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Smart TVs are essentially regular TVs that have built-in capabilities for connecting to the Internet, which is why they’re also known as Internet-ready TVs. While this feature can be useful, the real question is whether or not these TVs are worth the price for what they bring.

And if we’re being honest, the answer is a clear No.

Not to say that smart TVs are absolutely horrible, because they certainly have a number of benefits that can make life easier What Is a Smart TV & 6 of the Best On The Market Today What Is a Smart TV & 6 of the Best On The Market Today Most televisions you look at now will be smart TVs, but what is a smart TV and which ones are the best on the market right now? Read More for the average user. However, it’s undeniable that smart TVs are now obsolete, and at this time, the choice to buy a smart TV would not be a smart thing to do.

1. The Security Risks Are Real

Whenever you consider buying a “smart” product — that is, any device that has the ability to connect to the Internet — security should always be a top concern 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home 5 Security Concerns to Consider When Creating Your Smart Home Many people attempt to connect as many aspects of their lives to the web as possible, but many people have expressed genuine concerns over how secure these automated living spaces actually are. Read More . Every single Internet-ready device contributes to the “Internet of Things”, which is arguably one of the worst security nightmares of our time Why The Internet of Things Is The Biggest Security Nightmare Why The Internet of Things Is The Biggest Security Nightmare One day, you arrive home from work to discover that your cloud-enabled home security system has been breached. How could this happen? With Internet of Things (IoT), you could find out the hard way. Read More .

And smart TVs have been one of the worst offenders over the past few years. In short, smart TVs can put your privacy and security at risk in a handful of ways, but the most damning example is that smart TV cameras could be used to spy on innocent people.


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We’ve known for many years that people can hack into webcams Hack Attack: How To Keep Your Webcam Secure From Online Peeping Toms Hack Attack: How To Keep Your Webcam Secure From Online Peeping Toms What would you do if someone had control of your webcam without your knowledge? Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself clean from these online peeping Toms. Read More and view video feeds that they shouldn’t be able to view. How violated would you feel if you learned that someone had been watching you through your own webcams every time you’re on the computer? And the worst part is that hacking webcams isn’t always difficult How Easy Is It For Someone To Hack Your Webcam? How Easy Is It For Someone To Hack Your Webcam? Read More .

Well, smart TVs aren’t immune to this.

What we know is that some smart TVs have been shown to have vulnerabilities Smart TVs Are A Growing Security Risk: How Do You Deal With This? Smart TVs Are A Growing Security Risk: How Do You Deal With This? Read More that allow hackers to take control from afar and do things like turning on cameras, installing and opening apps, and even accessing files available to the system. Creepy, isn’t it?

Other security risks also exist, such as malware and inherent weaknesses in the underlying firmware. We aren’t saying that all smart TV users will inevitably be hacked; rather, these risks are real. And while there are steps you can take to stay safe 3 Real Security Risks Threatening Your Smart TV Entertainment 3 Real Security Risks Threatening Your Smart TV Entertainment Read More , they can be somewhat inconvenient.

2. Great Idea, Terrible Execution

If there’s one reason that should dissuade you from buying a smart TV today, let it be this one: the ideas behind the smart TV are great, but smart TVs themselves are not the right way to implement those ideas. Given a few more years, smart TV technology will be completely obsolete.

Perhaps the greatest idea driving smart TV technology is the idea that various media “channels” can be streamed on demand Cut the Cord Forever With These 15 TV Streaming Channels Cut the Cord Forever With These 15 TV Streaming Channels Cable TV is in decline, as the internet provides cheap, on-demand entertainment. Here are 15 of the best TV streaming services to help you cut the cord. Read More over the Internet and directly to your TV. We’re talking about services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Spotify, which aren’t available through traditional network and cable TV channels.


One of the best ways to slash your household expenses How to Slash Your Household Expenses in 7 Easy Steps How to Slash Your Household Expenses in 7 Easy Steps Tired of seeing all of your income go towards bills and expenses? You aren't alone. We show you some of the best ways to slash your household expenses. Read More is to discontinue your cable TV packages and rely solely on streaming services for entertainment. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by doing this Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord When you add everything up, do you really save money by cutting the cord? We do the math involved with cancelling cable in favor of Internet services. Read More , and there are many other benefits besides money 4 Real Benefits Of Cutting Your Cable Cord 4 Real Benefits Of Cutting Your Cable Cord A few years ago, attending university, I started renting an apartment. I took over the current electric plan and went to a different Internet service provider, but the television provided a bit of a conundrum.... Read More , too.

Yet while this idea is revolutionary, smart TVs have fallen short in idea execution. Primitive TV interfaces and lackluster apps are two big reasons behind the execution failure — and we’ll explore both of those failings down below — but they aren’t the key issue.

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The key issue is that set-top boxes (like the Roku Streaming Player) and streaming media sticks (like the Roku Streaming Stick) can do what smart TVs do, but do it better. There are so many streaming devices available on the market The 8 Best Devices for Streaming Movies to Your TV The 8 Best Devices for Streaming Movies to Your TV There are several ways to stream media to your TV, and deciding which way is right for you can be overwhelming. Let us help you explore what's currently available. Read More today, and they’re all more flexible and more powerful than any smart TV in terms of media streaming.

Roku Streaming Stick (3500R) (2014 Model) Roku Streaming Stick (3500R) (2014 Model) Compact stick design. Plugs discreetly right into the HDMI port. Great for wall-mounted TVs. Buy Now At Amazon $30.00

Consider this: your smartphone can do everything that a smart TV can do. Using a Chromecast, for example, you can watch almost any kind of streamed media on your smartphone and “cast” it onto your TV, even if that TV isn’t a smart TV.

At the end of the day, a TV should have one purpose: displaying images to the screen. It shouldn’t concern itself with what it can display, as that should be determined by what you plug into the TV. (In other words, a TV should be a glorified monitor and nothing more.)

3. Smart TVs Lack Smart Interfaces

Smart functionality requires a smart interface. Smartphones and computers are great because they both support two important input methods: 1) typing and 2) pointing. Smart TVs are terrible at both, and this leads to a lot of frustration for users.

Or in other words, if you want to sit down and watch something on a smart TV, it’s actually a lot more work than you’d expect it to be. Not an impossible amount, but inconvenient at best.


One big example of this is when you want to search for a particular TV show or movie in an app like Netflix or Hulu. With a regular TV remote, typing is a hair-pulling affair that could take up to a dozen button presses per letter typed. I deal with this every day, and it never gets easier.

On the other hand, most streaming set-top boxes come with remotes that have voice-controlled searches or mobile apps that let you type out your searches with a smartphone or tablet. Much, much easier.

Smart TVs could solve this issue by implementing their own voice-controlled searches (still imperfect), or allowing for third-party keyboard attachments (not ideal), or switching to touchscreen keyboard input (more expensive). I’ll stick with my Roku, thank you very much.

4. TV Apps Are Crude & Unreliable

When smart TVs first debuted, one of their biggest selling points was the ability to download and install all kinds of apps right on the TV itself. Right now, my smart TV is equipped with apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, TED Talks, and Spotify. Sounds useful, right?

Unfortunately, not only do all of these apps suffer the same issues that are inherent to TVs in general — namely poor interface design — but they also suffer from poor performance and neglect from app creators.


The processing power of a modern smart TV pales in comparison to the performance of modern smartphones and tablets. As such, it’s not uncommon to experience input lag when pressing buttons, freezes and crashes when apps try to do something intensive, and other performance-related issues.

Case in point, the Netflix app on my smart TV sometimes freezes when I want to exit out of it and the only solution is to wait several minutes or unplug it altogether. It doesn’t happen every day, but it happens often enough that it sticks out clearly in my mind.

Glitches are also regular fare. Whenever I play videos using the YouTube app on my smart TV, playback is always cut short by exactly one minute from the end. Yes, on every video. Not to mention that this app also experiences frequent freezes and crashes when trying to exit out of it.


These problems are to be expected, I think. Content providers have to juggle compatibility with a lot of potential outlets these days, including web players, smartphone apps, tablet apps, third-party devices like the Roku and Chromecast, and smart TVs. Which one do you think has the lowest priority?

Which brings up another potential issue: the usefulness of your smart TV is limited by the apps that are available for it, and if content providers stop updating their smart TV apps for whatever reason, your smart TV loses a big chunk of what makes it “smart”.

Five to ten years from now, your smart TV might just end up being a dumb TV by no fault of your own. If that happens, you’ll have to rely on set-top boxes and other streaming methods Cord Cutters: Ignore Set Top Boxes & Use A PC Instead Cord Cutters: Ignore Set Top Boxes & Use A PC Instead Ditching cable? Stay away from dedicated media center devices. Your spare PC makes for an excellent alternative because it's cheap to set up, more powerful, and forever flexible. Read More anyway. Why spend extra on a smart TV when you can just go dumb and spend the money you save on a Roku or Chromecast?

5. The Extra Features Aren’t Worth It

So what do you get when you shell out cash for a smart TV instead of a dumb TV? Well, if you exclude the Internet-capable apps that we discussed above, it turns out you don’t actually get that much.

One central remote. Every additional media device you hook up will likely require an additional remote control to juggle. Using a smart TV prevents that clutter. (A minor point, I know, but worth mentioning.)

Smart media playback. With Samsung, there’s a feature called Smart Link that lets you create a wireless connection and directly stream media files from your PC to your TV. Other brands may offer similar functionality under different names.


3D display technology. Some smart TVs have 3D capabilities. You’ll need to have 3D glasses, of course, but they usually come with a pair included. However, in general, the 3D feature in smart TVs is little more than a gimmick Smart TV 3D: Is It All It's Cracked Up to Be? Smart TV 3D: Is It All It's Cracked Up to Be? If you're unfamiliar with smart TVs, now may be the time to catch up and see what you've been missing. With Smart TV 3D technology, you have even more options to consider. Read More .

Web and games. TV apps are mainly for streaming media, but they can also be used to browse the Internet or play games. However, due to the poor interface and poor performance, you probably won’t be using a smart TV for either of these.

If you ask me, the features don’t justify the price. Now, how much can you stand to save by opting for a dumb TV over a smart TV? Well, let’s look at a middle-of-the-road option that’s currently available.

Samsung UN50J5000 50-Inch 1080p LED TV (2015 Model) Samsung UN50J5000 50-Inch 1080p LED TV (2015 Model) Refresh Rate: 60CMR (Effective) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display Samsung UN50J5200 50-Inch (49.5" Diag.) 1080p Smart LED TV (2015 Model) Samsung UN50J5200 50-Inch (49.5" Diag.) 1080p Smart LED TV (2015 Model) Refresh Rate: 60CMR (Effective) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

There is a Samsung 50-inch 1080p LED TV currently available on Amazon for $515. The smart version of that same product, the Samsung 50-inch 1080p Smart LED TV is $548. That’s a difference of $33. The more expensive you go, the greater the difference will become.

Obviously $33 isn’t a lot in the grand scheme, but you’d probably be better off saving that much and spending it on a $35 Chromecast or a $45 Roku Streaming Stick. If I could do it over again, that’s exactly what I’d do.

Are You Buying a Smart TV?

We aren’t necessarily trying to persuade you away from smart TVs. Rather, we just want you to know why we think smart TVs are no longer worth their investment (regardless of how small that investment might be in the big picture). If you still want one, more power to you. Go for it!

How do you feel about smart TVs now? If you still think they’re worth it, what makes you feel that way? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Share with us below!

Image Credits: White Noise by Axstokes via Shutterstock, Netflix Logo by scyther5 via Shutterstock, Remote Closeup by Rasulov via Shutterstock, Netflox on Mobile by scyther5 via Shutterstock, Firmware Update by Hadrian via Shutterstock, 3D TV by Andrey Popov via Shutterstock

  1. Jason
    October 10, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Who the heck wants another stupid box and the cables running all over the joint? I'd much much rather Smart TV be further developed, including smart phone interface or make them bluetooth keyboard capable. Cram the extra box. We've had it all and love our Samsung smart TV, connected to the wall outlet and no other wires.

  2. Sissy
    October 9, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I cast from my smartphone to a regular HDTV and it seems the same as anything a smart tv can do. Plus my roku is so much easier and full of apps to use.

  3. dawn
    October 9, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    i agree on a non-smart tv. the problem is, where do i find one?

  4. Kristian
    October 6, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Whoa, this is an obsolete article. Everything in this article is wrong and plainly stupid.

  5. Heather
    October 2, 2016 at 12:25 am

    I came across this page because I'm trying to find a solution to accessing my Safari bookmarks (favorite websites) from my iMac to my TV and Airplay is too painfully slow to cut it. I thought a Smart TV would be the solution? After reading this, not so sure :/

  6. guy wellman
    September 26, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    The ONLY Smart TV app that I found that worked flawlessly was Skype. If I was ever watching TV, friends and family around the world could see I was home and "available".
    I would set up any contacts needed via my laptop where I could type with ease. The remote was only ever good for "accepting" calls... but that was all I ever needed to do with it!
    Sadly, Microsoft in their wisdom decided to withdraw Smart TV support and it was forceably removed from my Samsung TV.
    Smart TV's will go the way of 3D & Curved Screens... just a FAD!

    • Joel Lee
      September 29, 2016 at 12:53 am

      Haha, that's funny because Skype tends to be buggy and problematic on other platforms (including desktops and mobile devices), at least in my experience. But yeah, I've noticed several apps on my own smart TV have been discontinued since I wrote this article, so that doesn't bode well for the future of Samsung smart TVs. Thanks for sharing, Guy.

  7. Angela
    September 12, 2016 at 10:08 am

    This is a rather negative view with many sweeping generalisations. Shop around - there are bargains & great features to be had depending on your own needs & specifications. Prices vary wildly & so do the features available and the quality of them on different brands.
    We have a brand new smart tv which is amazing. We didn't go out looking for a smart tv specifically but it came with the model that suited our needs.
    There is no camera so no "peeping" concerns - this is the case on many models now.
    The remote is voice activated and works well so no lengthy fiddly typing.
    The apps work perfectly - Amazon Prime & BBC iPlayer in particular work brilliantly.
    The extra features are definitely worth it - 3D is going out of fashion seemingly & is dismissed offhand here as a gimmick. We had 3D on an older tv and thought it was great. We now have 3D cinema in 4K on a 55" screen and it has completely blown us away - it is an absolutely stunning feature & the picture quality is jaw dropping.
    We've had fire sticks and other streaming solutions but this particular smart tv is brilliant for us - very impressed. Thought I'd put an alternative point of view to anyone still deciding on a new purchase.

  8. CJ
    September 3, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I agree with you..but it's almost like you're forced to to get Smart TV 4k etc..they leave u no options when you're at top tier..they force it upon I find tvs I like and their curved gimmick or 3d don't care..I'll get the 3d and hardly use it if doesn't jack price up and it didn't..I don't see 3d lasting..picture quality is getting better and better..OLED pretty cool..but ppl are nuts unless they have cash to burn.
    Way too flawed and in its infancy..why do you think LG only ones who are over their heads imo..great article..just don't think it helps most ppl who are now buying 4k..I don't think you can get 4k wo smart..coz it Has become cheap and assembly lines have been using it for yrs's not new..bought Samsung 47 inch smart tv 1080 for 800 in 2009..that's ridiculous was ebay..but that was price no auction..

    • Ovidiu
      September 19, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I haven't understood almost nothing you said there... you said nothing coherent to make any sense. Sad.

  9. Shawn
    August 29, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I'm in the market for a replacement tv for my liv rm and was actually curious if I needed to spend the extra cash for the "smart" tv. I bought one for our kids playroom last year and was so disappointed with the menu and interface in general for Netflix, etc, that I donated our Apple TV 2 to the playroom and bought the ATV 4th gen for the liv room.

    This article simply confirmed what I suspected, that smart tvs don't have a place for many of us, though based on a few comments I can see they have a place for some, though I would also argue that they are near useless when it comes to interface, which for me is what my experience is based upon. Those of us who have other streaming devices like Rokus and Apple TVs realize quickly that "smart" tvs really aren't worth the trouble.

    Thanks for the well written article.

    • Joel Lee
      August 29, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Yes, smart TV interfaces leave a lot to be desired (at least the ones that I've seen). Good call on going with a Roku. If I didn't have a smart TV, that's definitely what I'd get! Thanks Shawn. Glad you liked the article.

    • Gurdeep
      September 2, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks for writing this Joel!

      After wasting my money on a so called 3D "smart" TV a few years back, it was a hard job for me to decide on the smart equipment that I really wanted for my already aging "smart" TV based on Netscape OS.

      After researching a lot, I settled on the Apple TV 4 and Im glad that I made the right choice!

      It just fits all my specific requirements quite well. For example:

      -- It can connect to the internet via a more reliable ethernet port which is just amazing for me since it can stream saved content directly off my Seagate NAS in a faster way with no hickups or pauses or freezes.

      -- The HDMI out from it is capable of carrying DTS data which means no problem forwarding it my 5.1 AV through optical SPDIF.

      -- It is able to send the audio feed to an alternative audio equipment. A pair of my BT JBLs in this case. It really helps when I have to project the video out on a larger screen through my Sony LCD projector.

      -- It is capable of connecting to my BT Logitech Keyboard. A sigh of relief when I have type out those long passwords or search queried! Though the updated phone remote app does it equally well too, I just prefer it over the phone anyday as it is way more handy in my case.

      -- Its portable. I can connect it to any TV in my home.

      -- The provided remote has all the sensors embedded for that awesome TV watching, gaming experience which is just amazing! Its only wonderful that I can control all my three devices (the ATV, TV and HT/AV) with a single remote!

      -- The interface is very clean, easy to use, fast and very smooth!

      -- The last but not the least - the major one though! This device is App Store ready so there are tons of tons of useful apps that I can install on it everyday with more and more adding up daily! Cool!

      I hope this helps someone who really wants to decide between a "smart" TV and a standalone streaming component, and still please stay away from those "smart" TVs in year 2016.

      Happy watching!
      A user from Asia/India

  10. Wilbur Kookmeyer
    August 29, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Look for the article called "The Best Five Dumb TVs on the Market". (Hint: There isn't one).

  11. Aziz
    August 27, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    1. Yes of course there is security concerns.. as you said our phones and pcs are also at risk. Why are you trying to scare us so much? Not everyone would have a webcam on their tv and not everyone would keep it powered on all day long.. my laptop has an inbuilt webcam, do I stop using that as well?

    2. Yes, the interface is not so great.. but not everyone is worried about the interface all the time. The question is, does it get the job done? Don’t forget, the primary job of the tv is to play videos, rest (apps and other things) is just additional functionality. And fyi, the latest smart tvs have beautiful interfaces. Not all of them suck. Infact it sounds even more cumbersome to use your smartphone all the time instead of a remote. You would want to do other shit on the smartphone instead.

    3. Refer point 2

    4. Stop cribbing about the damn apps.. they are just an additional feature. And most of your points are very subjective.. not all smart tvs face these problems. They have tons of simple intuitive apps and games that are worth it.

    5. Your Roku and chromecast are not compatible with everything and have tons of glitches itself.

    6 (bonus). If it is wifi enabled and can stream videos, it's a smart tv. That's why it's called a SMART TV and not a COMPUTER or a SMART BIG PHONE. You wont get all the features of a phone or a pc on it.. IT'S A TV DAMMIT !
    Roku sponsored article it seems.

    • Jimmy Smits
      September 28, 2016 at 2:00 am

      Phone manufacturers are under much more scrutiny, so they get regular security updates. TVs do not. And even if it doesn't have a web cam, the manufacturers collect and sell your viewing habits, and if it has voice control, they even can listen in on your conversations. And even if you trust the manufacturers, the lack of security updates mean hackers can access your TV and turn on the microphone, capture your Netflix password, etc.

  12. Cindy
    August 27, 2016 at 5:00 am

    I can buy a 40" smart tv at target for $229. Even if the benefits are only for a couple years it doesn't seem too high a price for the convenience.

  13. Rajesh Kumar
    August 10, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Very nice article. It saved me a lot of money.

    • Joel Lee
      August 19, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Great! Glad we could help out, Rajesh. :)

  14. John
    August 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Do they even make non-SMART TVs anymore? Maybe this article would have been more useful if they had given some recommendations on what to buy instead. Rather, the article is like "Well, these suck, don't buy 'em.....okay bye!".

  15. Raj
    July 24, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I'm pretty sure every TV that is sold today is SMART..

    • Ian
      August 10, 2016 at 11:08 am

      No , more non smart TVs are now available from various manufacturers though you have to search for them as they want to sell you expensive smart TVs

  16. Esteban
    July 23, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    "That’s a difference of $33. The more expensive you go, the greater the difference will become."

    Wait. Really?

  17. Andy Kane
    July 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Advice please? I was looking at putting in a smart tv into a kitchen diner on ground floor as a second tv and don't want to pay 2nd tv fee to tv company and also no cable going to that part of house.
    If I don't go for Smart tv, what dongle / stick would be best to use on a regular tv?

  18. Alex
    June 25, 2016 at 2:58 am

    This makes some interesting points. Im looking at a smart tv for my elderly parents as free to air is very lacking in shows for them. There is no way they will ever get a smart phone or tablet for Chromecast. I tried showing mum how to send a text with an S2 and she had no idea.
    They now have high speed internet in the area, so Im thinking Net flix and other shows will be the way to go... also streaming youtube as I currently download youtube videos for them to watch on USB on their 32 inch LG tv... eg the Two Ronnies... (thats how old they are :)
    Im in Australia BTW
    Cheers for the opinion piece...

  19. Javier
    June 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    The only point I see in buying a smart, is 3d. Does anybody know whether it´s possible to have that feature with a plain tv and some kind os STB or Stick ?

    • Joel Lee
      June 19, 2016 at 3:55 am

      Interesting question, Javier! My gut tells me that it won't be possible but I'd love to be wrong about that.

  20. Azungu
    June 16, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Are big screen "dumb" TV still available?

    • Joel Lee
      June 19, 2016 at 3:55 am

      These days, the bigger the screen is, the less likely you'll find "dumb" models. Unfortunately it seems like smartness is just a feature that we'll have to pay for regardless of whether we want it or not. :(

  21. nik
    May 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I agree about segregated smartness. That said, in May2016, find me a 4k tv with best video quality that is NOT smart. Its default now. Use it or Not.

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Ahhh, you're right, nik. It seems like non-smart TVs are becoming harder, even impossible, to find. That kinda sucks but I guess it doesn't make sense for manufacturers to make two types for all of their newer models...

  22. Craig L Rainey
    April 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I have owned a Samsung smart TV for a few years but will never buy another. I agree the price is just not worth it. I can do more with a Samsung streaming Blu-ray player attached to a plain TV so why pay so much for the same built in to a smart TV?
    Great article.

  23. Garba Indmix
    February 27, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    The problem is that almost all smart have better picture quality than those without.

  24. Lexi Walls
    February 9, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    So , i will not be buying this TV for sure . Does anybody know why people hack things ??

    • Craig L Rainey
      April 22, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Because they can and they have no real purpose in life. Or to just plain rob you.

  25. Dude
    February 9, 2016 at 12:54 am

    These are all reasons I don't want a smart TV besides I have a PC for anything else that is "smart".....
    The issue I'm having is finding newer tech TV's that are not smart TV's. It is really disheartening to know that that uhd TV is $1100+ and for some reason. are only available as smart... Why can't I get all that goodness without the nonsense bloatware that comes with a Smart TV? I bet prices would drop a lot and they could get more buys. It's annoying really.

  26. diode
    February 7, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I own a Sony Bravia x8500c Android smart Tv.
    I put a HDD on it with all photos, movies and music.
    Then installed Kodi
    With this I got rid of my Desktop PC and my XMBC box. I think the result is ace.

  27. Harald
    February 5, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I wonder if the author ever got further than the first generation smart TVs. My LG and its WebOS2 is amazing, its apps are pretty much flawless, input inside the Netflix and other apps are just like the roku. I have a chromecast as well, but never use it anymore because the TV has chromecast tech on itself.
    The apps never freeze on me, update by themselves and I have plenty of options in the app store.

    Also, the link software mentioned allows for a single remote to control blueray,audio set, etc. This is NOT minor point.

    Honestly, this article reeks of resentment of having bought the wrong TV and failing at it.
    Enjoy living in the past.

  28. Mike Sierra
    February 2, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Amazon sells chinese android sticks for almost nothing.
    stick it on hdmi, put a usb hub (with own power suuply) to have a wireless mouse, an external hdd, and even a ethernet/usb converter if you want to avoid wifi-
    Not as good as chromecast, I guess, but good enough for youtube and your dwnloaded movies, etc...

    Smarts TVs not really good, that's sure

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:22 am

      Can't really vouch for the Chinese Android sticks (never used one myself) but yeah, lots of relatively cheap alternatives to smart TVs. Thanks for sharing, Mike.

  29. Mosi
    February 2, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Are ads still a concern?

  30. Keith
    February 2, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Gotta agree with the author. I've witnessed all this first hand and will never buy another smart TV or BlueRay device with the intention of using its' smart features. Worthless crap. Get a TV settop box or Chromecast, much better money spent. If you already have a PC or phone, a Chromecast is all you need.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:22 am

      Thanks Keith! It's amazing how useful the Chromecast is, and so cheap!

  31. wmcnair2
    February 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    I agree with this analysis. The good parts of flat screen TV's (great picture, great looking on a wall) are buried in worthless Smart TV software applet features that do not really work but set expectations. To make matters worse, every peripheral you buy now (BluRay, DVD players, etc., etc) has managed to duplicate these next to worthless applets, creating even more confusion and the illusion of unsatisfactory performance.

    If an android operating system can be put in a cellphone, it can be put in a flat screen TV. Why is this not being done.

    I get the issue with the Microsoft Windows 10... that is the metro apps that have so far been developed (as opposed to the desktop apps) are even worse than the Smart TV apps. And the Microsoft apps like their Media Center have been abandoned. So no one would want Windows 10 in their flat screen TV. But a Samsung flat screen with an android operating system interface would be pretty exciting!

    • Annie
      September 26, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks for the detail about using players etc. I intend buying a smart tv plus a blu-ray dvd player and hd definition recorder. Due to what you stated I will certainly forget about a smart tv, as using both will very complicating - for me anyhow.

  32. Smart TV Worth it
    February 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    If you have DirecTV, and want to use their RVU technology without purchasing another Genie Mini at a tune of $99, and a $69 fee for the tech to come out and set it up. A DirecTV Ready Smart TV is worth it. There are not a lot of models to choose from is what I found out, but if you get one as I did in a 32" Samsung LED Model which is all the bigger I needed at this time, it works great. Now you have to have a hard wired connection so that it picks up the RVU DirecTV server from the main Genie system box, but aside from that it has played great, with a clear picture. One key thing they stressed is make sure that you update the firmware before connecting. I did that, and things have been working great, with a clear picture, a little 3 to 5 second delay when it is connecting to the RVU server, but other than that it has worked great. We have even watched a few movies from Amazon and had no issues with it playing. For my intent and purpose this was just as cost effective as buying the same TV as a dumb TV at about the same price only saving would have been about $50 to $60. Bottom line do your research, and know what you are looking at and what you plan on using it for.

    • bukzin
      September 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      What is RVU? Is it part of all DirecTV Genie boxes, or is it an add-on?

      Which model DVR are you using?


  33. Robert Backlund
    February 2, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I agree with all of your reasons for the deficits that the so called smart tv's have along with the privacy concerns. However even if they are in your words obsolete which is true the simple fact is that they like a lot of things say your smart phones, Windows 10 etc not going any where. The biggest reason is that they all regardless of what OS they run have a app stores as a key feature of their interfaces. In the case of smart phones, that would be Android and iOS and the big push for universal usage of Windows 10, the Mac OSX does not really count because of its very small user base in comparison to the use of Windows. If you are in the market for any of the TV's that are in the high end of the spectrum regardless of brand are all smart TV's. I am saving up for an LG UHD OLED TV and these simply are not available in a so called dumb configuration without 3D tech built in. Your recommendation to simply not to buy a smart tv in 2016 is just plain miss informed and silly. The only limitations and security vulnerabilities that the so called smart tv's have is only a problem if you connect them to the internet. Given the popularity of all of the various streaming set top boxes that are flooding into the market place I bet that most if not all of them are connected to a smart tv because the owners realize the limitations and poor implementation of the smart features that are on their TV's I have not done an in depth study of what it available in the whole tv market but I bet that anyone interested in getting a 4K UHD TV will be hard pressed to find one that is not a smart TV.

    I personally use my HDTV's in a non standard way, I have a Yamaha AVR connected to my older Vizio 1080P TV. I am an avid gamer and have the following connected to the AVR, a PS3, PS4, a new gaming PC that dual boots between Wiindows 10 and the Steam OS, an older PC workstation/gaming PC running Windows 7 Ultimate and an Nvidia Shield Android TV set top box. Along with my older Vizio purchased back in 2007 which does not have any smart features I also have a 32" LG HD 3D TV that is used as my workstations primary monitor. The LG is a smart TV but it has never even had my Verizion Fios connected to it let alone being connected to the internet. I am connected enough with all of the other devices. My current 1080P TV's are still working well in spite of being on almost 24/7 since they were new and have served me well but I now am interested in enjoying 4K replacements.

  34. WhooHaa
    February 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Just get Apple TV

    • alex
      February 2, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      $35 roku stick vs ~$100 Apple tv.

      BTW just take a raspberry PI and create your own using kodi.

  35. Andrew
    February 2, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Complete falsities. Mt Vizio 60" 4K smart tv is a joy to use. Single button on the (full qwerty remote) to get to YouTube/ Netflix. I have the Android box on my lesser TV's, and what a buggy POS that is.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:21 am

      Wow, that's awesome that your remote is full QWERTY. I guess it must be a high-end-only thing. It should really be for all smart TVs though.

      • Andrew
        February 4, 2016 at 3:28 am

        Vizio is considered mid range at best. But I have to say having owned three of them now they really perform quite well. And the QWERTY thing really was surprising. The front of the remote looks like any regular, but when you flip it over it looks like a mini BT kb.

  36. waicool
    February 2, 2016 at 11:42 am

    smart tv's are noisy

  37. lott11
    February 2, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Smart TV’s are just a waist of time and money.
    That only thing that I look at when purchasing a TV is what is the response time and screen type.
    As this is the monitor for a PC's, and most of this are not even so called top brands.
    There is no LG nor Samsung or even Panasonic,
    I have vizio, sceptre, TLC, and Proscan, what do all of this TV's have in particular they all have 4 Millie second response and 476-592 DPI.
    All but one have cost under $589.00 the vizio cost $1290.00 7 years ago and it is still working.
    As for watching the net they are using PC, all but one that uses an android box that cost $44.00.
    The box is used with xbmc now kodi, I had purchased a roku but it did not work when I moved to south America.
    I Had to return roku it was a waist of time a money.
    And to that other bad point would I buy a 4k TV, that would be a no.
    on less you make your movies at 4k it is not worth it, plus at this time there are so few TV's that will display at or over 60 FPS.
    And most of all there is no stander for 4k TV's.
    And to top it of all smart TV's where supposed to be up graded, none of then ever got a firmware up date.
    There are at least 2 points to my use, first is cable cutting a second is no need for a monitor.
    Plus I get to pick what I want to view, and have my choice of OS and how secured it is.
    There are no restrictions of content, nor what country can I use it in.
    In other words no limitations.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:20 am

      Thanks for sharing, lott11. It's good to hear other people's stories. Every bit of input helps spread awareness that smart TVs aren't all they're cracked up to be. :)

  38. LM
    February 2, 2016 at 2:12 am

    My LG "smart" TV became a dumb TV after about a year. Now, I use an Amazon TV which is what I was expecting when I bought this particular TV.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:19 am

      How do you like your Amazon TV?

  39. Col_Panek
    February 2, 2016 at 1:37 am

    I bought a 39 inch Philips "smart" TV for $229. It was cheaper than a dumb TV. We seldom use any smart features, so who cares?

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:19 am

      If it's cheaper than a dumb TV, then yeah, go for it. :)

  40. Alan Trinder
    February 2, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Interesting stuff but I feel written for readers in the UK / Europe / USA or highly developed Far Eastern markets. The TV coverage for people like myself in SE Asia can be very limited and of poor quality without IPTV so why not go for one built in especially when Android based smart tv's are no more expensive than others now and with 4k tv there is virtually no difference in one with or without android smart capability.
    I have an android set top box at the moment, it is good but better operated with a mouse than with a remote, an all in one may be better.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Hi Alan, you're right. This was written from the perspective of a U.S. smart TV owner and I wouldn't be surprised if some (or all) of it didn't apply to the Far East. Do you not have things like Roku or Chromecast over there? I guess there's an issue with service availability (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc)?

  41. rk
    February 2, 2016 at 1:16 am

    The technology is moving faster than most people are able to keep up. For simple TV viewing, SMART TVs are not so bad. I bought one only to replace an older Panasonic which had class action suits on that model! The price for the reg vs smart was insignificant and I wanted to dump my cable. Despite me working in IT, I find it impossible to keep up with all the gadgets to control the TV and the corresponding learning curves (not to mention the amount of research I end up putting into each little darn device I have to buy) and then troubleshooting issues etc. I am lately feeling like all this is only complicating my life and taking away the pleasure of just relaxing with a TV for a short while! I love computers and am savvy and yet, when they break, I end up researching/fixing, again my precious time taken away from other fruitful hobbies I have. Sorry for the ranting, basically I just wanted to say that I have got no time to keep up with all the gadgets and if I can stream Netflix (albeit the interface is clunky) on my SMART tv and settle down with family, I am fine with it! I don't want to control my TV with ipad or iphone etc. all of which I have.

    • alceste
      February 2, 2016 at 6:32 am

      Very wise and eye opening comment

      • rk
        February 4, 2016 at 7:59 pm

        Thank you alceste :) Weren't computers alone supposed to make our lives so much easier and would leave lots of time to enjoy other hobbies etc? lol!

    • UK IT Chap
      February 2, 2016 at 9:10 am

      I agree, whilst I am in IT also, I like to know that my non-tech savvy wife can sit down to watch streaming media etc without having to ask me how to do it every 5 minutes!

      I think that's the main appeal of the smart TV, it's for all those people who don't have the time or inclination to go searching for the best media player, USB stick but who just want a TV they can stream stuff from....

      I have set up plex at home & with our samsung smart TV it couldn't be simpler for the wife to watch whatever she wants without ever having to hassle me :)

      • rk
        February 4, 2016 at 8:02 pm

        @UK, I am the wife here that sets up wireless routers and fixes PC issues etc, :) I just don't want to spend hours of my time buying gadgets/fixing gadgets etc. adding to the complexity of life anymore.

  42. fred
    February 2, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Agreed with the Smart TV comments, I have a Samsung and the "smart" part is pretty "stupid" :-) I'm looking into a Roku box in time. The "smart" part is totally useless...

  43. David
    February 2, 2016 at 12:22 am

    We bought a LG Smart TV in 2011 -- there aren't many smart apps left since apparently LG doesn't want to support them on a 4+ year old TV. This is off topic but cars are even a bigger problem - automakers do not seem to be interested in maintaining or upgrading their smart software either.

  44. ameliahoward45
    February 1, 2016 at 7:37 pm


  45. Sonic Jensen
    February 1, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I like my smart tv. But i think it could be much better 2

  46. Rozdev
    January 31, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    I got a Sony smart tv and would not do without it. First theres no camera or microphone on the tv, and i would not do without Netflix.
    The above artickel is some strange "I could not find better things to write"
    Smarttv`s are great.and in my country they are not much more expensive than a plain tv.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:17 am

      Well, in my case I feel like the smart TV offers no benefits over a dumb TV + streaming device, and I want people to know that there are better alternatives to the smart TV. It does change depending on your country though. I only have U.S. experience so that's all I can speak on.

  47. Sacha Howard
    January 30, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I agree in many ways, but there are some smart TVs which are okay.

  48. fcd76218
    January 29, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    "smart TV cameras could be used to spy on innocent people."
    As can the smart microphones that listen for voice commands.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:15 am

      True that! How scary. Ugh.

  49. stern.ben
    January 29, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    You are 100% right. I was duped into buying one. The tv is great but the smart stuff isn't worth a dime. EXACTLY as you detailed it.
    Thanks for the info. Others should heed it.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:15 am

      Thanks, glad you liked it. Please share and get the word out. :)

  50. Jerry Tesa? (InToSSH)
    January 29, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I have been using Zotac Box, with my 27" LCD monitor for past 3 years, now I switched to Raspberry Pi with Kodi on it and my "TV" can do far more than my friends 1200$ Samsung Smart TV. Now I am just thinking about buying bigger screen, so some 50" TV will be enough.. All I need is good image quality, the rest is taken care of. In a few years when many today's smart TVs become obsolete, I can just swap the Raspberry Pi, which is 50$ item, and I am future proofed again, no need to buy new TV.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:15 am

      It's amazing what can be done with the RPi. Not everyone knows how to use one, but it's not that hard to learn and certainly worth the effort. You're doing the smart thing. Keep it up, Jerry. :)

  51. hildyblog
    January 29, 2016 at 2:16 am

    The problem is that the higher end TVs often don't offer you a choice.

    Buy a TV based on the screen size and picture quality. Pay extra for that, not for other bells and whistles. Everything else can be done better by external gadgets if it needs to be done at all.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:13 am

      That's true. A lot of the higher-end (or maybe all?) only come in smart varieties, which is a shame. I guess the takeaway is that whenever you have a choice between smart and dumb TV models, just go for the dumb one unless they are exactly the same price. Thanks hildyblog!

  52. m-p {3}
    January 28, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I prefer to pick a normal TV (which often cost less than a smart TV), and choose myself the smart device that will power it. The price difference between a normal and smart TV will often be more than the cost of the device and won't be left unsupported for at least a while longer than TV apps.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:13 am

      I agree, I think that's the best way to go these days. Thanks for the input, m-p. :)

  53. Whitenight12
    January 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    My plan for my next tv is to get one with roku built in and save the hdmi port.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:12 am

      That's a better plan, but be careful. If Roku ever goes under (for whatever reason), you'll be left with a "dumb" TV again. I don't think that's a big risk, but still a risk.

  54. bart
    January 28, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Chromecast sorts all of your smar tv problems, right from your phone or tablet.

    • Janus
      January 29, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Yes... Chromecast is exactly what a smarttv does, it is just called Chromecast instead. Never let a 3rd party device access your network without you knowing in details what it is sending back and forth.

    • likefun butnot
      February 1, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Problems with the Chromecast as a media device:

      1. You have to use another device to control it. That's fine if you're already married to your phone, tablet or PC in your living room or bedroom, but it's fairly lame if you want a simple experience. It's also problematic if someone who doesn't have one of those things wants to use it for some reason, or for slow-on-the-tech-uptake folks.

      2. It absolutely requires internet access to function. Granted, so does Netflix. But if you have media files and you just want a way to show them on a TV, Chromecast isn't the way to do that.

      3. Chromecast doesn't support some audio formats. I hope you didn't really want to hear anything encoded with DTS. Chromecast also doesn't support alternative audio outputs, which may or may not be acceptable for people who have sound bars, bluetooth speakers or A/V receivers lacking HDMI inputs.

      4. Chromecast doesn't support proper Ethernet. I hope you like occasional dropped connections because your neighbor is using their microwave.

      5. Chromecast is a level of vendor lock-in with Google, just as Apple TV is for Apple. Some Chromecast features are a lot less useful or interesting if you aren't already a big fan of Google software or services.

      I try very hard to steer people toward FireTV or Roku boxes rather than any form of "stick"-style device. There's no perfect set top box, but at least the box-style devices have real remote controls and some options for network and audio connectivity rather than being "one size fits some" like the Chromecast.

  55. Andrew
    January 28, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    The only thing I would say is that more and more TVs are getting built with Roku guts built right into them. We picked one up and it's great.

    Our Samsung's 'smart' features...useless. In fact all it does now is annoyingly pop up to say it needs yet another firmware update.

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:11 am

      Roku is such a great piece of technology. I wasn't aware that there were TVs with Roku built in, that sounds pretty cool. Might fall into the same troubles as smart TVs in a few years though, depending on how well Roku does. The smart TV firmware updates are pretty annoying! And slow. So slow.

  56. Na Me
    January 28, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    we did buy a Smart TV about 2 years ago. all above is absolutely correct. The only thing I would potentially value for having TV connected to the Internet is to make use of Netflix. but for the price difference I could have bought an Apple TV, have same and better futures. Smart TV is instantly outdated anyhow. So I do not suggest a Smart TV

    • Joel Lee
      February 4, 2016 at 3:10 am

      Yeah, Netflix (and occasionally HBO GO and Amazon Prime) are the only things I use the "smart" functions for, and those can easily be replicated with a cheap media stick. Definitely outdated, imo. Thanks Na Me!

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