxes that you can use to download or copy content and then watch it on a TV later without an active internet connection. There are lots of ways to create an offline media centre for your TV.

Another option is to load a portable hard drive with media and then hook it up to your TV through one of the USB ports. I think this option would be best for mobile homes and whatnot because a portable hard drive has plenty of space, much more than your phone.

Can You Cast to a TV Without the Internet?

While most casting dongles require an internet connection, you can cast to a TV through a local wireless network that does not have internet. However, you won’t be able to cast internet-based apps such as Netflix or YouTube from your phone, but you can cast local media, such as files on your phone, movies, pictures, and whatnot.

The reason apps like Netflix and YouTube won’t work through a local Wifi network is because of the way casting works. Casting doesn’t send the content from your phone (or another device) to your TV, what it does is it sends a link to that content to the TV, and then the TV loads it for you. Without an internet connection, the TV won’t be able to load links from the internet, so those functions won’t work.


While you can use a smart TV without an internet connection, the features will be quite limited. I recommend trying to figure out how to get the internet to your smart TV because that will make things a lot easier. For apps like Netflix, you don’t need a super-fast internet connection, as a matter of fact, the company’s recommended internet speed is 3 Mbps.

A broadband connection with that speed shouldn’t cost much at all. Nevertheless, if the internet is absolutely not available, there are plenty of offline ways to use smart TV too.

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About S. Santos

👋 I'm a technology columnist and tech blogger, with a love for video games, gadgets, home entertainment and personal technology. I've been writing about the industry now for over 10 years - first as an editor of various magazines before branching out to work on my own blog. I like to keep up with the ever-evolving world of gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology. If not fiddling with AV cables at home or in front of the computer, I can be found playing tennis or padel. This blog is my space to explore new topics related to these hobbies; as well as share some thoughts about life in general (sometimes you need a break from electronics!). 😎

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