I just want a dumb TV

12/29/2022 9:12 am |

Katie and I have had a flat screen TV which we bought shortly after moving to Seattle, a bit over ten years ago. I snagged it as a really good deal from Sam's Club and, overall, it has been fantastic except for one thing. For much of the past ten years, it has had an annoying issue where, randomly, it pop up on screen and say a new connection has been detected and ask if we want to switch to it. This should be a handy feature, right? Except, it's not. We aren't making a new connection. It is detecting ghost signals. Nothing is plugged into the port it believes have a new connection.

As it turns out - this is a known issue when I search the model online and no one has found a solution. So, we just have gotten used to it as a minor annoyance and inconvenience.

However, while we have come to be used to it, I am also embarrassed by it when we have friends over. Like if my car were to keep randomly backfiring while I was giving a friend a ride. They're my friends, they aren't judging me economically or in any way by the TV's annoying interstitial screen, but still... I hate it.

So, with some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, I have decided it's time we replace this TV.

But, now I am faced with a new growing frustration: finding a reliable & high quality dumb TV. That is, one which doesn't have its own Internet connection and report the hours I binge and threaten to show me even more ads. As it turns out, these are not prolific in the market.

It is the sad state of the world that TV companies have realized they can derive even more revenue by doing this. In my searches the only "dumb" TV I could find which fit my price range and size specs was from the "Sceptre" brand which is reviewed poorly online.

I could go to Craigslist or FB marketplace, but I fear scammers and buying a bad TV and having no recourse to recoup my money.

Ultimately, I have conceded defeat: finding a new dumb TV is a losing battle. I've accepted that we'll be getting some sort of smart TV, and that I'll simply not use its built in features and I'll leave it offline. This ensures that it can't be fed new ads or share usage data, etc.

Or does it? I fear about the next step for these devices, which would be the now nearly omnipresent Xfinity wifi. What if the manufacturer has worked out a deal that it can always reliably connect to Xfinity regardless of whether I initiate it or not? The discussions I've seen online don't seem to have anyone confirming this sort of thing happening, but it isn't a major leap to guess that it could arrive one day.

I guess we'll cross that bridge when it arrives. But this is an area, like right to repair, I wish we'd get some real champions in Congress and the Senate to push legislation which protects consumers and pushes back on the corporations.

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