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Inoperational Bumblebee

Smart TV platforms

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Posted (edited)

We're looking for a new TV, 40-43" size. We currently have  a Samsung but the constant updates (that mean you can't use the smart functions when it's doing so) are incredibly frustrating.
If it wasn't for the updates I'd be happy with Samsung, though they removed Youtube from ours a while back which was annoying.

Does anyone have a smart TV platform that they are pleased with? I've struggled to find reviews of the platforms rather than just individual TVs.

Edited by Inoperational Bumblebee

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Posted (edited)

Should have given specifics about the smart TV aspects. We use Plex almost exclusively for our evening watching (the Samsung has the app on it), and Youtube entertains the boy for hours.

If a Chromecast or similar with a quality TV would be better, then I'll happily do so. In which case, any thoughts on what that might be?
Would that be another remote?

Edited by Inoperational Bumblebee

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The LG webOS is brilliant - well better than the Samsung stuff and the painfully slow Android stuff on Sony TV's. I really like webOS and advise people to try it in-store somewhere.

But the downer with LG's under £1,000 is that many of them are not 'proper' 4K.

I have written much about what I consider the con of smart TV's. So many companies simply do not keep them updated so that apps eventually stop working or they simply remove apps after you buy the thing. A dumb TV - hard to find nowadays - with a smart TV box is the best option IMPO.

The best bit of advice to give though is to buy any TV from John Lewis or Richer Sounds or the third one whose name I forget. They give 5 or 6 year warranties as opposed to mostly 12 months from Currys, Amazon, etc. Shocking numbers of these expensive TV's fail after 12 months but within 2 - 2.5 years.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Inoperational Bumblebee said:

We're looking for a new TV, 40-43" size. We currently have  a Samsung but the constant updates (that mean you can't use the smart functions when it's doing so) are incredibly frustrating.
If it wasn't for the updates I'd be happy with Samsung, though they removed Youtube from ours a while back which was annoying.

Does anyone have a smart TV platform that they are pleased with? I've struggled to find reviews of the platforms rather than just individual TVs.

I'm going to be naive here because I don't have a TV and am not very media savvy, we just have a BluRay player, projector and screen as a home cinema setup for films and that, is it.

But, my BluRay player has WiFi and can apparently do all the internet stuff (although we don't, so I can't attest to it, although it is fine for Netflix) - so would a regular TV and a WiFi DVD/BluRay player be an option, and a cheaper option too?

 

Edited by Hopeful

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I have a Panasonic which uses firefoxos, which does the job. Has the main apps and can easily cast to it from the phone or pc/laptop. Although as I have an HTPC the smart functions rarely get used, mainly just for the occasional casting of a video on youtube. I'm surprised more aren't moving to an Android platform, would make things a whole lot easier. HTPC really is the only way to get around any hurdles. I just used old computer bits I had lying around after upgrades so was not expensive. 

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5 minutes ago, Uptherebels said:

Are any of the new Tv's on sale now, not smart? Mine is not, but it's at least 5 years old. When it needs replacing, I don't really want a smart one. 

 

Only the cheaper brands.

Samsung seems to have off-loaded a bunch of non-smart TV's cheaply about 6 weeks ago. I missed out on a 50 incher for £300.

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I'm not sure what's smart about these TVs. All I want is a good screen, not a load of internet requiring tat that requires you to "log in". Fuck that.

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40 minutes ago, Uptherebels said:

Are any of the new Tv's on sale now, not smart? Mine is not, but it's at least 5 years old. When it needs replacing, I don't really want a smart one. 

Most are smart these days.  But if you don't buy a premium brand then you really don't want to enable the smart stuff -- it'll be out-of-support before the warranty expires.

And even if you do get a premium brand, you might still want to get an independent STB, as that way you might be able to have a consistent interface between different TVs in you household (and the next TV you buy).

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1 hour ago, ste said:

Buy a decent TV, and get something like an Amazon fire/Kodi/Roku/Now TV if you want the extra features.

That one every time. The Amazon Fire (or whichever one you pick) is cheap and throwaway when you need an upgrade, the TV itself much less so. Also, as the OP points out, if you rely on the TV's internal app platform you're at the mercy of random commercial spats between manufacturers. 

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4 minutes ago, TheBlueCat said:

That one every time. The Amazon Fire (or whichever one you pick) is cheap and throwaway when you need an upgrade, the TV itself much less so. Also, as the OP points out, if you rely on the TV's internal app platform you're at the mercy of random commercial spats between manufacturers. 

Indeed Monsieur ChatBlue, Your favorite "CrApp" might be removed at the next OS upgrade.

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A lot of these smart TVs have been caught spying on you and sending your viewing habits back to the mothership. 

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4 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

A lot of these smart TVs have been caught spying on you and sending your viewing habits back to the mothership. 

I've turned mine "dumb" by not plugging it into the internet.

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What about if you get a smart TV, but just don't use any of the smart stuff. Is that doable? Can you just use it the non smart way? 

At least then, maybe you'd have a better screen, and if the apps stop working, it won't matter. 

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1 hour ago, ste said:

I find the novelty, usefulness and updates of any Smart TV pretty useless - it's more of an afterthought/con to get you to give the TV your wifi details so it can do other things in the background. The UI is normally terrible.

Buy a decent TV, and get something like an Amazon fire/Kodi/Roku/Now TV if you want the extra features. My Virgin box has youtube and Netflix so covers pretty much everything I want. When its slow or can't run what i need, it'll get upgraded not the TV - which is now 8 years old and still going strong.

 

I second this. I've got a Chromecast, a firestick and a Roku stick - out of the three I recommend the Roku as it's the only one that does both YouTube and Prime (you can cast Prime to Chromecast the last time I checked but it does it really badly). If you want to cast the screen for whatever reason then Chromecast is best.

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Just now, Uptherebels said:

What about if you get a smart TV, but just don't use any of the smart stuff. Is that doable? Can you just use it the non smart way? 

At least then, maybe you'd have a better screen, and if the apps stop working, it won't matter. 

 

I have never seen one that has the ability to turn all the smart stuff off.

You could simply not connect it to a router / internet but I have no idea how that would affect the functionality - whether they would begin flashing up all sorts of error messages all the time.

Tucker Carlson has done a few pieces on Hisense TV's and what they do with your personal information gathered from their smart TV's. Facebook filed some patents a few months back about collecting your voice, image, etc, using smart TV's. I suspect the others will be doing likewise.

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Both my "smart" TV and sky box are isolated from the outside world, the only issue is I have to "rebuild" the sky box once a week to update the TV Guide.

Otherwise, both work fine.

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1 minute ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

I have never seen one that has the ability to turn all the smart stuff off.

You could simply not connect it to a router / internet but I have no idea how that would affect the functionality - whether they would begin flashing up all sorts of error messages all the time.

Tucker Carlson has done a few pieces on Hisense TV's and what they do with your personal information gathered from their smart TV's. Facebook filed some patents a few months back about collecting your voice, image, etc, using smart TV's. I suspect the others will be doing likewise.

Cripes, if it don't work without an internet connection, I would send it back, as not being a "television".

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Oh well. Maybe by the time I get a new one, it will be fashionable again to make non smart ones! 

Though they could be smart of course, and just sold as non smart! 

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We have:

Panasonic TV (about 5 years old IIRC)
Now TV stick
Fire TV stick
Apple TV box

The TV has various apps built in. the So-Called BBC iPlayer works nicely. YouTube only works during the week and the picture quality is much worse on Fridays. On Saturday nights it won't work at all. My suspicion is that Panasonic might be running requests through a proxy server that's doing some kind of mapping so as to keep the service working and it gets too busy at the weekends.

The picture quality on the Now TV thing is mostly shite and the interface is horrible. It is visible to my phone on the network so I can "cast" to it but the picture quality of that is so bad it is unusable. For instance YouTube videos look so pixelated and glitchy they're genuinely unwatchable and the sound quality drops from even YouTube's normal SQ to sound like a cheap tape deck from 20 years ago.

The Fire TV stick thing is buggy and crashes a lot. Interface is nice. YouTube app no longer works but you can view YouTube through Firefox and pair it with your phone. But you have to go through that process every time you open it and it's fiddly. Netflix will open most of the time. It often needs restarting. Occasionally nothing on it will work for a while (cannot connect to server type messages).

The Apple box is largely redundant. That has a YouTube app with a hideously slow and annoying interface. Haven't used that in a year. It isn't even plugged in.

So what we used to have was the TV paired with our phones and YouTube worked a treat. Can't do that now. In actual use what I tend to do is play something on my phone in YouTube for 2 seconds so it goes into "History" then open Fire TV Stick > Firefox > YouTube and choose it from the history. Saves pairing the phone again. Or use the aggravating letter-at-a-time search function and foget using the phone as a selector.

These little gadgets are just that. They're not serious devices, you can never know whether they will work from one day or hour to the next. They just break. But then they're only e.g. £20.

If you want something reliable that is pretty well guaranteed to work and "do everything" consistently, there really isn't an alternative to buying a decent PC and dedicating it to the TV.

With anything else it might work today but it might not work tomorrow.

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We have two smart tellys, one Samsung and the other LG. The LG interface is much better though it gets a bit jittery (like it freezes momentarily every few seconds) if you watch Amazon prime for any decent amount of time, fixable by hitting "return" then selecting the programme again. My best solution is just watching stuff off a laptop that's plugged into the HDMI port on the telly, some tablets have HDMI OUT too, although normally they just have the wee mini/micro HDMI ports, you can get adaptors or cables to deal with that though.

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1 minute ago, One percent said:

I’ve turned mine dumb by not plugging it into the mains. O.o

You won't quite get the high definition experience.

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