How to convert an old CRT TV to a smart TV

Do you wish to buy a Smart TV, but do not have that budget. Or you do not want to thow away your existing functioning ordinary TV, but need to have Smart TV viewing. Don't worry. You can convert your ordinary TV including the old CRT TV to a smart TV at a small cost. In this article the author tells us how easy it is to convert your ordinary non-smart TV to a Smart TV using Android TV box and cites his own experience.

How is Smart TV different from an ordinary TV

A smart TV, like a Smartphone, can connect to the internet and run various apps whereas ordinary TV cannot do that. Thus a smart TV can play a large number of TV channels, show movies and music, show programmes and streaming services available via the internet. Many such channels are free and you can also have subscribed channels too. Smart TVs can facilitate web browsing, games and also access compatible media contents stored on a computer. "A smart TV is just one way to add internet streaming and related features to your TV viewing experience"

What is the need for a smart TV

Ordinary non-smart TVs are almost on the way out. Smart TV s are becoming much popular. At present those who do not have smart TVs connect to the internet using a smartphone, desktop computers, tablet PCs and Laptops. They use their ordinary TVs just to view the TV channels given to them by their cable service providers or Dish TV services with a set-top box. As a smart TV can connect to the internet it facilitates viewing a large number of channels and media content from the internet. With a good Smart TV, users can have a single large screen device for their TV viewing, You tube, Web browsing, Email, Social media and various other uses for which they are now using their Laptops, Desktops and Smart media sources in their computers, flash drive, SD card, etc.

How can we have a Smart TV

  1. One can directly buy a suitable Smart TV. There are various types available from the low-end ones with limited facilities and features to the high-end ones with a lot of features and facilities. They come in different costs and different operating systems.
  2. One can buy certain additional third-party devices like Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku Stick, or Android TV boxes to 'turn' the non-smart TVs into somewhat smart ones. Many times the second option looks better for reasons given in the following paragraph

Why to convert old TV instead of buying new smart TV

  1. Cost : Smart TVs cost higher than ordinary TVs. Though the low-end ones may be costing somewhat lesser the high-end ones are not budget-friendly. All may not be able to afford to buy a new Smart TV. But converting ordinary TV to a Smart TV is budget-friendly and costs just a fraction of the new TV.
  2. Limitations : Smart TVs have their limitations. The low-end ones will be able to run only some specific pre-installed apps. The user cannot install and run apps of his choice. Depending on the manufacturer and the operating system used, there will be specific limitations. I conversion route, the devices are all latest ones, with backward compatibility, multi functional and can go for more years.
  3. Obsolescence : Out-dating or obsolescence is very fast on Smart TVs. Very soon after spending a good amount of buying a new one; we may find that its latest version with more facilities is launched. As narrated above Converting an ordinary TV to smart TV involves just a new device at less cost. We can buy the latest version which is also budget-friendly.
  4. Environment-friendly- by Reuse: Old TV s are space-consuming. There is not an effective practically no 'second-hand market' for them. When we buy new Smart TVs, the old non-smart ones remain to clutter our home space. Converting them to Smart ones need only a small device and does not occupy any extra space. So we save waste and clutter too.

All these make it imperative justifiable and reasonable to convert a well functioning ordinary TV to a smart TV with minimal budget and additions rather than going for a new Smart TV. This is also apt when one needs a Smart TV in another room too without spending much.

How to convert old CRT TV to a Smart TV with Android TV box

Android TV boxes are much popular these days. It is a small square or other shaped boxes with various input and output ports like HDMI port, AV port, USB ports, etc and having inbuilt Wi-Fi integrated to it. Android boxes are based on the Android operating system and functionality is almost like our familiar android smartphones. They are manufactured by many and they come cheaper than smartphones. They give a wide range of uses from surfing the internet web, to streaming video to our TV. Android TV boxes are based on the Android operating system and give the familiar interactive experience too. What we need is a working TV set and an internet connection and, Lo!, the Android TV box can turn the TV into a smart TV by access to various online live TV channels, movies-on-demand, Netflix, etc and other media and web surfing without the need of TV antenna, Dish or set-top box. (We can say that they are mini PCs without a screen to display. Our old TV when connected to the Android TV box becomes its screen)

MXQ Pro 4k,7.1 Android TV box

I have used the ZAMPEQ MXQ Pro 4K Android TV Box 2GB RAM/16GB ROM 64 Bit Quad Core Wi-Fi UHD Smart TV Box to convert my 20-year-old CRT color TV. The installation itself is very simple and easy. It is just a child's play. You need to connect the device to the TV, to the internet and to power. Once that is done, the operation is so easy and convenient especially for all those who use android smartphones or tabs. Even for an unfamiliar person, just a few clicks on the remote will give confidence and expertise in navigation and operation.

Installation and connection

As said earlier installation or connection is very easy. The connection ports are named in the MXQ Pro 4k box. 20191123_145934
  • Connect Android TV box to power by connecting the adapter narrow end to the 5V power port of the box and connecting the other end to the suitable power plug point socket.
  • Connecting to the TV by AV cable: The box comes with only HDMI cable suitable for connecting to modern-day TVs. In my case, the TV is an old CRT TV with AV ports,-Yellow-white-Red. Hence, in such cases, a 3.5 mm to AV cable is needed. This does not come with the box and to be purchased additionally. Connect the narrow end of the AV cable to the AV port in the Android TV box. Connect the Yellow-white-Red points to the respective ports in the TV
  • Connecting to the Internet : If you are using Ethernet cable for internet, connect the data cable (LAN) from modem to the "Ethernet' port in the Android TV box. If you are using WiFi modem then just keep the WiFi on.
  • Power on : Now that all connections are properly given, we can power on the TV and the Android TV box by switching on their power supply switches. The blue light will appear on the Android box. If not just click the power button on the remote that came with the box.
  • Starting : It may take a few seconds to boot. The TV screen will show 'Android" followed by "MBOX'. Then the home screen with various squares or shapes with names Online Radio, Recommended, Music, My apps, Local, Settings, etc will appear.


  • Your ordinary TV is now ready to be a Smart TV. By using the remote you can just navigate and explore the various functions. You can enable the mouse navigation on the remote also. If you are using Wi-Fi, click on 'settings' and click the Wi-Fi symbol on the opening screen. It will show the available connection. You may need to put the password you use for the Wi-Fi by using the on-screen keyboard and mouse on the remote. Once the password is okay and credentials accepted, it will show as connected and now you can use the TV as smart TV
  • Alternatively you can connect a USB keyboard and/or USB mouse to the USB ports on the box. Similarly, you can connect a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard

By exploring My Apps, you can come to YouTube, browser, email, music online videos, etc and enjoy your smart TV. You can download and add any other apps needed from the Google Play store just as you do on your smartphone. You can play the media in your USB or SD card by connecting it to the respective port on the box. The same will be sensed and displayed in 'Local". You can navigate and view the choice.


I am satisfied that my two decades old TV is a neo-Smart TV. So the conclusion is: for those who still have to function non-smart HDMI TVs or old CRT TVs, and wish to buy smart TVs within a tight budget, they should buy and install the (Zampeq) MXQ Pro 4k,7.1 Android TV box and convert their non-smart TVs into smart TVs easily. I wish you a happy Smart TV experience.

(Note: Image sources;author's own.The article is of first hand experience by the author. The equipment or appliances are author's own and photo credit to author only)

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Author: Umesh09 Oct 2020 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

This is very useful information. Many people nowadays go for new gadgets and discard the old ones without any second thought and those who can financially afford to take that route often. Companies are also motivating and encouraging the customers to do so and luring them with exchange programs where some deduction for the old TV or any other gadget would be provided by the seller. So it makes sense to upgrade the old TV with some adapters and accessories as detailed in this article. In some cases we might face a problem of getting some connector or adapter as there are always issues when we want to connect an old device with new setup. In such cases what I would suggest is that there are some TV and electronic repair shops in almost all places which have large accumulation of chords, connectors, adapters and things like that and just a visit to those shops can sometimes solve our problem.

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