Entertainment Smart Home Technology Explained

5 Smart TV Lies You Have Fallen For

Dan Price 06-03-2017

Smart televisions first started hitting the shelves back in the late 2000s. They arrived with great fanfare, promising a revolution in the way we experienced visual entertainment.


Manufacturers gave them internet connectivity, app stores, and games. Services like Netflix and Hulu proclaimed the death of the HDMI cable. Cord-cutters rubbed their hands at the prospect of ditching their cable service. The future looked bright.

But the honeymoon period quickly came to an end. Consumers starting asking whether smart TVs were a worthwhile investment 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Buy a Smart TV What is a smart TV and should you buy one? Here's a detailed look at the biggest drawbacks of modern smart TVs. Read More . Lies and myths started spreading. Today, I’m going to debunk some of those myths. Hopefully, by the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll fall in love with your smart TV all over again.

1. “Your TV is Spying on You”

The Samsung TV “listening-gate” Samsung's Latest Smart TVs Are Straight Out Of George Orwell's 1984 A new feature in the latest Samsung smart TVs has put the Korean giant in a bit of hot water. It turns out they've been listening to everything you've been saying... Read More has arguably done more to damage the reputation of smart televisions than any other incident. For readers who don’t know what I’m referring to, in February 2015, Samsung was forced to issue a warning to TV owners about discussing personal information in front of their sets.

Samsung’s privacy policy for internet-connected televisions stated the following:

Samsung can capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features.

Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.

I’m not going to defend Samsung, but it’s important to consider the context.


In the two years since the incident, we’ve all become far more accustomed to having “listening” devices in our homes 5 Reasons to Avoid Smart Assistants If You Value Your Privacy So, you've bought a new speaker-based smart assistant and it's proudly sitting in the center of your coffee table. But what security risks and privacy problems are you now exposing yourself to? Read More . Gadgets like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are only triggered by keywords, which means they need to be listening to private background chatter to hear when these keywords are uttered.

Admittedly, not everyone has the same willingness to engage with these devices. But to lambaste Samsung while turning a blind eye to the countless other privacy-eroding listening devices is both unfair and hypocritical.

2. “Your TV Is a Hacker’s Dream”

In early 2016, security firm Avast illustrated how a Vizio Smart TV could be remotely hacked Smart TV Hack, Popcorn Time VPN, Turing Test Chatbot, CIA Tweets [Tech News Digest] Smart TV flaws, a Popcorn Time VPN, the chatbot that beat Alan Turing, the CIA joins Twitter, the first Vine from space, a Street View of the World Cup, and Microsoft's vision of the present... Read More and rooted, giving cyber-criminals access to the underlying Linux operating system. They even published details about what a man-in-the-middle attacker could learn about a person from the TV’s network traffic.

Similarly, there have been proof-of-concept demonstrations that used a USB device to exploit a malicious SSID value. Once activated, hackers could theoretically access and control any device on the network, including smart TVs.


Stories like these make consumers worried. “Privacy” has been an internet buzzword for the last couple of years, and users love a reason to give manufacturers a hard time.

But are you automatically vulnerable if you have a smart TV in your house? Well, it’s true that you can’t install an antivirus suite on your TV in the same way that you can on your computer. But your TV is far from the only culprit. What about your internet-connected home security system Nest vs. Kuna: Outdoor Security Camera Showdown Two of the newest outside cameras are the Nest Cam Outdoor and Kuna Toucan. In this article, you’ll learn more about these cameras and see how they compare. Read More ? Your smart fridge? Smart lighting? Even smart garage door opener 4 Ways a Smart Garage Door Opener Will Simplify Your Life Garages are great, garage doors are frustrating. Smart garage door openers can help. Read More ? Are these really safe?

In a word, no. The responsibility falls on you, the consumer who buys and enjoys smart gadgets, to take steps to protect yourself. The solution is to buy a newer router that’s more secure than your ISP’s freebie. They have an impressive array of security features 6 Reasons to Upgrade Your Wireless Router Is your wireless router old and outdated? You may be missing out on several newer features that can improve your connection quality and make your life easier. Read More , including built-in antivirus, traffic quarantining, and port monitoring.

Don’t let security concerns dissuade you from appreciating your smart TV. Protect yourself properly and relish all its benefits.


3. “Smart TVs Don’t Offer Anything New”

Critics argue that smart TVs don’t bring anything new to your entertainment experience. They say smart TV functions are already covered by other devices in your home. Want Netflix? Log onto your Roku. Want to browse the web on a big screen? Use an HDMI cable. Want to play music? Chromecast has you covered.

While that might all be true — yes, you can use a multitude of other devices and services — there is a counter-argument to be made here: why use a bunch of different devices when a single smart TV can do it all?

5 Smart TV Lies You Have Fallen For cables mess 670x450
Image Credit: csp via Shutterstock.com

Why would you want more gadgets than necessary? It means more cables, more apps to manage, a higher chance of things going awry, and more devices poking out of every corner in your home. It’s more prudent to streamline your experience.


Tech should be both easy and beautiful Smart Home Feng Shui: How to Make Automation Stylish Current interior design trends are all about keeping things minimal. Less is more. Unfortunately, tech gadgets can destroy your perfectly crafted plans. Here are seven tips for making your home automation look stylish. Read More . And unless you’re a wizard at concealing cables and hiding ugly devices, you won’t be able to fulfill those ideals. Let your smart TV take some of the strain.

4. “Smart TVs Are Too Expensive”

Importantly for a lot of people, more gadgets also means more money. Let’s do some sums:

  • Roku 4: $130
  • Chromecast Audio: $35
  • HDMI Cable: Up to $50 for a reliable, high-quality product
  • Apple TV: $200
  • Plex Lifetime Subscription: $120
  • TOTAL: $530

For comparison, only five of the top 25 bestselling smart TVs at Best Buy cost more than $530. Rather than buying more and more cheap(ish) peripheral devices and services, start putting your money into a new TV fund. In terms of money, you pretty much come out as even.

5. “Smart TVs Don’t Have Enough Features”

In practice, there are very few day-to-day entertainment tasks that today’s smart TVs cannot carry out with aplomb. All manufacturers offer support for:

  • Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Spotify, and every other mainstream entertainment app
  • Web browsers
  • Facebook and other social media platforms
  • “Catch-up” apps from the major TV networks
  • Remote UPnP media library support
  • Peripheral gadgets like keyboards and mice

In short, they offer every typical service you could reasonably expect to use on a given day.

Ultimately, smart TVs have evolved immeasurably since they first became available. Unfortunately, many users might not realize that televisions are not something you upgrade frequently. If your TV is five or more years old, you’d be amazed at the performance levels of a new set.

After all, consider how much smartphones and laptops have improved over the same period. The same is true for televisions.

What Lies and Myths Have You Fallen For?

Of course, I could continue. But I hope these five points have made you think about giving your existing smart TV a new lease of life.

And if you’re in the market for a new television, embrace the technology. Do your research and find out which set matches your requirements. With some time and investigation, you’ll be able to discover a product that’ll become a valuable addition to your home entertainment setup.

Have you been caught up in the web of lies and rumors about smart televisions? Were you aware of how much they’ve progressed in since their launch? Or are you still unconvinced? Are you adamant they’re a mere marketing fad?

Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

Image Credit: TorGB via Shutterstock.com

Related topics: Debunking Myths, Smart TV.

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  1. Alan
    March 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Scary stuff. However, an easy workaround is to use a VPN on your home’s router. Works on your any device connected to it. I use expressvpn on the Linksys 1200AC myself.

  2. alpbarutcu
    March 8, 2017 at 2:54 pm


  3. Dragon
    March 8, 2017 at 1:50 am

    I don't see any thing in this article to disprove anyof the stories (myths) or make me want a smart TV or any other smart appliance.

  4. Winters P
    March 6, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    There's a difference between dispelling misinformation and going so far to the other extreme as to create contrary disinformation by dismissing important issues. A buzzword is a meaningless term used to impress.

    Privacy is not a buzzword, its an important issue whose erosion already has real world consequences that will likely get more relevant as companies and governments seek their own interests.

    An appliance listening to you is no "lie that you believe" it happens and we should be informed if we are to stop companies from having free reign in our private business. This becomes even more relevant in your second "lie we believe" hacking. I would remind you that the most conscious customer with the best equipment can suffer if companies don't plug holes on their best hardware and software, something that happens often and is not always the fault of the customer. To say its solely responsibility of the user is irresponsible.

    And i hate the dumb argument of "everyone does it so lets not blame this company", it makes no sense to begin with and is already tired.

  5. Hildy J
    March 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I have had an early, semi-smart TV for almost a decade. During that time I have never used any of the smart features. I bought it for its display (a 62" plasma), not for its smarts. For my next TV, the only intelligence I'm looking for is HDR+ and excellent 1080P to 4K upscaling. Other than that, it's all about the screen. In fact, I will be sorely tempted to root my TV and uninstall the bloatware (which is exactly what you would call it if Verizon was sticking it on your phone).

  6. Jeremy
    March 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Buy a TV for it's display...not it's built in "Smart Tv" features. Good luck getting the manufacturer to keep these features updated as long as you own the tv. External gadgets can be updated/added/removed from your tv as needed.

  7. likefunbutnot
    March 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    ... and here's some Smart TV truths:
    * SmartTVs, even those from the same company and model year, sometimes have wildly different on-screen interfaces. If you have a technology-challenged housemate, this can be maddening.

    * Sometimes, Smart TV features go dark because a web site or app with update its API without a corresponding update to the software for the TV. But you didn't really expect that Youtube would work forever on your three year old TV, did you?

    * Smart TVs have notoriously poor, slow CPUs and relatively little RAM for rich features. This generally makes them slow and laggy compared to dedicated set top boxes. The Smart features are never going to be a priority over the other technology in the TV, so don't expect this to ever change.

    * Many Smart TVs offer only a wireless network connection. Neighbor running a microwave? You didn't really want to watch Netflix just then, anyway.

    * Many Smart TVs are walled gardens where new features are only available from the TV manufacturer. Android is an option for some, but a TV running Tizen or WebOS is just SOL when the end user wants a good experience with, say, Emby.

  8. Ebbe K
    March 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    "Smart TVs require access to certain websites in order to work"

    No, I don't have a Smart TV. But a colleague of mine owns a Panasonic Smart TV. This TV only works if it has access to a certain Panasonic website as in: it does NOT work if that website is down.

  9. pseudoscion
    March 6, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    $50 for an HDMI cable?

    • Hope
      September 17, 2019 at 9:08 am

      haha! even i was shocked to see that. i searched on amazon for the same. 5$ amazon basics hdmi cable.