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5 smart TV tools you'll use all the time
© Chaleng Ngamsom |
TV & streaming

5 things you didn’t know your smart TV could do

More and more people are cutting the cord in exchange for streaming services. You can watch Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video and more via a smart TV or streaming box.

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to streaming devices and smart TVs. As displays get larger and streaming sticks get smaller, how do you know which is best for you? Luckily we put together a list to help you choose. Tap or click here for the best streaming device and smart TV options.

Smart TVs are great for catching your favorite content, but they can do so much more than that. You can check the weather, control your smart home and more. Read on for some tips on getting more out of your smart TV.

1. Download apps

Downloading apps is especially easy if your smart TV has Roku, Fire TV or Google TV built-in. The user interface will vary depending on other manufacturers like Sony and Samsung.

Beyond streaming services, you can find helpful information from apps like Accuweather, which gives live weather forecasts, storm warnings, local and daily forecasts and more. The Accuweather app is available for LG, Samsung and Android/Google TVs.

Flight-tracking apps are great for keeping tabs on your loved ones’ trips. If you’re a fan of flying, you can see which flights and airliners are passing over you at any given time.

Flightradar24 tracks more than 180,000 flights from 1,200 airlines, flying to or from 4,000 airports worldwide in real-time. You can download it for iOS or Android and cast it directly onto your TV screen.

2. Use your voice instead of a remote

Many modern smart TVs come with a built-in microphone on the set or remote. You can control basic TV functions using just your voice. Adjust the volume, open apps, change the channel, search for content based on titles, actors or genres and more. You can even find a lost remote with your voice.

There is an issue with this in that your TV may be listening to you when you don’t expect it. Tap or click here for our report and tips on disabling this invasive feature.

3. Control your smart home

Some smart TVs support virtual assistants, so you can use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant without being near your smart speaker. You can do more with your TV than you would by using simple voice commands such as checking the weather and news.

Beyond controlling your TV, you can use virtual assistants to control your smart home via your TV. This means you can check up on your security cameras, turn on the lights, open the garage, adjust the thermostat or order some food for movie night.

4. Use your smart TV display as a computer screen

Your TV screen is likely larger than your computer monitor or laptop display. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your TV while you work, game, chat, learn or shop on your computer? You’re in luck because there are a few ways to do this.

Samsung TVs have a PC on TV function that lets you wirelessly project your PC onto your TC screen. You can also use screen mirroring. Tap or click here for more information.

If your TV has Chromecast built-in, you can wirelessly project your PC to your TV using Google Chrome. Here’s how:

  • Open Chrome on your computer and click More > Cast on the top-right.
  • Click Sources, then Cast Desktop.
  • Choose your Chromecast-enabled TV.

AirPlay support lets you mirror your Mac to your TV screen:

  • Click the Screen Mirroring icon in the Control Center on your Mac.
  • Choose your Apple TV or Airplay-compatible TV.

Alternatively, you can connect your PC or laptop to your TV using an HDMI cord.

5. Make video calls

Video calls are more common than ever to keep in touch with loved ones and attend work meetings. You can connect your USB webcam to your smart TV and chat right there in your living room.

Some TVs support video chat apps such as Google Duo and Zoom, though you will still need that USB webcam.

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