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How do I find a good dumb TV? Question

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A lot of TVs on the market these days are "Smart TVs" which I don't want. I've had smart TVs in the past and found that I don't use any of their features. Further, the software is often laggy, buggy and gets in the way. Moreover there are concern about privacy and ads.

When shopping for a new TV, how do I find a non-smart TV? Are there specific manufacturers or stores that specialize in them, or at least provide a good selection with appropriate filters/categories?

I know that a few "budget" stores like Target, Bestbuy and Walmart can have token dumb TV options. These are usually a brand called ONN. These are good for their price, but they are very cheap TVs ($100-200) and the sound/picture quality is correspondingly poor. I have not seen any products that are similarly "dumb TVs" but have decent video quality.

A few things that I tried:

  • Searching for "dumb TV" on Amazon provides very few results. A lot of them are still smart TVs, Amazon's search feature just sucks.
  • B&H Video has categories for non-smart TVs, but they are usually "outdoor screens" that cost multiple thousands of dollars
  • When I search for "commercial screens" many of them still have smart TV software, it's just less prominent in the product blurb
  • When I search for large computer monitors, many end up being "gaming monitors" or "smart monitors" which have the same smart TV software

Have non-smart TVs become a lost technology now? How do you go about finding one?

I've also heard the theory that smart TVs are actually cheaper to sell, because the ads/anti-privacy features are an extra income stream for the manufacturer. That's fine, I'm willing to pay more (up to $1000) for a dumb TV even though it has fewer features. However, the more it costs, the more research I have to do to make sure it's really what I want, and I've noticed that more expensive dumb TVs are obscure and have few reviews, presumably because few people buy them.

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Short of specialty items you have already eliminated as more than you want to pay, the simple solution to the software, privacy, whatever issues of "Smart TVs" is to make sure that the thing has some sort of standard video input, and use that, not the built-in malware.

If you happen to get over the air channels in your location, you can use the tuner for those without issue, on any of the various "smart' TVs I've dealt with.

As for anything to do with a network connection, that gets done by a computer which treats the "smart" TV like a large display. The TV's remote is for selecting which video input you are using and the volume (and channel if you actually get OTA channels.) The TV doesn't get to talk to the WiFi, it doesn't get an Ethernet Cable, it has to play dumb.

Another alternative is a projector and a white screen for it to project onto.

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+3
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You haven't defined exactly what features are part of "smart" versus "dumb". What most people consider "smart TV" features require a network connection. No matter how smart a TV is, if you don't connect it to a network, then it won't present the smart features.

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Definition (1 comment)
Broken Smart TV is not the same as dumb TV (1 comment)

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