How to Add Gigabit Ethernet to a TV Without It


Steve Heap/

TV makers have been quick to upgrade their latest models with fast HDMI 2.1 ports capable of supporting 4K 120Hz gaming in glorious HDR. Unfortunately, most of the same models still use outdated 100Mb Ethernet ports. Fortunately, we have a solution.

Use an inexpensive USB Ethernet adapter

In addition to HDMI and component inputs, most modern TVs have USB ports that allow you to connect storage devices. This allows you to play video files from a hard drive or memory card and, in some cases, record live and satellite programming directly to USB.

But these same ports can also be used to add additional functionality to your TV, such as gigabit networking with a USB to Ethernet adapter. These are the same inexpensive adapters you’d use in a laptop or desktop if you wanted to easily improve your network speeds.

One caveat to keep in mind is that the speed of your TV’s USB ports can also hamper performance. Some of the best TVs (such as LG’s OLED range) are restricted to USB 2.0 speeds (480Mb/sec maximum theoretical), while other manufacturers (such as Sony) have made the jump to USB 3.0 (4.8Gb/sec maximum theoretical ).

The most important question to ask yourself is whether or not a given USB adapter will work with your TV. Vincent Teoh of HDTV Test has shown in a YouTube video that Cable Matters USB 3.0 to Ethernet Adapter works with the latest models from LG and Sony, but it might be worth searching the web if you have a different brand or want to use a different one. different adapter.

USB to Ethernet adapter

On the plus side, these adapters are relatively cheaply priced and range from $10 to $25 on average to find out. If it turns out that the adapter doesn’t work with your TV, you can probably find a use for it elsewhere if you use a wired network at home or work.

RELATED: WiFi vs. Ethernet: How much better is a wired connection?

Why bother with Gigabit Ethernet on a TV?

Most new TVs support 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless networks, but Wi-Fi is notoriously temperamental. Although 5 GHz networks have a theoretical maximum speed of 1300 Mb/s, many confounding variables can affect real-world performance. Ethernet is much more reliable in this regard.

Not everyone can get their wireless router into an optimal position, and not everyone has the money for a mesh router system. In many real world scenarios, Ethernet is still the best solution in terms of speed and reliability. When most TVs are limited to just 100 Mb/sec, this can leave performance on the table.

Not only is Internet performance potentially limited, but local streaming performance can also be affected. If you run a media server to stream content over the local network, you may run into obstacles with higher bitrate content, especially in 4K and HDR formats.

RELATED: How to set up a home media server that you can access from any device

Most streaming boxes are Gigabit ready

Fortunately, this is a problem that mostly only affects televisions directly. By adding a gigabit network adapter to your TV, you can improve the performance of apps that run natively on that device.

Many streaming boxes like Apple TV 4K (but sadly not Google Chromecast Ultra) have a built-in gigabit network. That includes game consoles like the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 consoles.

If you’re looking for a new TV, be sure to read our guide to buying a TV and check out our recommendations on the best TVs to spend your money on.