Smart TV and streaming device usage have increased in recent years. According to Streamable,
52% of all the TVs in the country are smart TVs—a 7% increase from the previous year.
But can you use a streaming device and a smart TV together?
You can use a Roku box with a smart TV, as long as the TV has an HDMI port. The Roku device plugs directly into this port—usually on the side or back of the TV—and then into an electrical outlet. Most modern smart TVs have HDMI slots.
Using a Roku with Smart TV may seem redundant. Depending on the age and capabilities of your TV, there are some benefits to doing so.
Read ahead to learn more about Roku and Smart TV usage.
Using a Roku Box With a Smart TV
HDMI display technology has been a standard since its creation in 2002. Modern TV sets typically come with at least one HDMI slot, if not more.
Roku devices are easy to set up. Plug your Roku into an open HDMI slot in your TV. Then, plug it into a power outlet.
Follow on-screen prompts or consult the user manual to complete the set-up.
They’re compatible with both standard and Smart TVs—as long as they have an open HDMI slot.
It’s hard, if not impossible, to find a modern TV without at least one HDMI input.
Smart TVs and Roku products provide access to streaming apps. Therefore, it’s not necessary to use them together.
However, the Roku platform has several benefits over a typical Smart TV.
Facts About Using a Roku Box With a Smart TV
Smart TVs have allowed people worldwide to access their online streaming content straight from their TV.
You don’t need extra equipment or even a cable subscription.
It wasn’t until the 2nd generation Roku launched in 2011 that they gained popularity.
For many years, the two platforms remained equally popular. If you had a Smart TV, there was little reason to purchase a Roku.
Conversely, Rokus gave standard TVs Smart capabilities.
In recent years, streaming boxes such as Roku have beaten out Smart TVs in popularity.
In 2019, The Verge reported that Roku was the most popular streaming platform in the US. There were 41 million devices used nationally.
Roku’s popularity is likely due to manufacturers now producing Roku-enabled Smart TVs.
These TVs have all of the streaming device’s functionalities built-in.
Additionally, it’s cheaper and more cost-efficient to purchase a standard TV and a Roku box. Full-fledged smart TVs are far more expensive.
If you’re happy with your current Smart TV, replacing or supplementing it with a Roku device is unnecessary.
However, the Roku platform now has some significant advantages to consider.
1. Roku Has Better App Selection
Roku’s popularity has made it a lucrative platform for streaming services. Smart TVs don’t have this kind of support.
Other smart TV consumers show loyalty to a variety of brands.
Television manufacturers have to make deals with streaming services to include them on their Smart platform.
This can even lead to exclusivity agreements.
For instance, in 2019, Vizio Smart TV owners were disappointed.
They discovered that the newly-launched Disney+ streaming app was not available for download on their devices.
It wasn’t until 2020 that Disney and Vizio came to an agreement. After that, they added support for the app across Vizio’s Smart TV line.
Also, in 2019, Netflix announced that they would no longer support their app on older models of Samsung Smart TVs.
Anyone with that model is unable to watch Netflix.
Finally, Roku has significantly more of a selection.
Over 8000 channels are available in the Roku app store, compared to just hundreds depending on the Smart TV model.
2. Roku Is Fast and Accessible
TV manufacturers have to make sacrifices in certain areas to reduce the TV cost for the consumer.
For instance, most speakers that come built-in to TVs are passable at best.
A high-quality sound system would be too expensive. Additionally, it’s beyond what the average user requires.
Instead, those interested in HiFi sound often look into external speakers or soundbars.
Similarly, the software and hardware that enable the Smart features in a TV are lacking in many areas.
Smart operating systems are usually bare-bones and poorly designed.
TV manufacturers are focused on hardware quality. However, the computer included in a smart TV is usually weak to reduce cost.
It may be functional out of the box, but it’ll quickly slow down.
As apps get more complex, the built-in processor might have a more challenging time managing the workload.
This leads to lag, glitches, and crashes.
On the other hand, Roku devices are built specifically for streaming and include specialized, high-quality hardware.
Roku devices are known for their speed and responsiveness.
The Roku platform’s interface is straightforward to use. Due to Roku’s popularity, third-party developers put much care and effort into making high-quality apps.
3. Roku Boxes Have Long Lifespans
As Smart TVs age, app availability and operating system support dwindle.
Manufacturers are constantly iterating—they don’t have resources to support compatibility across a range of TVs.
As such, updates to a Smart TV’s software are infrequent and insignificant.
Apps are old or outdated, and issues may not be addressed for a while, if ever.
Roku devices don’t encounter this issue. They’re only responsible for a handful of products that run on the same operating system.
Updating the software is quick and easy.
Roku’s high popularity and colossal user base ensure that third-party apps are also updated frequently.
Issues are found and patched out quickly.
While Roku’s lifespans aren’t infinite, the company supports the products well after launch.
Roku continues to support their products released after 2015.
You won’t see a Roku’s performance decline significantly in a short amount of time as you do with Smart TVs.
If you’re looking for a Roku streaming device, Amazon has the Roku Ultra LT Streaming Media Player available on their site.
It’s ideal for HD, 4K, and HDR streaming. It also comes with headphones and a remote. You can use a microSD for additional storage.
Continue reading: Do Rokus Ever Go Bad? Common Problems, Signs & Tips
Roku’s Smaller Advantages
Roku’s performance and post-launch support are the most significant benefits the streaming boxes have.
However, there are numerous smaller positives you’ll find in owning a Roku.
Some of those benefits include:
- The devices are portable and easy to swap between devices. The Roku device saves your content, so you can log in and watch movies and TV anywhere.
- A Roku allows a user to have total control over the content they see. Apps can be added and downloaded with ease. Users also have control over the color and theme of their OS. This is in contrast to Smart TVs, which have few to no customizable features and may even come with pre-installed apps that bloat the software and slow down the hardware.
- A Roku is significantly cheaper than purchasing a whole new TV. You can supplement your current Smart TV or even upgrade a standard TV for a fraction of the price of a new model.
You can use a Roku device with a smart TV, but it’s not necessary. Most smart TVs provide access to streaming services.
With that said, Roku devices have many significant advantages over standard Smart TVs. They’re inexpensive, fast, and reliable.
The popularity of Roku means that both the company itself and third-party app developers prioritize content for the platform.
Roku continues to support its products well into their lifespans.
If your smart TV is nearing the end of its lifespan, a Roku box is a great way to breathe new life into it.
Learn more: Can you use Roku and Firestick at the same time?