Q. My cable service said I needed a cable box to operate my Smart TV and watch Netflix. Is that true? — Fran, Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Fran, you didn’t say which cable operator you have, but whoever you talked to was dead wrong. It’s possible that the ‘cable guys’ were referring to their own Internet streaming offerings (Comcast and other cable operators now offer Netflix, Amazon Video and other streaming services on their set-tops.) But you don’t need that to watch them on your Smart TV.
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, Fran, you don’t need a cable TV box (or satellite or telco 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.
For more information and products that can help you get the most out of a Smart TV, check out this page from Amazon.com.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann