Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Case Against Smart TVs

I absolutely agree with the Marco Arment that I am fine with my old Sony Bravia, a 50" 1080p LCD TV that has been running fine for close to 7 years.  As it is the case for a lot of people, buying a TV is not a yearly event since they last a long time.

Smart TVs are the trend in the recent years and you will be hard pressed to find a manufacturer that sells one without the "bells and whistles" built in. In fact after browsing some of the top names it seems that you can still buy a dumb TV only from Sony and Panasonic or Runco . The rest like LG, Samsung, Vizio etc all focus on the new smart software that is on the TV , all the content available and you see them front and center with more or less a familiar design

I would rather the manufacturers focus on what they are good at, making damn good displays that make the content you are viewing more enjoyable. TV models are refreshed so frequently that supporting and upgrading software for your current hardware would be quite cumbersome and it wouldnt be surprising to see an end of life quite quickly. So if an API for your favorite video service changes a bit, you could very easily be left hanging with out of date software. 

Leave the smartness to the Rokus, Chromecasts, Apple TVs and XBMCs of the world whose main focus is to manage your media and being it to life on the screen of your choice. They do a far better job of what the TV guys can come up with in terms of UI , the software is updated in a timely manner for the respective hardware and its much cheaper to replace a Chromecast or Roku box than my TV if for some reason the built in Youtube or Netflix app stopped working because the manufacturer wont push new updates for your model.

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