Friday, June 14, 2024

This is as close as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime soon

In a world dominated by smart TVs, the desire for simplicity and flexibility is on the rise. Enter TCL TV, a brand that may just be offering the closest thing to a “dumb TV” experience we’ll see in a long time. With the option for a “basic TV” setup, users can now connect their favorite external devices, such as Apple TV, Roku or Amazon Fire TV, while leaving behind the built-in operating systems that often come with a slew of features we may not always need. This means that if you’re looking for a straightforward live TV and external device experience, TCL TV has got you covered. Although even in basic mode, there are still a few features and terms and conditions to agree to, it’s refreshing to know that there’s finally a TV brand that understands your desire for simplicity, without compromising on quality. With companies like Roku, Google, Amazon, LG, and Samsung dominating the market with their smart TVs, TCL TV is surely carving out its own niche by offering an option that many of us have been longing for.

This is as close as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime soon

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Growing Demand for Dumb TVs

What are ‘dumb TVs’?

Dumb TVs, also known as non-smart or basic TVs, refer to televisions that do not come with built-in operating systems or internet connectivity. Unlike smart TVs, which offer a range of applications, streaming services, and other online features, dumb TVs provide a more traditional viewing experience without the added complexity of a smart interface. These TVs rely on external devices, such as streaming sticks or set-top boxes, to access online content and services.

Why is there a growing demand?

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for dumb TVs among consumers who prefer simplicity and a more customizable experience. Many users find that the built-in operating systems on smart TVs can be overwhelming and complex to navigate. Dumb TVs offer a streamlined viewing experience, allowing users to focus solely on the content without the distraction of apps and unnecessary features.

Furthermore, privacy and security concerns have also contributed to the increasing demand for dumb TVs. Smart TVs often collect user data and may be susceptible to hacking or unauthorized access. By opting for a dumb TV, users can enjoy a more secure and private viewing experience.

Benefits of using ‘dumb TVs’

There are several benefits to using dumb TVs. Firstly, they provide more freedom and flexibility in terms of device connectivity. Users can choose their preferred external devices, such as Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV, to access their favorite streaming services or broadcast channels. This allows for a more personalized viewing experience tailored to individual preferences.

Secondly, dumb TVs are often more affordable than their smart counterparts. Removing the built-in operating system helps reduce manufacturing costs, resulting in lower-priced television options. This makes dumb TVs a more budget-friendly choice for consumers who do not require the advanced features offered by smart TVs.

Lastly, dumb TVs offer better longevity and future-proofing. As technology evolves and operating systems become outdated, smart TVs may become obsolete or incompatible with new software updates. Dumb TVs, on the other hand, can continue to function without any major software limitations, as they rely on external devices for additional functionality.

TCL TV’s Basic TV Option

Overview of TCL TV

TCL TV is a popular brand known for its high-quality televisions with competitive pricing. They have recognized the growing demand for dumb TVs and have introduced a basic TV option for users who prefer a simpler viewing experience.

What is the basic TV setup?

TCL’s basic TV setup involves removing the built-in operating system typically found in their smart TV models. This means that the television itself does not have any apps, streaming services, or online functionality. Instead, users can connect external devices, such as Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV, via HDMI ports to access their desired content and services.

How does the basic TV option work?

When choosing the basic TV option, users will not have access to the smart features found in TCL’s smart TV models. The television will function as a traditional display, allowing users to watch live TV through an antenna or cable connection. For additional content and services, users can connect their preferred external devices, which will handle all the smart functionalities and streaming capabilities.

Peripherals that can be connected

TCL’s basic TV option enables users to connect a wide range of peripherals to enhance their viewing experience. This includes devices such as:

  • Streaming sticks: Users can connect popular streaming sticks such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or Google Chromecast to access a variety of streaming services.
  • Set-top boxes: Devices like Apple TV or Android TV boxes can be connected to provide access to apps, games, and on-demand content.
  • Gaming consoles: Users who enjoy gaming can easily connect their gaming consoles, such as PlayStation or Xbox, to the TV for an immersive gaming experience.
  • DVD or Blu-ray players: Those who still enjoy physical media can connect their DVD or Blu-ray players to watch movies or TV shows.

By allowing users to connect these peripherals, TCL’s basic TV option provides a versatile and customizable viewing experience tailored to individual preferences.

This is as close as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime soon

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Features and Limitations of Basic Mode

Removal of built-in operating system

One of the key features of TCL’s basic TV option is the removal of the built-in operating system. This means that users will not have access to the apps, streaming services, or other online features typically found in smart TVs. While this may limit the functionality of the TV itself, it allows for a simpler and more streamlined viewing experience.

Restricted features

In basic mode, TCL TVs offer limited features compared to their smart TV counterparts. Users will not have access to app stores, voice assistants, or advanced settings and customization options. However, basic TV mode still provides the essential functionality of live TV and HDMI connectivity for external devices.

Availability of live TV

Despite the removal of the built-in operating system, TCL TVs still offer the ability to watch live TV. Users can connect their cable or antenna to the television and access their favorite broadcast channels without the need for additional devices.

Connection options via HDMI

TCL’s basic TV option relies heavily on HDMI connectivity to provide access to external devices. Users can connect their preferred streaming sticks, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, or DVD players using HDMI cables. This ensures a reliable and high-quality connection, delivering both audio and video signals seamlessly.

Inclusion of TCL TV’s live guide

Even in basic mode, TCL TVs continue to provide their own live guide feature built into the TV’s interface. This allows users to browse and navigate through available channels, providing a convenient way to explore live TV content. Although the TV itself does not have access to streaming services or apps, the live guide serves as a helpful tool for channel surfing and content discovery.

Agreeing to Terms and Conditions

Necessary agreements in basic mode

When using TCL’s basic TV option, users will still encounter terms and conditions that need to be agreed upon. These agreements are typically related to the usage of the TV itself, such as warranties, disclaimers, and limited liability clauses. While the agreements may not be as extensive or complex as those in smart TVs, it is still important for users to review and understand the terms before proceeding.

Understanding the terms and conditions

Before using TCL’s basic TV option, it is essential for users to carefully read and comprehend the terms and conditions provided by the manufacturer. These terms may outline potential limitations, warranty information, or disclaimers regarding the TV’s functionality and usage. By understanding these terms, users can make informed decisions and ensure they are aware of any potential implications or obligations.

Implications for the user

Agreeing to the terms and conditions of TCL’s basic TV option may have implications for the user. These implications can vary depending on the specific terms outlined by TCL. Users should be aware of any potential limitations on warranties, liability, or use of external devices. Understanding these implications can help users navigate the basic TV option effectively and avoid any unexpected challenges or issues.

This is as close as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime soon

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Difficulty Finding TVs Without Built-in Operating Systems

Common manufacturers with built-in operating systems

It can be challenging for consumers to find televisions without built-in operating systems, as most major manufacturers have embraced the smart TV trend. Companies like Roku, Google, Amazon, LG, and Samsung have all integrated their own operating systems into their television models, making it difficult to find a truly “dumb” or non-smart option.

Roku TV

Roku is a popular manufacturer of streaming devices and smart TVs. Roku TVs come with the Roku operating system built-in, providing users with a comprehensive smart TV experience out of the box. While Roku TVs offer an extensive range of streaming services and apps, they may not be ideal for users seeking a more traditional and basic TV setup.

Google TV

Google TV, previously known as Android TV, is another prominent operating system used in smart TVs. Google TV offers access to various apps, streaming services, and Google Assistant voice controls. These TVs are designed to integrate seamlessly with other Google devices and services. While Google TV provides a feature-rich and interconnected experience, it may not meet the requirements of users who prefer a simpler TV setup.

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV is a popular multimedia platform developed by Amazon. Fire TV is integrated into Amazon’s smart TVs, offering users access to a wide range of streaming services, apps, and Alexa voice control. While Amazon Fire TV provides a comprehensive entertainment experience, users looking for a more basic and traditional TV setup may seek alternatives.


LG is a renowned manufacturer known for its high-quality televisions with advanced features. LG’s smart TVs offer their webOS operating system, which provides access to various apps, streaming services, and voice control options. While webOS is lauded for its user-friendly interface, it may not meet the needs of users who prefer a non-smart or basic TV experience.

Samsung TV

Samsung is a leading manufacturer of televisions known for their technological advancements and sleek design. Samsung’s smart TVs utilize the Tizen operating system, offering users access to a wide range of apps and streaming services. Tizen also integrates with other Samsung devices and provides voice control capabilities. However, users seeking a simpler TV experience may find Samsung’s smart TVs to be more feature-rich than necessary.

Alternative Options for Dumb TVs

Considerations for buying non-smart TVs

When purchasing a non-smart or dumb TV, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, ensure that the TV has the necessary input ports, such as HDMI or component inputs, to connect external devices for accessing content. Additionally, consider the screen size, resolution, and other specifications to ensure a satisfactory viewing experience. Lastly, check if the TV comes with a warranty and consider the availability of customer support for peace of mind.

Availability and range of options

While it may be challenging to find non-smart TVs from major manufacturers, there are still alternative options available. Some smaller or lesser-known brands continue to manufacture dumb TVs for consumers who prefer a more traditional viewing experience. These brands often focus on providing affordable and reliable televisions without the added complexity of built-in operating systems.

Recommendations for specific brands

When considering alternative options for dumb TVs, some brands worth exploring include:

  • Vizio: Vizio offers a range of non-smart TVs that prioritize simplicity and affordability. These TVs provide high-quality display capabilities without the need for built-in operating systems.

  • Sceptre: Sceptre is another brand known for its non-smart TV options. They offer budget-friendly televisions with various screen sizes and resolutions, catering to a wide range of preferences.

  • Philips: Philips manufactures non-smart TVs that provide a traditional and straightforward viewing experience. They focus on high-quality display technology while keeping unnecessary smart features to a minimum.

While these brands may not have the same level of recognition as major manufacturers, they offer viable options for those seeking dumb TVs that meet their specific requirements.

This is as close as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime soon

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Future Possibilities for Dumb TVs

Technological advancements

As technology continues to evolve, there may be potential for advancements in dumb TV technology. Manufacturers could develop innovative ways to enhance the user experience while maintaining the simplicity and versatility of dumb TVs. These advancements could include improved connectivity options, refined display technologies, and enhanced compatibility with external devices.

Changing consumer preferences

Consumer preferences and demands play a crucial role in shaping the future of dumb TVs. As more individuals seek a simpler and more customizable TV experience, manufacturers may respond by offering a wider range of dumb TV options. This could include more choices in terms of screen sizes, resolutions, and connectivity capabilities to cater to diverse consumer needs.

Market trends

Market trends also influence the future prospects of dumb TVs. If the demand for dumb TVs continues to grow, manufacturers are likely to invest more resources in research and development to meet consumer expectations. This could result in the introduction of new features and functionalities specifically designed for dumb TVs, further enhancing their appeal in the market.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Smart TV vulnerabilities

Smart TVs, with their built-in operating systems and internet connectivity, may introduce privacy and security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can include data collection practices, potential hacking risks, and unauthorized access to personal information. Built-in operating systems often have access to sensitive data, such as browsing history or viewing habits, which can raise concerns among privacy-conscious individuals.

Risks of using built-in operating systems

Using built-in operating systems on smart TVs exposes users to various risks. These risks can include malware infections, surveillance by manufacturers or third parties, and potential exploitation of security vulnerabilities. As smart TVs become more interconnected with other devices and services, the potential attack surface for hackers and malicious actors also increases.

Mitigation strategies

To mitigate privacy and security concerns, users can adopt a few best practices. Firstly, they can ensure that their smart TVs are regularly updated with the latest firmware to address any known vulnerabilities. Additionally, users should be cautious about granting permissions and sharing personal information with built-in operating systems. Using external devices, such as streaming sticks or set-top boxes, can also provide an extra layer of security by minimizing the exposure of personal data to the TV itself.

This is as close as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime soon

User Experience on Dumb TVs

Simplicity and ease of use

One of the primary advantages of dumb TVs is their simplicity and ease of use. Users who prefer a more traditional TV experience can enjoy a clutter-free interface without the distractions of apps or complex settings. Dumb TVs offer a straightforward and intuitive viewing experience, allowing users to focus solely on the content they want to watch.

Navigating external devices

Dumb TVs rely on external devices for accessing online content and streaming services. While this provides users with the flexibility to choose their preferred device, it introduces the need for familiarizing themselves with multiple interfaces. Users will need to navigate the interface of the external device, such as a streaming stick or set-top box, in addition to the basic TV interface.

Comparisons to smart TVs

When comparing the user experience of dumb TVs to smart TVs, it ultimately boils down to personal preferences. Smart TVs offer a wide range of apps, streaming services, and additional features that can enhance the viewing experience. However, this increased functionality may come at the cost of complexity and potential privacy concerns. Dumb TVs provide a simpler, more traditional experience, allowing users to prioritize ease of use and customization.


In conclusion, the growing demand for dumb TVs is driven by consumers who seek simplicity, customization, and enhanced privacy. TCL TV’s basic TV option offers a solution for those looking to enjoy a more traditional viewing experience while still providing connectivity options for external devices. While major manufacturers predominantly focus on smart TVs with built-in operating systems, there are alternative options available from smaller brands.

The future of dumb TVs holds potential for technological advancements, changing consumer preferences, and market trends. Users should be mindful of the privacy and security concerns associated with smart TVs and consider adopting mitigation strategies. Ultimately, the user experience on dumb TVs offers simplicity, ease of use, and the flexibility to connect external devices, making them a viable choice for individuals seeking a more traditional TV setup.