How to Make Smart TV from Ordinary TV Using TV Box?

Hello!

I want to tell you about my experience of transforming an ordinary TV into a Smart TV. I think that many people will be interested. Read below how I did it!

Problem
We like to watch movies on the Internet with the whole family without annoying ads. On the other hand, It is not convenient for us to watch movies on the small monitor in my room. We all wanted to use our 42” TV in our living room.

Idea – connection of TV to my PC and use TV as an extended display
To solve this problem, I got the idea to connect the TV to my computer as an additional display. Then I could extend the screen of my computer to the TV. I would get a Smart TV with a Windows operating system on the TV in the living room!

Brainstorming
I could connect my computer to the TV set by HDMI cable, but the computer and TV set are in different rooms. I didn’t want to move the computer to the living room from my room as well as to pull the wires. I need to find a better solution.

We have a TV box. The TV box model is X96 Max 4/64 with Android 9.

TV Box

I’ve got an idea to transfer a video stream to our TV set from PC through the Internet and the TV box. I investigated on the Internet and found a Spacedesk application for connecting an external display to a PC through Wi-Fi.

Setting up the environment
The computer is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Below is the configuration in the living room. I connected my TV box to our TV set using HDMI cable and to my router using Ethernet cable as shown in the figure below.

TV Box is on the left, the router is on the right, TV is on the bottom

OK. Now we are ready to set up the Spacedesk.

Brief description about Spacedesk
Program Spacedesk expands the Windows desktop computer screen to other computers with displays (or laptops, tablets, smartphones, TV sets) over the local area network including Wi-Fi. One computer must be assigned as the primary machine or server. Another computer (or laptop, tablet, smartphone, TV box) – as a secondary machine, or client. And both devices should be connected to one local area network (for example, a Wi-Fi network).
Spacedesk installation on my PC (server part)

  1. Download the “Spacedesk DRIVER software for Windows Primary PC (server), 64 bit, .msi” file from the page.
  2. Install this driver
  3. Restarting PC
  4. Obtain the caption “spacedesk display driver loaded…” on the black screen before Windows loading to make sure that the Spacedesk server part is installed correctly
  5. Obtain a spacedesk icon in the system tray. Open it.

6. Move to the Network Connections Tab. There should be “No remote connection”.

Using the above steps I installed the server Spacedesk application on my PC.
Spacedesk installation on TV box (client part)

  1. Connect to the same Wi-Fi network as the PC
  2. Open Google Play on Android and search for the “Spacedesk (remote display)” application
  3. Download and install this app
  4. Obtain the Spacedesk icon on the screen
    Following the above steps, I installed the client Spacedesk application on my TV box.

PC and TV box connection

  1. Open the Spacedesk application on the TV box
  2. Check the box Auto Network Search. The server will be found automatically
  3. Push the IP address of the PC in the Spacedesk App to connect
  4. Obtain the screen of the PC on the TV set (screens are in duplicate mode)
  5. Extend displays on the PC (System ⇒ Display Settings ⇒ Extend displays)
  6. Obtain Windows desktop on the TV set
PC and TV box are connected!

Movie watching
After that, I dragged a media player window with some movie to the TV screen from my PC screen and dropped to the TV set’s screen. I went to the audio settings and chose the TV speaker as the default audio output. It was possible to watch the movie from my computer on a large TV in our living room! We had a happy family time while watching the movie together. We were happy!

New problems
Everything worked out well, but I found a few small problems. In case I need to work while my family watching some movie:

  • The audio could be played only on one audio device. While my wife’s watching something on the TV, I could not listen to other audio on my computer. My sound went to the TV and interfered with the sound of the movie. It was inconvenient for me as watching YouTube movies is a part of my work.
  • In order to start the video on the TV screen, I had to go with my wireless mouse to the living room. My mouse didn’t work well because the Bluetooth signal from my PC was low in the living room. Fortunately, I launched the movie. But it was very inconvenient and took some time.

Idea – multiseat software ASTER
I searched the Internet for a solution to the above new problems and found a multiseat ASTER application for Windows from IBIK Software OU company. This program allows creating of independent workplaces based on a single computer. It means that it is possible to create a separate computer workplace with our TV screen as a display. It would allow assigning the TV speakers, a new mouse, and a new keyboard to our new TV-based workplace. As TV and computer are in different rooms. It would be necessary to use a wireless set of mouse and keyboard. ASTER would solve both of my new problems! Let’s go!

Implementation

  1. Download ASTER from the website https://ibiksoft.com
  2. Install ASTER
  3. Open ASTER and activate a 30-days trial period
  4. In GUI of ASTER go to the Workplaces tab

5. Create the second workplace for our TV set:

Find out which display icon corresponds to the TV set. Click the right button of your mouse on the displays ⇒ choose the “Indicate Device” option in the context menu. The displays will be identified by the red numbers in the left-up corners of the displays.
Drag&drop the TV display to the 2nd workplace

Find out which mouse and keyboard icons correspond to the TV workplace. Press buttons on the keyboard and mouse to understand where they are on the screen. The keyboard and mouse are highlighted by a blue rectangle.
Drag&drop the keyboard and mouse to the 2nd workplace

Find speaker icons in the Shares folder on the left side of the screen
Find out which speaker icon corresponds to the TV set’s speaker. Click the right button of your mouse on the speakers ⇒ choose the “Indicate Device” option in the context menu.
Drag&drop TV speakers to the second workplace and PC speakers to the first workplace from the Spares folder.

6. Go to the General Settings tab

7. Push the button “Enable ASTER and reboot PC

8. After rebooting, connect remotely with the TV box using Spacedesk

9. Go to the General Settings tab on the computer in ASTER

10. Push the “Run ASTER Workplaces” button

11. A Windows authorization screen appears on the TV set

As a result, we got an independent workplace with a TV screen and split audio channels. It becomes more convenient for all of us. Now my wife and children could find and choose a movie to watch by themselves without disturbing me.

Do you want to use ASTER for making your ordinary TV Smart?