How To Watch Catch Up & On Demand TV On Normal TV

March 11, 2022

How To Watch Catch Up Smart TV On Normal TV


If you have a normal, non Smart (like me!) and you want to be able to watch catch up TV services and on demand content on it, like Netflix, Youtube, iPlayer etc and do not want to have to purchase a new TV to be able to do so. Read this for all the info you need on how to watch content streamed from the internet onto your normal TV.


There are several ways in which this can be done, some may apply to you and others may not. I recommend that you read the article in full so that you can come to your own informed decision on the best way to watch on demand content on your "non smart" TV.


Ways To Make Non Smart TV Smart

Below are some of the many ways that this can be achieved. There are actually other ways of doing things, but I have listed the most popular ways here. Let’s Begin. I think that it goes without saying that to watch either TV on demand or catch up TV services you will need some sort of internet connection. To reduce loading times and buffering a wired Ethernet connection is best, ideally with fibre speeds if it is available in your area. There are actually other ways that this can be done like through 4G or satellite broadband if you do not have a fixed internet connection at your address.


Smart TV Stick

The simplest way to turn your normal TV into a Smart TV is to purchase and connect a Smart TV stick. You simply connect it to your TV via the HDMI connection, login to your WIFI network and you’re ready to go, usually after a few updates. There are so many on the market nowadays, but the most popular ones are listed below.


Now TV Stick

Amazon Firestick


Roku Streaming Stick


I’m not going to go into great detail about the differences between the streaming sticks as I have another blog on that topic, but essentially the concept is the same. Some allow you access to premium and pay TV services as others do not. It really depends on which one you buy.


Pros – Very easy to install

Relatively inexpensive 

Cons – Usually WIFI only, no Ethernet port.

May require an adapter to connect to TV with no HDMI inputs.


A little tip to easy connect Smart TV sticks on TV’s that are already wall mounted. Is to connect the power lead which is usually a USB into one of the USB ports on the TV. This saves having to mess around getting a power connect up to the TV.


Smart TV Box

A very similar concept to the idea of a Smart TV stick is a Smart TV box with the difference being that you can often connect a TV aerial or satellite dish for live TV and/ or have PVR recording facilities usually incorporated onto an internal hard disk drive. This would enable to watch recorded content which may not otherwise be available on catch up TV services. By connecting a Smart TV box to a TV this will allow you to watch catch up services and on demand through the box rather than the TV itself. There are a couple of different categories that Smart TV boxes could fall into. Subscription based and non-subscription based.


Subscription Based Smart TV Boxes

A subscription based service offers extra services like TV channels and content that are usually not available on other platforms or free TV services. Obviously, subscription based TV services will requires some form of re-occurring payment either monthly or annually. Pretty much all subscription based services will offer on demand, catch up and Smart TV services as part of their package. Chances are you will require either a TV aerial or satellite dish too but Sky are in the process of developing a system that allows you to access Sky without a dish. Some examples of subscription based Smart TV boxes are:


Sky+HD / Sky Q

Virgin Media

BT Vision

Now TV Set Top Box


Pros – Usually a great range of catch up TV services

Can give you live TV as well as Smart TV services 

Cons – Can cost a lot of money, especially if calculated over time.

May be tied into a yearly contract

Read our older blog for alternatives to Sky TV.


Non-Subscription Based Smart TV Boxes 

If you don’t want to have to pay for a subscription TV services for Smart TV services. Fear not, this can be done without having to commit to money leaving your bank account each month. I strongly also recommending downloading our guide to Free TV. When choosing a free TV service there is obviously a case of just paying a one time fee but this is usually higher than you would otherwise need to pay for subscription based services. Providers like Sky & BT will often provide a “Free” or discounted installation which sometimes includes the Smart TV box itself, knowing that they will re-coup the money over the time of your contract. You will not have this luxury and will need to cough up the funds to buy the Smart TV box itself as well as any other associated equipment which may be required like a TV aerial or satellite dish. The financial savings of not having to pay out each month can usually be recouped within a few months. Some example of non subscription based TV Smart boxes are:


Freeview PVR’s / Freeview Play


Freesat / Freetime


Games Console

If you have a Games Console like an Xbox or a Playstation, these can be used for streaming on demand TV and for catch up TV services. I don’t personally play computer games but I use games consoles for my Smart TV services predominately as these also double up as DVD/ Bluray players so it’s more convenient than having multiple devices connected to my TV. Once set up and connected into the internet you can go into your menus and search for the Smart TV apps that you want to be able to access and download them so you can access on your console. Most new games consoles in the UK support online TV services like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV & Sky Go. Please note that if you use a Xbox 360 BBC iPlayer no longer available as they removed it from this platform earlier in the year. Xbox 360 also does not support ITV Hub or Bluray discs so it may be the time to trade this in for an Xbox One if you’re still using a Xbox 360.


Pros – Usually a vast range of supported applications

Can also be used for DVD/ Bluray Player

Cons – Can be expensive to purchase

Might be overkill if it will only be used for Smart TV services


Connect Smart Phone to TV

Another relatively easy option to convert a normal TV into a Smart TV would be to connect your TV to your Smart phone. There are several ways which this can be done. If you have a TV and phone combination that supports screen mirroring, you could set this up so whatever is on your phone can be viewed on your TV. Products like Google Chromecast and Apple also offer similar facilities. There is of course the point that most TV’s , but not all that support screen mirroring are in fact already Smart TV’s. This means that the only real benefit of streaming from your phone to your existing internet TV would be to access apps that are not available on your Smart TV itself and for watching personally recorded pictures/ videos etc. If your TV does not support screen mirroring often an adapter lead can be purchased which converts your phones connection,usually a micro USB or something similar into a HDMI connection which can be connected straight to your TV.


One big benefit of using a Smart phone for Smart TV services is that most Smart phones pretty much support all the catch up and TV on demand services that are out there which is not always the case with other types of device.


Pros – Can access nearly all catch up Smart TV services

Can use your existing mobile phone 

Cons – TV and phone are not always compatible

Could eat a lot of your mobile phone data/ allowance


Connect PC/ Laptop To The TV

Another way of making a non Smart TV into a Smart one is to connect your existing PC or laptop to your TV. If you’re computer has a HDMI output which most do nowadays you can simply attach a HDMI cable between the two pieces of equipment and you’re ready to go assuming that your PC/ laptop is connected to the internet. You may have to set up your PC/ laptop to replicate what your computer screen is showing as often this doesn’t work right away. I know that I have had to go into the Windows screen settings the past to do so myself. The good thing about using a PC is that pretty much all catch up TV, TV on demand and Smart TV services are available through the internet. If you wanted to watch a foreign countries TV, like if you are trying to watch iPlayer outside the UK you may find that you’re geo-blocked. In this instance you could sign up to a VPN service which will get around this. The downside about this is that it’s not necessarily a permanent set up or may require so difficult cable routing to make it a permanent set up. You could attach and detach a HDMI cable whenever it’s required but this could be cumbersome. If you TV is wall mounted you could coil HDMI cable behind the TV so there no need to get unplugged and plugging in a HDMI cable, besides this is not good for your TV and you run the risk of damaging the TV by constantly plugging things in and out. You could also get yourself a wireless keyboard/ mouse which would mean that you could sit back and control your PC or laptop on your TV screen.


Pros – Pretty much all Smart TV services available

Can use your existing PC/ Laptop 

Cons – Can be cumbersome

Laptop/ PC & TV both require HDMI connections


Connected DVD/ Bluray or AV Receiver

I admit that a connected DVD/ Bluray player would be a very similar concept to a Smart TV box but if you’re looking for a new device you play your discs on you could take the opportunity to buy one of these and make your standard TV Smart compatible at the same time. A connected DVD player or Bluray simply means one that can be connected to the internet allowing you to stream video from the internet for video on demand and catch up TV. I won’t go into the set up too much here as I would simply be repeating information but essentially it is, connect to TV and internet and you’re ready to go. Some disc players with Smart TV functions also have an integrated hard drive and TV aerial/satellite connection which would allow to record live TV on the device also making this perfect for an all in one unit.


Pros – Much cheaper than buying a new TV

Can play your DVD and Bluray discs on the same device 

Cons – Recordable versions can be expensive

Many do not support a WIFI connection


Smart TV Questions

I hoped that you liked this blog, if you have read my blogs before you will know that I only respond to questions and comments posted in the BLOG COMMENTS SECTION. This is so I have a central location to answer all the questions I get asked (I get loads) and so that everyone reading the blog will also get the benefit of the question asked and the answer given. Your questions really help improve the blog. Please be aware that WE NOT OFFER OUR THE PHONE TECHNICAL SUPPORT, our telephone lines are reserved for CUSTOMERS ONLY and we only serve Sussex and parts of Kent. Please also DO NOT FILL OUT OUR WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS OR E-MAIL as again these are intended for customers only.If you do sent your support question by either of these methods you will either not receive a response or you will receive one asking you to post your question in the blog comment section. That being said I will help where I can so post your comments below.


Until next time,


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