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Smart televisions are a good alternative to streaming devices and video game consoles. While those consoles and devices let you use your favorite apps, they also produce a lot of heat and can slow down your internet connection.

You also risk losing the remote or finding that the device stops working. Smart TVs have all of the apps you want to use already installed on them. You can use a hotspot to connect to a smart TV and use those apps.

Depositphotos_68084183_S Smart tv blurred screen

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Can You Use a Hotspot to Connect to a Smart TV?

As long as you have a phone with a hotspot, you can connect it to your smart TV. Before you learn how to do this, you should make sure that your phone has a mobile hotspot and that you can use it. Some cell phones have a mobile hotspot option.

When you click on it though, you’ll find that nothing happens. This may occur because your provider requires you to pay extra for the service. A mobile hotspot can also refer to an internet access point established with a small device.

Types of Hotspots?

There are a few different types of hotspots such as a public hotspot. A public hotspot allows you to connect to the internet with your devices, but it also allows others to use that same connection, which can limit your security.

You will find these in hospitals and restaurants along with other public settings. Some places require that you pay to use the service.

Mobile hotspots are those found on cell phones. When you turn on the feature, you can use the internet it offers through other devices like your smart TV. As you near your data cap, you’ll usually find that your connection slows down.

You can also buy a mobile hotspot device to use with your TV. This will require that you pay a monthly fee for the internet.

An alternative to a mobile hotspot is a prepaid hotspot. Many brands now offer this service and run deals where you get the hotspot device for free.

Prepaid devices are great for those who need internet at home and those who travel a lot. You can choose a plan that includes all of the data you need at an affordable price.

How Can I Connect My Hotspot to a Smart TV (iPhone & Android)?

Though you can connect your hotspot to a smart TV, the steps you take will differ based on the device you have. You can check out how to do this with either an Android phone or an iPhone.

Using an iPhone

If you have an iPhone with a hotspot, look for the “Settings” button on your home screen and tap on it. Apple allows you to search for the app or feature you need.

Begin typing internet or connections in the search box and look for the hotspot option. You can also click on the “Cellular” button and then the “Personal Hotspot or Settings” button. Click on the “Personal Hotspot” button and use your finger to adjust the slider to the on position.

You then need to enter the menu or settings on your smart TV. Look for the internet connections and choose the option to set up a new connection. As long as your iPhone has power, the TV should identify it as a mobile hotspot. If you have a password on the hotspot, you need to enter it on your TV. Once the TV syncs to your phone, you can use the apps on your television.

An even easier way to connect your iPhone to your smart TV is with an HDMI cable. Plug one end of the cable into your iPhone and the other into a free port on the back of the TV. You may need to enter your password to use your iPhone as a hotspot.

A wireless adapter also lets you connect the two devices. As both HDMI cords and wireless adapters take up a lot of space and use some power, you may want to stick with the mobile hotspot option.

Using an Android Phone

Using an Android phone as a mobile hotspot is just as easy. The best method to connect the TV to your phone requires that you turn on your mobile data. Depending on what type of phone you have, this might be as easy as pressing the “Mobile Data” button on your home screen.

If you don’t see this button on your screen, visit your “Settings” to find it. Stay in your Settings menu because you will also need to click on the “Internet” or “Network” button. Look for the “Hotspot and Tethering” option and click on it.

This should load your mobile hotspot and let you turn it on when you slide the button. Turn on your smart TV and search for the network. Once the TV finds the hotspot network, you can enter your password and start using it.

If you have an Android phone with a notification bar, pull down on this bar with one swipe of your finger. Click on the “Mobile Data” button to turn it on and then enter your internet settings.

Click on the “Hotspot” icon to turn it on and wait a few seconds before you turn on your smart TV. Use the network menu on your TV to search for your mobile hotspot and link it to your TV.

Setting Up Your Password

When you use a mobile hotspot through your phone on your TV, you need to add a password.

This protects your internet connection and can prevent hackers from using your network or finding personal data.

Android

With an Android phone, you’ll need to enter your “Settings” and select “Hotspot and Tethering,” Enter the hotspot menu and select “Hotspot Password”.

Your phone will show you the current password you have and let you change it. If you do not have a password, you have the chance to add one now. Make sure you connect your TV to your phone and enter the right password.

iPhone

You can also set up a password for the hotspot on your iPhone. Enter your “Settings” menu and select “Personal Hotspot.” Scroll down until you see “WiFi Password Options” and click on it.

You can then enter the password you want to use and add it to the network connection on your TV. When you add a new password to an iPhone, it should restart and ask for the password before you can use your hotspot.

Depositphotos_241559524_S Modern LED television fixed on the wall above bowl and box at home

Does My Smart TV Use Data When Turned Off?

No matter what provider you choose, you get a certain amount of data per month. Even those that claim they offer unlimited data will throttle your speed once you hit a certain amount.

If you have 5GB of free data per month, your provider will start slowing down your speed as you near your limit. They may then shut off your internet or require that you pay a fee to get more data for the month.

Anything that you do online through your phone and its internet connection will count towards your data. This includes streaming movies on Netflix and playing online games that require an internet connection.

If you use your phone as a hotspot for your TV, anything you do on your television will also count towards your data usage for the month. That is why you might wonder if your TV will use data when you shut it off.

No, your smart TV does not use data when turned off. Think about it this way, does the TV continue drawing power when you turn it off and unplug it from the outlet?

As long as you shut the TV off, it should not use any of your data. If you worry that it will keep using your hotspot, simply turn off the hotspot on your phone or shut off the phone itself.

Smart TVs are different from Roku and other streaming devices. When you use a streaming device, you need to return to the home screen when you’re done.

The device can keep using your internet as long as it remains connected. If you use one of these devices with your phone, turn off the connection at the end of the night to save data.

Are There Any Downsides to Using a Hotspot for a Smart TV? 

Now that you know you can use your hotspot with your smart TV, it’s time to look at some of the downsides. One issue is that it will drain your battery.

Though some phones today have a standby time of several days, they often have a battery that only lasts for 12 to 24 hours. If you spend a lot of time on Reddit or playing games, you’ll notice that your battery drains pretty quickly. The same thing can happen when you use your phone as a hotspot.

Another issue is that your phone has slower internet speeds than a stable connection does. With a home internet connection, you enjoy fast speeds that let you watch entire movies without any issues.

When you use a mobile hotspot, you’ll likely find that films buffer because your speed is so low. You may even find that you can’t use certain apps.

Don’t forget about the possible security risks either. Some phones ask you to set the password every time you turn on your mobile hotspot. When you forget to do this even once, you leave your network vulnerable to outside threats. There is also a risk that you’ll go through your data limit faster than you usually would.

Depositphotos_30545145_S WiFi hotspot sign concept

Why Won’t My Smart TV Connect to My Hotspot?

There are a few different reasons why your smart TV won’t connect to your hotspot such as having too many devices on the same network. You may have problems because your phone and/or TV need updates, too.

Some of the other reasons your TV and hotspot won’t work together include:

  • Your hotspot is faulty.
  • The provider does not allow you to use your device as a hotspot.
  • You want to use an app that doesn’t work with a hotspot.
  • Your phone doesn’t have enough data left.

How Can I Troubleshoot Hotspot Connection Issues?

Nothing is worse than sitting down to catch the latest episode of your favorite show after a rough day at work and finding that your hotspot doesn’t work. Troubleshooting your connection is easier than you might think and lets you take care of the problem at home by yourself.

Checking for other devices is the easiest thing to do. You can remove any devices that you do not recognize from your hotspot connection.

Simply enter the menu on your phone and look for paired devices. It’s also helpful to remove any devices you do not need to use to make sure you have a strong connection to your smart TV.

You should also restart both your phone and TV, especially if you have older devices. There is a good chance that one or both need updates that you never installed. When you restart them, they will go through all of the available updates and install any that they need.

Do a hard rest on your TV because simply unplugging it and plugging it in won’t help. You need to unplug the cord from the outlet and let it sit for at least 60 seconds. When you plug the TV back into the outlet and turn it on, it will look for updates.

Another way to look for issues is through your hotspot. Turn off all of the devices that use it and shut off the hotspot itself. When you turn the hotspot back on, connect one device at a time.

Start with your laptop or another computer and see if you can go online through the hotspot. Keep adding more devices until you find the problem.

Though you can troubleshoot your connection at home, you may need to contact your cell phone provider first. Did you try to turn on your mobile hotspot and got a message that this feature is not available on your phone? This often happens when you have an older phone.

When providers changed from 3G to 4G networks, they limited some things users could do with 3G phones. The same thing happened when providers moved to 5G networks.

There is no way to get around this. You will need to upgrade to a better phone or buy a hotspot device to use a hotspot at home.

Another problem that can occur is that you have a plan that does not support hotspots. Many providers have affordable plans that offer a small amount of data and unlimited messaging. These plans are cheap but do not let you use your phone as a hotspot.

You may need to change to a different plan to unlock this feature. Keep in mind that your phone may show that you have a hotspot but not let you use it because of your plan.

If you aren’t sure if your phone plan will support a mobile hotspot, call the company and ask. This also gives you the chance to ask about your data cap. The data cap is the total amount of data that you get per month.

Streaming apps like Netflix use 0.7BG of data per hour when you choose standard definition and up to 7GB of data per hour with UHD. One reason you may not have a good connection is that you already used too much data.

Before you spend a lot of time troubleshooting your connection, look for outages in your area. It’s not just internet and cable providers that suffer outages.

Cell phone provider networks can also go down for a few minutes or longer. When there is an outage in your service area, your hotspot will not work until the provider fixes the problem.

Using Your Smart TV with a Hotspot

Not only can you use a smart TV with a hotspot, but pairing the two is easy. It usually only takes a few seconds and allows you to use your mobile data with streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+ without having an internet connection in your home. Make sure you know what to do if the connection fails and how to sync the devices to use your hotspot with your smart TV.