Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

It Is Ridiculously Difficult to Buy a ‘Dumb’ TV

Jeff Somers, Lifehacker:

That’s a lot of reasons to want a smart TV in today’s hyper-connected age but there are actually a lot of reasons why you don’t want a smart TV—and why you should strongly consider buying a “dumb” TV that offers an incredible viewing experience, and leave all the smarts to a separate device. In fact, here’s why you should buy the dumbest TV you can find.

Karl Bode, Techdirt:

You used to own a TV for ten years, and you’d just swap in and out HDMI-connected hardware as technologies evolved. But by integrating an OS and trying to dominate the hardware space, TV vendors have created a new, wasteful paradigm that shortens the shelf-life of televisions. Frustrated by the slow OS of a four year old TV? Better just buy an entirely new one!

Commenters on Bode’s post appear to have suggestions, but I was unable to find any of them on Amazon’s Canadian store. Bode references a 65-inch Samsung model, but I could not find that on Samsung’s site. Most online stores do not have a way to filter for non smart TVs, either.

I am sure there is a chunk of the market that is totally fine with this situation, but I am also sure there is a huge chunk of the market that is not. I am one of the people in the latter. And I find it hard to believe vendors could not sell these televisions if they wanted to.

I bet consumer demand is not the reason for the proliferation of smart TVs. It is almost certainly the result of an anti-privacy ad economy that makes so much money for these brands, the viewing data they are also paid to collect, and deals with streaming services to embed their apps. Given the rate at which iOS users have attempted to opt-out of tracking, many people probably prefer a TV option they are unable to find.

I sympathize with John Siracusa.

Update: In case I am reading this later, when I am next in the market for a TV, Staples and Walmart have a yes-or-no filter for smart TVs.