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posted by janrinok on Sunday April 17 2022, @02:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-connect-them-to-anything dept.

Historically, "smart" TVs aren't always particularly smart. They've routinely been shown to have lax security and privacy standards. They also routinely feature embedded OS systems that don't age well, aren't always well designed, don't perform particularly well over time, are slathered with ads, and are usually worse than most third-party game streaming devices or video game consoles.

Yet when if you go shopping for "dumb" televisions — as in just a high quality display with a bunch of HDMI ports and not much else, you're usually going to be out of luck. There are options, but guides on this front will usually shovel you toward computer monitors (too pricey at large sizes), or business-class displays (ditto).

[...] Of course it's challenging because TV manufacturers now make more money collecting and monetizing your personal data than they do selling the actual hardware. Last year Vizio noted it made $38.4 million in one quarter just from tracking and monetizing consumer viewing and usage data. It made $48.2 million on hardware (which also includes soundbars, and other products) in that same period.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Sunday April 17 2022, @02:42AM (2 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday April 17 2022, @02:42AM (#1237603)

    I dinked around with a Fire tablet for an hour or so once with the thought to "root" it, and came to the conclusion that my time is more valuable to me doing other things than learning how to circumvent their revenue generation games.

    I'm sure, with sufficient effort and probably not much or any physical modification to the products, you could probably software-mod your way out of all the smart-TV features - but that's going to require hours of reverse-engineering and/or research which, ultimately, could be spent enjoying things in life other than "beating the system." Now, if your whole reason for living is to "stick it to the man" then smart TVs are one outlet for that energy, but for a few hundred bucks once every 5-10 years, you can also just buy a dumb monitor if that's what you want and be completely free of smart TV frustrations.

    As others have pointed out: it's not hard to starve them of internet connectivity, and that's another approach. I prefer to just have a simple monitor that's not going to complain to me periodically that it "needs" to phone home.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by krishnoid on Sunday April 17 2022, @03:06AM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Sunday April 17 2022, @03:06AM (#1237605)

    Whoops, I was just thinking of seeing if someone on xda-developers had found which TVs can be rooted/reloaded this way. I also suppose buying a used business-class display from a company that's scrapping/upgrading/going into bankruptcy is also an possibility.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:24AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:24AM (#1237627)

      Yeah, if the reverse engineering has been done, and written up into a reasonable how-to that can be researched and implemented within a couple of hours, sure.... I've just gone down too many of those rabbit holes that end up taking 8-10 hours before it's working satisfactorily - with a fair amount of risk that it never will, or that it will require periodic maintenance.

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