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You told us: Even with smart TVs, you're mostly using streaming dongles

There appears to be a clear method most smart TV owners use to stream content.

Published onJuly 11, 2020

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TVs come in all different shapes and sizes, as well as varying levels of “smart.” When I bought my television a few years ago, I knew I wanted a bigger 4K TV without any smart features. I didn’t think I would use them (I already owned a Chromecast), and many manufacturers charge a premium for that extra software. To this day I don’t regret my decision to buy a “dumb” TV.

For those of you who do own a smart TV, do you use the built-in smart features? Or do you use a secondary device for your streaming needs? This is the very question I asked you last week, and out of over 600 total votes, there’s a clear method most smart TV owners use to stream content.

Smart TV owners, do you use the built-in smart features or a streaming device?


Surprisingly, 40.71% of voters who own a smart TV use an alternate method to stream their content. Out of that pool, a majority 36.67% use some sort of dongle — like a Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or Roku — while 4.04% use a gaming console like a Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PlayStation.

29.56% of voters exclusively use their TVs’ on-device software for streaming. Even more people (29.73%) tend to switch between a dongle and their TVs’ on-device software.

Here’s what you had to say

Here are some of the best comments from last week’s poll explaining why they voted the way that they did:

  • djghettoredneck: NVIDIA Shield Android TV console on all my televisions
  • shopkins82:
    • Theater Room: Shield TV Pro (also as Plex Server) -> 4K Projector & 5.1.4 Atmos Surround
    • Living Room: Hisense H8F Android TV & 5.1 Surround
    • Master Bedroom: Mi Box S -> 4K Samsung Tizen TV & 2.1 Vizio Soundbar
    • Girls’ Room: Jetstream -> 32″ 1080p Vizio TV
    • Boys’ Room: Nexus Player -> 32″ 720p Insignia TV
    • Garage: Nexus Player -> 40″ 720p Samsung & 2.0 Stereo Speakers
    • Backyard Movie Night: Nexus Player -> 1080p Anker Projector & 2.0 Stereo Speakers
  • Paul Russell: My LG TV was too old to get an app for Disney+ and a Mi Box S is a hell of a lot cheaper and simple than buying a new TV. Otherwise I’d still be using the built-in apps for YouTube, Netflix and Google Play Movies
  • EeZeEpEe: I have 3 Rokus (One for each TV in our house), my living room is an Android TV that I prefer to use (mostly for the Google Assistant capabilities) while my wife uses the Roku on it, and our bedroom TV also has a Chromecast just to be able to cast things from our phones like Twitch.
  • Oversight68: I have 2 sets, Vizio and Sony.Vizio – I don’t use the smart/streaming functions, built into the set; however, I do have a Firestick on that television.
    Sony – I do use the streaming functionality that is built into Android TV.
  • TheOracle: I’ve yet to find a decent smart tv OS. They stutter, lag and seize up all the time. I use Android boxes on all my tv’s. Their flexibility and the power of the high-end ones can’t be matched. 3-4gb of ram minimum.
  • Eric Braun: Have a Roku TV that boots directly to a Shield. Use that for pretty much everything Video wise unless there’s an oddball service that doesn’t have an android tv app or the roku app is better. I do have a PS4 and an Xbox One hooked up and if i’m feeling lazy will use those to watch something after playing a game for a bit.
  • D9: Depending upon the situation, I use the smart system built-in to my TV (2019 Sony-Android TV W/Chromecast and Airplay built-in), or that built-in to my set top box (Dishnetwork with Google Assistant integration) which features built-in channels for YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon prime video.
  • Shooting Star Max: I use a computer I built for my living room TV. It’s got a small wireless keyboard + touchpad, so it’s quite comfortable to use.

That’s it for this week. As always, thanks for voting, thanks for the comments, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the results below.

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