Can You Use a Smart TV Without Cable TV?


Q.  I’m thinking of getting a Smart TV to watch Netflix and other streaming services, but I don’t subscribe to cable or satellite. Can I use a Smart TV without cable or satellite? — Eddie, Brooklyn, New York.

Eddie, first, for those who are not familiar with Smart TVs, it’s the term used for a television or set-top box that can connect to your home network and allow you to access the Internet, including video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

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If you use a set-top box, you will want one that has Wi-Fi built-in. This allows you to connect to the Internet using your home network without plugging your Internet cable directly to the TV or set-top.

Now to your question: You don’t need a video subscription to a satellite, cable or telco TV service to use a Smart TV or Smart TV device, such as a Blu-ray player or Roku. The cable, satellite or telco TV services have nothing to do with the Internet streaming services that you will watch. You also won’t need an antenna or any other video device.

However, you will need a subscription to some kind of Internet service, whether it’s from a cable or telco operator or some other company. With your home connected to the Internet, you can watch your favorite streaming services on the Smart TV or Smart TV device.

For more information and products that can help you get the most of a Smart TV, check out this page from

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18 comments on “Can You Use a Smart TV Without Cable TV?”

  1. Yea except with this samsung tv that keeps telling to check my connections even though clearly im not using any connect expect for wifi? Really a pain its like tu – o – war just trying to watch a nextflix show hopping my tv doesnt think I ned to check some sort of imaginary connection

    1. i’m in the same boat. i think i’ll call customer support at Samsung and see if they can help me disable the annoying prompt everytime i turn on my TV to (1) check my cable connection (2) select source

  2. I highly suspect that we are being spied on by our 2015 Sony TV. Too many people are aware of the happenings in our living room. It is pitiful that someone would rely on a 66 and 65 year old couple for entertainment. I have disabled Samba and disconnected WiFi. Is it possible for someone to gain access via the TV cable? Your reply may also be beneficial to other seniors who are at the mercy of a tech savy generation.

  3. I got a smart tv but i have a tv in the bedroom thats not a smart tv now if i do away with cable do i need a smart tv in there also i got nexfix and Hulu can i still get tv programs?

  4. I currently have att uv-verse my tv in my tv room is connect via ether net cord. The new smart tv in the bedroom is connected to box to receive wireless signal . If I get rid of uverse how to I connect my new smart tv to receive wifi connection as there is no connection in that roonm

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