In recent years, many devices that can be operated wirelessly with apps or just a voice have entered the tech market. Called “smart” devices, they are interactive devices that can work alone with your smart phone or join into a network of smart devices in your home. As more and more people turn to smart technology, the desire to turn “dumb” devices smart has arisen – and the market has delivered.
Can smart outlets be used to turn on your television? Yes! Smart outlets, or smart plugs, can be plugged into a normal outlet in your home and used to turn your television on and off, among other things.
How Can a Smart Plug Turn on my TV?
Setting up your television to work with a smart plug could not be any easier. You simply:
- Plug the smart plug into your normal outlet
- Plug your television into the smart plug
- Download the app that works with the smart plug
- Follow the instructions on the app to connect your television
- Use your smart phone or a tablet to download the app.
- Connect the smart plug to a virtual assistant like Alexa or Siri. (optional)
While all smart plugs will work with your television, you will have to make sure you purchase one that is compatible with your virtual assistant if you are planning to hook it up to listen to voice commands. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa have many different smart plug options, while an Apple HomeKit that features Siri has only a few options.
Features to Look for in a Smart Plug
Along with being able to turn your television on and off, a smart plug introduces a few other convenient features that you can benefit from. Other smart plug features include scheduling, scenes, away mode, and energy monitoring.
- Scheduling allows you to set your television to turn on and off at predetermined times. This is extremely helpful for morning and nighttime routines – especially for evening routines that involve getting kids into bed.
- Scenes is unique to the virtual assistants Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa and allows you to get voice commands that will “set a scene.” For example, you could say something like, “Google, it’s movie time,” and your television will turn on while your lights dim.
- Away Mode allows you to set date and time ranges for when you will be away from home. The plug will randomly turn your tv on and off while you are gone to make it seem like you are home. This is a truly innovative home security measure.
- Energy monitoring is a feature in a smart plug that measures the electricity your television is using, in kilowatt hours (kWh). It allows you see the amount of energy that your device is using.
One question that many people considering buying a smart plug for their television have is: Does design matter? Yes, it does. There are some smart plugs that take up a single outlet and others that cover the second outlet. Some smart plugs are available with multiple ports, and others are available in a power strip style.
Do you need to have the second outlet available for other devices? Do you have multiple devices around your television – like a BluRay player, Playstation, or even a lamp – that you would like to be plugged in as well? The number of devices around your television and your need for outlets to be available for other electrical needs will help you determine the smart plug design you should purchase.
The Benefits of Using a Smart Plug with Your TV
Smart homes have become increasingly popular with the introduction of new, easy-to-use smart devices and appliances. By definition, “a smart home is a residence equipped with a number of devices that automate tasks normally handled by humans.” Some more modern homes have smart devices built into the home itself, while older homes must be upgraded by the owners to become smart.
However, not all homeowners have the extra money to sink into buying a house full of smart devices. This is why smart plugs are so incredibly helpful. They allow you to upgrade parts of your home to enjoy the benefits of smart devices without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Some of the benefits that you can enjoy with a smart plug are:
- They can simplify your morning routine. With the automatic on/off controls, you can program your devices to turn on for you each morning. Imagine waking up and having your coffee ready and your news on the television waiting for you.
- They offer increased security and safety. The automatic on/off controls also help to prevent any appliances from staying on too long and becoming a hazard. The away mode amps up your home security because it randomly turns on devices like televisions when you aren’t home to give the illusion that you are home.
- They are great additions to family management. Today’s families are very busy. Between working parents and children who have school, homework, and other extracurricular activities, nighttime routines can be hard to nail down. Being able to turn off your television at the same time every evening can help to make sure everyone gets their work done and encourages a nightly routine that can help with better sleep and productivity.
- They can save money and energy. Smart plugs can measure the amount of energy that is being consumed by the device they are connected to. You can use this data to help you schedule your devices and appliances in a way that conserves energy and saves money.
Great Smart Plug Options to Choose From
There are many factors to consider when you are choosing your smart plug, such as features, compatibility, design, and price. You may only need a single outlet, or you may need an entire smart power strip for a cluster of devices you want to plug in. The following chart details some amazing smart plug choices that you can choose from:
|iDevices Switch||Android and iOS appsAmazon AlexaApple HomeKit||-occupies a single outlet -in-depth energy monitoring -“night light” LED strip -includes remote control function|
|Eufy Smart Plug Mini||Android and iOS appsAmazon AlexaGoogle Assistant||-quality affordable option -occupies a single outlet -tracks energy usage|
|TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini||Android and iOS appsAmazon Alexa Google Assistant||-compact, bar-style plug -occupies a single outlet -offers away mode -no energy monitoring|
|iHome iSP8||Android and iOS appsApple HomeKitAmazon AlexaGoogle AssistantSamsung SmartThingsWink||-real-time energy monitoring only available for iOS users -includes slimline remote control -not as easy to use as iDevices Switch -occupies a single outlet|
|Geeni Switch + Charge Smart Wi-Fi Plug||Android and iOS appsAmazon AlexaGoogle Assistant||-occupies a single outlet -includes a pair of USB ports for charging devices -great Wi-Fi range -no energy monitoring|
|Koogeek 2-in-1 Smart Plug||Android and iOS appsAmazon AlexaGoogle Assistant||-occupies a single outlet -includes dual plugs -can program dual plugs individually -many automation options|
|Monoprice Wireless Smart Power Strip||Android and iOS appsAmazon AlexaGoogle Assistant||-includes 4 outlets and 2 USB ports for charging devices -uses Monoprice Stitch app to control and monitor devices -can program each outlet individually -can set on/off settings to match other smart devices in the home or things like time, temperature, and even sunrise and sunset|
Smart plugs help to add convenience to your life at a fraction of the cost of a ready-made smart device or appliance. In a time where it seems like technology is almost smarter than humans, smart plugs allow all families to benefit from the Internet of Things and smart homes, no matter their budget.