How can you watch YouTube on a TV, even if it’s not a smart TV? Here’s our complete guide to streaming and enjoying endless YouTube cat videos on your telly at home.
YouTube is one of the biggest video platforms ever to exist, totally free to use and stacked with all manner of hilarious videos, be it fluffy cats being super-cute or side-splitting fail compilations. By the end of 2015, this mega video factory was streaming 500 hours of video uploads per minute, with the number steadily rising all of the time.
When YouTube first arrived it was a great way to watch video on a laptop or, even better, at your work computer (during lunch, of course). Then video fans started streaming content on their mobiles, meaning the latest cat videos could even be enjoyed while dropping the kids off at the pool each morning.
Nowadays you can enjoy YouTube on more platforms than ever, including your big screen television, which is a perfect way to stream supported videos in 4K resolution. Here’s how to watch YouTube on your television at home with the rest of the family.
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Smart TV
One of the most straightforward ways of watching YouTube on your TV is by using that television’s built-in brain. Most new smart TVs are equipped with a range of pre-installed apps and YouTube will always be one of the top apps to jump out at you. All you need to do is open the app, in some cases after installing, then search for ‘fluffiest kittens 2016’ and enjoy.
Thanks to these YouTube apps being made for TV, you won’t need to worry about setting resolution or adapting to new controls as it’ll all likely be set up for your specific screen. You can usually even find and load videos on your phone, where searching tends to be simple, and then fling it to play on the TV with the app already open.
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Google Chromecast
Google exists not only to take over the world and turn us all into robot slaves, but also to make our lives easier. Probably only one of those statements is true.
In the same way that Google has managed to make access to the world’s knowledge as simple as a single search bar, it’s also made flinging content to TVs just as simple. Using an affordable bit of hardware and some smart coding, Google has made chucking video from a phone, tablet or laptop as easy as an icon tap.
The Google Chromecast is a basic Wi-Fi connected device that features an HDMI out to connect to any screen with an HDMI port – which is pretty much all of them nowadays. Simply open a Chromecast enabled app on your phone, tablet or via Chrome browser and tap the cast icon to fling it to the connected TV – it’s really that simple. This works for YouTube, Netflix, Plex and more – but not Amazon Prime Instant Video, which has its own hardware.
The Chromecast can be grabbed for around £30, so it’s a pleasingly cheap option for watching YouTube on your TV at home.
Read next: Chromecast tips and tricks
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is very similar to Google’s Chromecast. This is a dongle that also plugs into any spare HDMI port in your telly, but in this case the Fire TV plays back pretty much everything from YouTube and Prime Instant Video to Netflix and iPlayer. The Fire TV Stick even has games you can play, plus 8GB of onboard storage.
The Fire TV stick comes with either a standard remote or a voice enabled controller which allows you to simply say what you want to search for – making it much faster and easier to use. Not bad for the £35 starting price.
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Miracast
Miracast is the Wi-Fi Alliance’s standardised Android casting platform. Essentially, if you’ve got a compatible Wi-Fi connected TV or box, then you’ll be able to mirror your Android 4.2 or newer device on the big screen. Therefore, everything you can see on your mobile gadget’s display will be reproduced on your TV.
The advantage here is that you can have anything on your phone up there on the big screen meaning streaming shows, music, gaming or even showing off your latest Insta efforts. Watching YouTube is as easy as opening the app and having it appear, full screen in 1080p and 5.1 surround on your home cinema.
For a complete list of compatible devices check out the Wi-Fi Alliance website and see if you’re ready to start casting right now.
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Games consoles
Chances are you already own a games console from the past few years like the Playstation or Xbox. Now that most of the big gaming units are Wi-Fi connected and smart, they’re able to run all your favourite apps, including YouTube.
Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and 3 and Nintendo’s Wii U all boast YouTube support. Simply open the YouTube app from your console’s menu and you’ll be able to get searching or, in the case of a Kinect-toting Xbox One, you can simply use your voice to find the best YouTube videos.
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Roku
There are plenty of cheap wannabe no-name streaming set-top boxes out there, but if you want something really decent it’s worth going for a well-developed name like Roku. So good is this software that it’s even being used by Sky in its Now TV boxes.
The latest is the Roku 4, costing £80, which features a remote that you can plug headphones into for a private experience. There’s also the more affordable £70 Roku 2 and the minimal £40 Roku Streaming Stick. All of these have YouTube as standard, meaning you can easily access all of your favourite channels with ease and have them stream quickly and clearly. The US also has Roku 4, at $130, which is able to stream 4K quality video.
Read next: Roku 4 vs Fire TV vs Nvidia Shield TV
How to watch YouTube on your TV: Apple TV
If you’ve got Apple’s iPhone, or any Apple devices for that matter, then the Apple TV is a great way to access their media content on the big screen. While the Apple TV does also have YouTube, you’ll need to have a newer model as the older Apple TV hardware lost support for certain apps like YouTube a while back.
Thanks to that dependable Apple design, the layout for the Apple TV YouTube app is great, with simple predictive search helping make video finding and channel subscription easy. Plus it can all be controlled from the dedicated Apple remote. The 32GB storage model is £129.