Author Topic: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea  (Read 8255 times)

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Offline German_EE

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Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« on: June 13, 2016, 09:13:35 pm »
https://www.onthewire.io/whats-on-tv-tonight-ransomware/

Ransomware affecting Android devices, not just phones, your TV set as well.
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Offline rolycat

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 09:40:14 pm »
Smart TVs can be a bad idea even without malware.

Remember the furore last year about Samsung TVs which listen to what you say and send it to a 'third party' for analysis?
 

Offline sakhmatd

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 01:20:42 am »
Smart TVs can be a bad idea even without malware.

Remember the furore last year about Samsung TVs which listen to what you say and send it to a 'third party' for analysis?
That is essentially "official" malware, much like Windows 10.
 

Offline shawnb

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 01:52:48 am »
I've intentionally stayed away from Smart TV's -- given the fragmentation amongst manufacturers, and even similar devices by the same manufacturer, I've always assumed that there was no chance of the manufacturer actually supporting the software throughout the expected life of the hardware, whether it is new apps or security/maintenance fixes. 

Historically, it has seemed that once they release a new model, all development efforts shift to the next upcoming model -- which isn't surprising considering that most manufacturer aren't getting any ongoing revenues off the software side of the TV.
 
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Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 03:17:32 am »
Get one that is well supported by the XDA community? Granted, that's a lot more common with add on boxes.
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Offline bitwelder

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 04:42:32 am »
A TV with a remote kill-switch that when the vendor decides it's time for you to buy a new TV they can disable it (officially 'drop out of support')?
No thanks.
 

Offline Brutte

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2016, 07:12:40 am »
Quote
Remember the furore last year about Samsung TVs which listen to what you say and send it to a 'third party' for analysis?

Samsung, you are already on my blacklist.

 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2016, 08:39:24 am »
I always felt that way towards smart tv's.
Actually they are obsolete the moment they ship them.
What you need is a seperate display and tvbox market, you only have to change the display once every 6 years or so (unless you want the newest of the newest in resolution, hdr etc.) and the tvbox can be cheap and replaced every two years, or being continuously updated and supported.
By the way this same problem is valid for smartphones, esp. android ones only get updated and supported for two years after manufacture. Then there is no support and no security updates (Samsung phones that is) so actually if you buy a new smartphone one year after introduction you only have one year left and you can throw it away. Rediculous :(
 
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2016, 08:57:00 am »
I always felt that way towards smart tv's.
Actually they are obsolete the moment they ship them.
What you need is a seperate display and tvbox market, you only have to change the display once every 6 years or so (unless you want the newest of the newest in resolution, hdr etc.) and the tvbox can be cheap and replaced every two years, or being continuously updated and supported.
By the way this same problem is valid for smartphones, esp. android ones only get updated and supported for two years after manufacture. Then there is no support and no security updates (Samsung phones that is) so actually if you buy a new smartphone one year after introduction you only have one year left and you can throw it away. Rediculous :(
You don't have to throw it away because it's no longer updated. It'll still work for years to come.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2016, 09:05:52 am »
You don't have to throw it away because it's no longer updated. It'll still work for years to come.
So will the hackers that hack your phone  ;)
 

Offline Kevman

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2016, 04:47:49 pm »
I always felt that way towards smart tv's.
Actually they are obsolete the moment they ship them.
What you need is a seperate display and tvbox market, you only have to change the display once every 6 years or so (unless you want the newest of the newest in resolution, hdr etc.) and the tvbox can be cheap and replaced every two years, or being continuously updated and supported.
By the way this same problem is valid for smartphones, esp. android ones only get updated and supported for two years after manufacture. Then there is no support and no security updates (Samsung phones that is) so actually if you buy a new smartphone one year after introduction you only have one year left and you can throw it away. Rediculous :(
You don't have to throw it away because it's no longer updated. It'll still work for years to come.

Indeed, I bought an LG OLED TV in November, knowing full well that LG only supports the software on their TVs for about 6 months. When its really obsolete, I'll just unplug the ethernet cable that connects it to the Internet and by one of those stick things. I don't know why people get upset about Smart TVs- just ignore the Smart part.  I would have bought  a TV without it, but they don't make OLEDs that aren't smart.

Btw, they've already released the next version of the SmartTV OS, WebOS 3.0, and my TV won't be getting it.

The only smart function I use is Youtube, anyway. Its a shame the Wii U has no multimedia capabilities...
 

Offline sakhmatd

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2016, 05:07:10 pm »
You don't have to throw it away because it's no longer updated. It'll still work for years to come.
So will the hackers that hack your phone  ;)
That is why you search XDA or similar places and update your phone to something like CyanogenMod. Lets you free yourself from Google's backdoor in Google Play and have your phone updated up to speed.

My phone's support stopped after ICS, but I have Marshmallow installed.
 

Offline nogood

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2016, 05:09:35 pm »
Smart TVs can be a bad idea even without malware.

Remember the furore last year about Samsung TVs which listen to what you say and send it to a 'third party' for analysis?

Almost every free voice recognition software does that, at least Samsung talked about it...
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2016, 05:47:04 pm »
You don't have to avoid smart TVs, just don't use the "smart" features.  I don't like that they're throwing all of that crap into every TV made, but you're under no obligation to use it.  Just don't plug in an ethernet cable, don't set up the wifi, and use the HDMI inputs as you normally would.  It's no worse than any other "dumb" TV.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2016, 06:22:58 pm »
You don't have to throw it away because it's no longer updated. It'll still work for years to come.
So will the hackers that hack your phone  ;)
That is why you search XDA or similar places and update your phone to something like CyanogenMod. Lets you free yourself from Google's backdoor in Google Play and have your phone updated up to speed.

My phone's support stopped after ICS, but I have Marshmallow installed.
Or you just don't use your phone for banking or anything you're really bothered about.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2016, 02:21:21 am »
You don't have to avoid smart TVs, just don't use the "smart" features.  I don't like that they're throwing all of that crap into every TV made, but you're under no obligation to use it.  Just don't plug in an ethernet cable, don't set up the wifi, and use the HDMI inputs as you normally would.  It's no worse than any other "dumb" TV.

That's the way I use mine, after discovering all the "smart" features are crap.
Unfortunately, It takes ages to startup, CEC sometimes doesn't work, and it has a remote with 1e+03 buttons.

All I want is a 3-HDMI screen, direct lit, with a remote that contains volume +/- input 1/2/3 on/off.
Unfortunately similar devices cost double the price.
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Offline System Error Message

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2016, 04:20:04 am »
Smart TVs are a good idea, the problem that smart TVs today have is that they are part of the display. Many smart TVs only have 100Mb/s ethernet instead of the commonly available 1Gb/s and thats not fast enough for blu ray as to play a blu ray discs uses slightly more than what usb2 provides.

When you get a company thats been good at producing entertainment displays starting to add a computer on it they tend to do it poorly. This can be seen from sluggishness, bugs, the poor selection and quality of apps. I dont want to browse facebook or twitter on my TV, The reason why someone uses a TV isnt as a computer, its as a display for entertainment. Its not going to have a full keyboard, its going to have a remote making typing things a pain. Essentially many social apps i would classify as bloatware because of the way the work, they run all the time, drain your battery and unless you're someone doing PR you dont need to keep watching for updates.

In the older days a TV was only a display, some with speakers. The handling of TV signals and everything else would be done by another box which uses the TV as a display, so when you want to upgrade or replace you dont have to spend so much cash. The antenna isnt part of the TV, you'd have to plug a cable into it.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2016, 12:41:57 pm »
 My Vizio has smart features if I attach to my wifi or plug in an Ethernet cable, has 3x HDMI, and if I stick to the front side of the remote control, I can turn it on and off, adjust the volume, and select my input without going into the smart features or other crazy menus - just push the input button on the remote to cycle through the various inputs. That back side of the remote is more or less a tiny qwerty keyboard plus some function buttons.


 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2016, 01:06:26 pm »
Smart TVs are a good idea, the problem that smart TVs today have is that they are part of the display. Many smart TVs only have 100Mb/s ethernet instead of the commonly available 1Gb/s and thats not fast enough for blu ray as to play a blu ray discs uses slightly more than what usb2 provides.

Where does USB2 come into it? 100Mbps is adequate for Blu-ray; 54Mbps max transfer rate and 48Mbps max combined AV bitrate..

Actually, where does ethernet come into it for Blu-ray anyway?!
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2016, 01:19:00 pm »
Our silly not so Smart LG TV has an option for another pointer style remote which probably means you would need to keep your arm raised for long periods just to perform even the most basic of functions, the same remote also enables voice commands and I contacted LG to ask if I could teach my voice only so she who chucks stuff can no longer interrupt my valued viewing and browsing time, they didn't know and recommended that we buy the remote and see what happens. We currently use a mouse but find that I constantly swear loudly at this device anyway so colourful voice commands might be a handy option.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 01:43:19 am by Muttley Snickers »
 

Offline karoru

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2016, 01:39:12 pm »
I have 3 Sony LCD TVs (I didn't really have a say about "what to buy") made in last few years, and amazing features they have indeed:

* web browser that says 'out of memory' when loading google page with more than few search results
* youtube application that crashes randomly if video is in 1080p (sometimes TV resets, sometimes that neat 'out of memory' info window)
* 3 min bootup time where half of it is 'running but not really' where there is picture and trying to do something using remote control ends with window saying something like 'not ready yet, please wait' and delaying boot process even more
* whole thing hanging up for up to a minute on every single operation like displaying list of thumbnails of YT/netflix/whatever videos and suddenly responding to all buttons pressed when it hanged up (multitasking is hard to do on these 4 cores processors it seems) - good luck after pressing that 'next page' button few times by accident.
* sometimes there are cryptic errors with random numbers when trying to update software, after which damn thing stops wanting to connect to the Internet - Sony tech support asks to turn off firewall and ask your local network administrator (I've asked myself question about this error no 184582 and I couldn't really get any good answer) - information what port or protocol or whatever may be a problem is not available. I wonder if I should use packet sniffer to reverse-engineer what to do and send them info so they'll put it on the website.
* DLNA support is kinda OK, but sometimes I have to mess around with transcoding settings on my DLNA server so it won't run out of memory and crash.
* you can't connect any normal USB keyboard/mouse to them, and instead are stuck entering addresses using GSM phone SMS interface-style keypad using crappy numeric keypad on remote, with no easy way to correct mistakes (and my Nokia 3210 was much more responsive than this interface, really). Ok, they "fixed" it in newest models and added something resembling Android QWERTY keyboard, so I can navigate it using arrow keys on the remote, I don't know which is worse. Ah, and Youtube app, joy forever! Use left and right arrow to select from A to Z in a linear fashion, best user interface ever. Honestly speaking it's nearly unusable without connecting smartphone/PC to browse videos and use this 'play on TV' feature.

And that's what tech-savvy person gets for having Smart TV, from not one of the cheapest brands.

50$ Android tablet or set-top-box bought on Aliexpress connected via HDMI would probably deal with these smart and cool things better than expensive Sony crap.
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2016, 01:48:14 pm »
This is what SmartTVs really are. Two things that should be separate but they were fused together just for the sake of it, bringing unreliability and lack of flexibility. Compare this to connecting 2 separate but perfectly compatible products that you can purchase and upgrade separately.

I present, the TV/VCR combo system:
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2016, 01:59:33 pm »
You don't have to avoid smart TVs, just don't use the "smart" features.  I don't like that they're throwing all of that crap into every TV made, but you're under no obligation to use it.  Just don't plug in an ethernet cable, don't set up the wifi, and use the HDMI inputs as you normally would.  It's no worse than any other "dumb" TV.

Except wasted processing power, power consumption, perhaps increased startup times and a user interface full of stuff you don't need and potentially money wasted.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2016, 02:32:20 pm »
You don't have to avoid smart TVs, just don't use the "smart" features.  I don't like that they're throwing all of that crap into every TV made, but you're under no obligation to use it.  Just don't plug in an ethernet cable, don't set up the wifi, and use the HDMI inputs as you normally would.  It's no worse than any other "dumb" TV.

Except wasted processing power, power consumption, perhaps increased startup times and a user interface full of stuff you don't need and potentially money wasted.

Processing power and power consumption wasted on what?  When there is no network connection and the TV is set to an external input, what do you think the CPU is wasting cycles on?

Increased startup time I could see potentially being a problem, but that hasn't been an issue on any smart TV I've used.  With no network connection and set to an external input, the TV skips all of the "smart" crap and goes straight to displaying what's on the input, at least in my experience.  No cluttered user interface, because there is no user interface.  It boots up set to the external input and you're done without pressing a single button.

The kicker here is no network interface.  Do not set one up, and if you've already set one up, delete it.  In my experience the TV operates in a completely different mode when there's no network connection, it just turns on and tunes to the most recent input used, end of story.  This is the case with all of the Samsung, Panasonic, and Visio smart TVs I've used.

Money wasted compared to what?  Can you even buy a dumb TV anymore?  Perusing Crutchfield.com for a few minutes, I'd say the answer is "no".  Since you can't buy a TV that doesn't have those features, you're comparing "money wasted" against a hypothetical TV that could, but doesn't, exist.  That's not exactly fair.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 02:35:36 pm by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2016, 02:49:01 pm »
Another problem:  When a smart TV has a feature you actually use, and it is withdrawn.  Doesn't matter if the reason is that the manufacturer wants a new sale, or if it is a commercial dispute with the application, it means a re-arrangement of your infrastructure to accomplish something.  When I buy something, I want to own it, not lease it.
 

Offline System Error Message

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2016, 03:08:54 pm »
for playing blu ray i compared to using usb2 on a PC with a blu ray drive to streaming over network. Not sure people realise but one of the reasons for networking on a smart TV is for the use of DLNA or even a media server. So not only can you watch videos from networked drives from your TV some will let you stream them on LAN. The issue isnt the bitrates of the video, its that there will be raw file access and ethernet isnt fast enough for it. This is different from having something like plex encoding the videos rather than raw file access because plex can run even on ARM but will not do any decoding.

I prefer smart TV functionality seperated from display otherwise you're stuck with what features there are and upgrading would mean changing the whole thing so its more waste to deal with. How many of you actually use your smart TV functionality rather than your ISP's TV box?
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2016, 03:14:37 pm »
its that there will be raw file access and ethernet isnt fast enough for it.

Like hell it isn't. If I can stream a raw Blu-ray over wifi, you can sure as hell do it over ethernet!

Quote
This is different from having something like plex encoding the videos rather than raw file access because plex can run even on ARM but will not do any decoding.

Of course it does decoding..
 

Offline System Error Message

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2016, 03:18:17 pm »
Correction i mean ARM wont re-encode videos.
The annoying bit is that there is wireless AC that provides more throughput than the onboard ethernet as wire is more reliable than using wifi.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2016, 03:20:51 pm »
The annoying bit is that there is wireless AC that provides more throughput than the onboard ethernet as wire is more reliable than using wifi.

Who said anything about ac? My wifi can't keep up with my DSL, it's still more than adequate to keep up with Blu-ray. 100Mbit ethernet will keep up with most 4k content (excluding UHD Blu-ray, of course..).
 

Offline macboy

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2016, 04:08:08 pm »
Sounds like a lot of people here have pretty dumb smart-TVs.
Mine turns on instantly, < 1 second from power button press to display on and responding. It runs Android and can be updated. I've installed Android apps on it including Kodi, which I use every day, even for playback of 4k HVC files. It has GbE plus dual band wifi-AC. The remote isn't cluttered with buttons, it has fewer than my previous 2007-vintage high end LCD. It has a second remote is little more than a touch pad with microphone, so you can ask it to do things ("OK google, watch house of cards", "OK google, find basketball games").
I have no doubt that the smart features will become ever less smart over the years, but when that happens, I simply connect the latest and greatest set top box.
 

Offline Galenbo

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2016, 08:56:21 am »
...Mine turns on instantly, < 1 second from power button press to display on and responding. It runs Android and can be updated...
Make, model, price?
Does it have a button/possibility to immediately see http://admin:admin@192.168.1.301:9001/jpg/image.jpg or  http://192.168.1.301:9001/stream/videostream.mjpg ?

« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 09:02:54 am by Galenbo »
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Offline macboy

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2016, 12:28:06 pm »
...Mine turns on instantly, < 1 second from power button press to display on and responding. It runs Android and can be updated...
Make, model, price?
Does it have a button/possibility to immediately see http://admin:admin@192.168.1.301:9001/jpg/image.jpg or  http://192.168.1.301:9001/stream/videostream.mjpg ?
It's a Sony XBR55-X900C (last year's model). All the Sony smart TVs are Android based and are very similar in smart features. The fancy touchpad remote only comes with the higher end models. It's quite nice though... if you have photos on your phone that you want to show on the TV, you can just tap the phone to that remote and the two pair up with NFC, and you can then share the photos/video from the phone, cast/mirror the phone's screen to the TV, etc.  It actually works.

The "smartest" thing about this smart TV is the use of Android, giving the ability to install and use third party apps. A good example of a must-have app today is Kodi (aka XBMC). I have no doubt that in the future other apps will add much wanted functionality, while "smart" TVs based on a proprietary OS will be left without.

I'm not sure what you are asking in the second question. The remote has a big "Netflix" button, does that count?

Now, the picture quality, hmm... not the best. I think making the panel so thin lead to too many compromises on picture quality. Maybe this year's models are better.
 

Offline madires

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2016, 12:42:22 pm »
BTW, there's ransomware for Smart TVs now. FLocker is an Android lockscreen trojan: http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/flocker-ransomware-crosses-smart-tv/
 

Offline rolycat

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2016, 12:45:58 pm »
BTW, there's ransomware for Smart TVs now. FLocker is an Android lockscreen trojan: http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/flocker-ransomware-crosses-smart-tv/

I guess you haven't read the first message in this thread  :)
 

Offline madires

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2016, 02:39:28 pm »
Yup :)
 

Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2016, 02:55:27 pm »
Don't even bother with actual TVs any more. PC displays do the job really well these days, with out the extra crap I never need nor use. And you are in control.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2016, 04:26:06 pm »
Funny, just bought a 32in LED Tv set to use as a second monitor for watching video more comfortably. Not going to actually connect the antenna input ( not even sure it still works, and not really wanting to see if it does in any case, plus I gave away the sat decoder last year as I had not turned it on in 2 years in any case) and just am going to use the VGA input or even a HDMI input if i need to. Was a cheap one, under $150 from the local Makro on sale ( reduced again in price, they were R3000 earlier the year, then dropped to R2800 and I decided at R2600) and all I wanted is there, display, remote and cheap.

Funny thing it is still in the box, I have a few movies lined up for it though, and might even actually go down the road to Blockbusters and rent some.
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Why Smart TVs Are A Bad Idea
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2016, 01:06:24 pm »
You don't have to avoid smart TVs, just don't use the "smart" features.  I don't like that they're throwing all of that crap into every TV made, but you're under no obligation to use it.  Just don't plug in an ethernet cable, don't set up the wifi, and use the HDMI inputs as you normally would.  It's no worse than any other "dumb" TV.

Except wasted processing power, power consumption, perhaps increased startup times and a user interface full of stuff you don't need and potentially money wasted.

Processing power and power consumption wasted on what?  When there is no network connection and the TV is set to an external input, what do you think the CPU is wasting cycles on?



Potentially just being there is more power than not existing at all, or being replaced by something much simpler. It's more economical having a Yaris/Vitz idling than it is having a V8 Ford Mustang.

The rest of your points I can agree on if the TV is properly designed.
 


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