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How to download and play games on your smart TV

Even if you don’t own a games console, you can still download and play games on your smart TV. Here’s how to download games to your own smart TV, be it a Sony, Samsung, LG, Philips or Panasonic television, and get gaming with your family.

Televisions are getting ridiculously smart now. Not only can they display 4K and HDR imagery but they can also run apps, which turns them into fully-fledged and flexible entertainment hubs. In fact, some smart TVs can even play games, without the need to attach a console or any extra devices.

Manufacturers use various operating systems for their TVs, which means that each is different and supports a different selection of apps. However, many now feature games on their own app stores, which can be browsed, downloaded and played – often for free.

Some smart TVs also allow for smartphone mirroring, so you can play mobile games on the big screen. Some even have PlayStation Now built-in, meaning you can play full-on PS3 games without purchasing a console. Technology, eh?

Read next: How to stream from your phone or tablet to your TV

So what games are available to download for your own smart TV, and how do you get started? If you’re thinking of buying a new TV or want to find a selection of games on the one you have right now, this guide is for you.

How to play games on your smart TV

If you have a relatively new television, it’ll more than likely have an operating system that supports an ecosystem of apps. Some, like Sony’s Bravia tellies, come with an Android based OS – meaning you’ll have access to a huge selection of games via the Google Play Store.

Some smart TVs, like some recent boxes from Samsung and Sony, have PlayStation Now access. This means you can play full PlayStation 3 games with a wireless DualShock controller.

How to play games on your smart TV: Samsung

Samsung’s range of smart TVs have all the usual mobile games to download and play for free. There are even movement-responsive remote controls bundled with the higher end TVs, for improved and immersive control. But it’s the PlayStation team-up that makes the Samsung tellies really impressive for gaming.

If you subscribe to PlayStation Now you can play a selection of full-on PlayStation 3 games right there on your Samsung TV, no console needed. Sammy devices even support the PlayStation DualShock controllers, so you can wirelessly game almost exactly as if you were using a console – only it’s cheaper and easier. Don’t have a DualShock controller? No worries. You can use your smartphone remote app to turn your mobile into a touchscreen gaming controller. Smart.

How to play games on your smart TV:  Sony

Sony has opted to use Android TV as the operating system for its televisions. This is a good thing for owners as it means you get a well developed and very stable platform. But it also means you instantly have access to tonnes of apps already available on the Google Play Store, which have been specially adapted for the big screen.

That means you can download and play some really high-quality games like Real Boxing, Dead Trigger 2 and, of course, Asphalt 8. But it gets even better as Sony smart TVs can also play a selection of PlayStation games thanks to their PlayStation Now support. Yup, you can play PS3 classic like Uncharted right there on your TV, minus any kind of console.

Since this is a Sony product it’ll also play nice with your Sony PlayStation DualShock 4 controller, for wireless gaming fun from your sofa.

How to play games on your smart TV: LG

To get playing games on your LG smart TV, you’ll need to download some titles from LG’s apps store and make sure you have a controller at the ready. Some TVs use the remote control as a way of gaming and LG has its own Magic Remote which responds to movement, making it ideal for gaming – especially for swipe frenzy classics like Fruit Ninja.

In reality a lot of the games you’ll find for LG smart tellies are rip-offs of smartphone style games, but they’re free to download and just as good to be honest. Tetris appears in all its glory but Hot Chicks is a take on Space Invaders, with more dodging than attacking the falling onslaught.

How to play games on your smart TV: Philips

Philips has also opted to go with the Android TV operating system. So, much like Sony, you can expect a smooth, intuitive interface with plenty of games you’ll recognise from the Google Play Store already.

You can use the TV’s remote or sync your phone for more fluid control. You can also wirelessly connect a gaming controller like the DualShock for super intuitive gaming fun.

The difference with Philips? If you have an Ambilight TV it’ll even work in Android gaming mode, throwing the game’s edges further out onto the wall with a halo of light that immerses you even further into the experience.

How to play games on your smart TV: Panasonic

The Firefox OS running on Panasonic smart TVs is relatively new and offers a speedy, well-connected platform. In particular the new interface, Firefox 2.0, features a good-looking customisable layout. However, the trade-off is that you get access to far fewer games than on rival operating systems such as Android TV.

However, since Firefox OS supports HTML5, it means that developers can easily create and port games to the platform. Captain Rogers is just one fun little game brought across to the big screen than can easily be played with LG’s standard TV remote.

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