Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/176392/smart-tvs-are-stupid-why-you-dont-really-want-a-smart-tv/
Wouldn’t it be great to have a smart TV? Well, not really. If you do have a smart TV, you’d be better off combining it with a cheap set-top box rather than actually using its smart features.
Or you can hook up that extra PC you have laying in the closet, and buy a $25 logitech wireless keyboard with track pad on the side.
Stock Windows XP at about 1Ghz, a fair amount of ram. And you can stream anything, even Hulu not plus.
I put the windows signed Royal Noir theme on and it looks great.
Also put Johns background switcher so every time it boots I have a different movie themed background. Other than that Google Chrome, And VLC for LAN video streaming, for all your digitized movies.
Similar case. The TV is smart (mostly), but we seldom use the smart parts. We use HDMI (for the set-top box and laptop) or composite (Wii). Laptop runs Windows 8.1, so looks pretty nice even in 1080p. Streaming can be done through the web browser.
The real problem with all of these options is controlling them. You often end up switching between multiple remotes, changing the video source, etc. A few companies have taken a shot at alleviating this with so-so results: Google TV attempts to pipe all sources (Cable, Web, DVR, etc.) through their set top box. This is a start, but it's still a little cludgy and requires their extra hardware. Logitech has a bunch of hi-end universal remotes that allow you to use programmable macros to do all of this, but it ends up be a remote that kinda does everything (in a mediocre way).
When Apple's mythical reinvention of the TV appears in 2057 it will work great and give you like 2 options from their lame-ass walled garden. Yay!
Am I the only person still waiting for UbuntuTV to come pre-installed?
The problem I have with the Logitech remotes is that they end up being over-complicated and slower to use. A good Universal remote will let you control any function on your device with 2 keystrokes at most. The higher end Harmony remotes make you go through menus, try to turn your devices on and off when not necessary, and generally make things more complicated - not less.
Ideally, I'd love to find an updated version of the venerable old Marantz RC-2000 MK II. Now THAT was a quality piece of hardware. Unfortunately, around 2004 or so, I started seeing devices it couldn't program, and Marantz never offered an updated version of the controller.
I haven't used it for this purpose yet, but another option would be to purchase a raspberry pi ($35.00 US) and install Rasbmc or something similar. The Pi is regularly updated, and the setup is actually quite easy.
I don't know on which TV's this article is based on, but my TV (Samsung UE46ES8000) is a SMART TV, which functions are awesome. I use only ONE Remote Control to control all the functions and options. The Smart thing is, that I can choose which RC I want to use. Be it my PC/Laptop or my Phablet or the one that came with the TV.
I absolute don't need an extra box as suggested in the article. My TV is part of my home network and every computer and phone in that network can stream to the TV flawless. (Linux, Windows 8.1 & Windows 7 and Android).
Gaming can also be done in different ways, some games I play on a Xbox, some on one of my computers, sometimes a game app installed on the TV. For each I can choose what output I want, a monitor or the TV.
I also find it pretty smart that I can upgrade my TV when I want to, turning a TV with dual core into a quadcore by only adding a smal box. I also totally love the fact that i can use voice commands to control my TV, this way I don't have to interrup with what I am doing and pick up a RC before I can change the channel or volume, instead I just say some commands and voila job done. Pretty damn SMART TV I would say......
Actually, your satellite receiver, cable box, and DVR also send viewing patterns back to Home Base. I would expect any cloud-based service to also be tracking my viewing habits.
The scary thing about the LG TV's is that it grabs all the file names from your connected USB drives. Between that and sending all this information without gaining the user's consent, that's the kind of thing that could land LG in court.
I'd like to point out that while a "Smart" tv isn't very useful, a networked TV is very useful. While I would never stream music of netflix through my tv (which then would bypass my reciever and speakers) being able to occasionally stream youtube to my tv, or cast photos or drawings from my tablet is quite helpful.
Everything else, I have a $100 blu ray player for that is DLNA compliant, works with my the reciever for music services, and handles content from my PC should I need it. It also plays DVDS and Blu Rays which, while they may not in fashion right now, do still exist and are the best way to find a lot of content.
I totally agree. I have a Harmony that basically exists as a backup for when I can't find the other remotes. The great thing with modern remotes is most will start a number of items together, so a cable remote will turn on the tv and send the change input code to the reciever, etc. With a number of phones and tablets now sporting IR blasters (and so many tv's and other devices being on wifi) phone and tablet remote apps do a decent job as well. I don't know that I'll buy another Harmony when this one dies...the technology is quickly aging.
I don't use web capabilities because it is awful to search a Web page or a YouTube video without a keyboard. I use DLNA for streaming, even 3D movies, and the sound comes through my 'Home Theater' using the ARC in the HDMI. About the RC, I have a traditional Logitech Harmony (without touch screen) and it works like a charm most of the times. A few times it doesn't turn on some device or doesn't change to the correct input but nothing the help button or custom macros cannot solve.
For gosh sake do NOT purchase a "Sharp" Smart TV.
Have an 80" inch in which the pixels have already failed in less than a year and Sharp Corp does not honor the warranty.
Am SOL for almost $2000 bucks.
I should have known better.
Hello All !
I have a problem with Samsung Smart TV: it loses Wifi signal from time to time. I thought that it was Wifi router problem, but I have no problem with Wifi with my smartphone Galaxy S4 Zoom and laptop Lenovo.
Wise guy from the store said that this is the MAC adress bug.
I have no idea how to fix it ...
Is anybody faced with the same problem?
All I want out of a TV is a decent monitor I don't need add on gimmicks that duplicate the functions of several other gadgets that are going to be connected to it. Drop even the tuner - that is already included in most AV boxes anyway. This would cut down the weight and price of the monitor part allowing you more in your budgwt for whatever device you choose to feed the monitor.
Every Sharp device I've ever owned from a TV, several VCRs, to an expensive video camera died without provocation even just in storage. Over $3500 down the drain...never again!!!
Yes, you are the only one.
Love my Vizio smart tv. It is a year old (2014) model, did not come with a browser, which would be a big improvement. It needs no set top box, streams from a wireless router, DSL from the phone company which runs my computer too, as well as any tablet, Kindle type device. It does update the apps automatically from Netflix and Amazon. It has a USB port so I can insert a Roku stick if I want more channels than are included on the Vizio. For regular tv I use a decade old $3 RCA rabbit ears for the network broadcast TV stations because they work as good or better than other antennas I have tried. Wireless is the greatest and I'm looking forward to getting another smart tv to put on the kitchen counter. I listen to Pandora for music and there are apps for a multitude of radiomusic stations and news TV stations. It's educational, too as Amazon and Netflix have many documentaries as well as courses available, including History channel and other pay-for channels that they subscribe to and offer free (or Amazon available to download for a price). There is plenty of Nova on it as well as National Geographic. I tell people I learn more from PBS than I did in college.
I regret buying my Samsung smart TV. I should have bought a larger "dumb" TV. Naturally, the geek in me wanted a smart TV as it sounded very cool. Once I started using it, I realized what a waste it was. The reality is, there are a few apps that one would actually use. The most popular ones being Netflix and YouTube. Netflix and YouTube worked, but their interfaces were very slow and searching was a pain. They actually updated the software not long after I got the TV, but it was only marginally better. 99.99% of the other apps were garbage and not worth looking at. Most were useless, some that had potential, but were so limited in functionality or speed, that they werent worth using, and some just didnt work.
I ended up just grabbing an old laptop that I had lying around and connecting it to the TV via HDMI. That coupled with a wireless keyboard with touchpad and I had the full power of a computer, rather than the limited abilities of a "smart" TV. There is no comparison between a computer and a smart TV. With a computer you can do anything, with a smart TV you can do a couple things... poorly.
In addition to that, you have to be careful. My office bought three smart TVs for some conference rooms. I want to say they are Panasonic, but Im not 100% sure. I wanted to put Skype on them and googled the model and saw that that model did support Skype. So I went through the menu trying to download the Skype app, but couldnt find it. I wasted a ton of time and then ended up just calling for support. Support told me that if the TV didnt come with Skype preinstalled, there was no way to install it... or any other app. The smart TV could not download new apps, just updates. I was amazed... So be careful if you are going to buy a smart TV and make sure it can actually does what you want.
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