Do You Need Cable TV to Watch Smart TV?


Q. I called my local cable operator and they said I needed a cable box to operate my Smart TV and watch the Netflix. Is that true? Can’t I watch the Netflix with just the Internet box I have? — Mary, Boise Idaho.

Mary, you didn’t say which cable operator you have, but whoever you talked to was dead wrong.

But before I explain further, 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 Internet 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.

And, Mary, you don’t need a cable TV box that provides cable TV channels. All you need is a decent Internet service, which, based on your question, you appear to now have from your local cable operator.

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.

If you have a question about TV technology, send it to Please include your first name and hometown in your message. 

— Phillip Swann

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

3 comments on “Do You Need Cable TV to Watch Smart TV?”

  1. dead wrong is a bit of an overstatement as with no network neutrality they can if they wanted to block or slow down video streaming services if you don’t buy cable tv. Maybe not today but can happen down the road or even you get a very low cap unless you buy cable tv or pay $30-$50/mo more.

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