Smart TV vs. Traditional TV with Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, etc

I have a 55" Sony BRAVIA KDL-55NX720 3D Smart TV. I got it with a deal that included 2 pairs of active 3D glasses, a Sony 3D Smart Blu-ray player, and a 3D Blu-ray movie. I purchase the package for $2100 a few years ago when the TV first came out. I have only used the 3D feature once to watch the Blu-ray that came with the TV and I only used the Blu-ray player an additional 6 times to watch the Star Wars Blu-ray box set. The TV and the Blu-ray player have the exact same Sony themed “Smart” interface. The Blu-ray player is collecting dust somewhere in my house. I still use the TV but almost never use the “Smart” features. The TV has Netflix and Hulu apps but their interfaces don’t match the apps on other devices. Another major issue is some of the features integrated into the TV and remote control have become obsolete in just a few years. One is the integrated OTA electronic programming guide (EPG) provided by Rovi. Sony refused to make a programing change so it’s older TV’s (pre 2013) could continue using the EPG. Google also switched YouTube over to an HTML5 player so now the YouTube app no longer works. Sony has been unresponsive to end-user complaints and has no plans to update these TV’s. I’m assuming that’s because they want people to my a new TV every year.

Has anyone experienced these issues with other brand “Smart” TV’s?

Even though I can afford the latest and greatest technology, I expect that when I buy items like TV’s or automobiles that they last more than a couple years and the promoted features continue to function. Next time I purchase a TV I will pay half the price of a Smart TV for Traditional TV and just add a media-streaming player like Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, etc…

1 Like

I have a Panasonic Plasma TV with smart features as my main TV, but the Roku and FireTv apps are way better than anything it has.

I purchased a 38" tv for my bedroom after I had cut the cord and switched to the Tablo, so I just bought a traditional TV with no apps and a Roku. I just don’t see a need for smart TVs as long as these streaming boxes are around.

If there can be a consistent and uniform OS for these Smart TVs, then a Tablo app may be in order. But right now, there is way too much variation.

I’m with you on that but its hard to find a Good TV without the apps

I have always told people not to invest in smart TVs. The major streaming boxes/sticks are relatively inexpensive and their business is streaming content, so they tend to be top of the line with the best features and the best interfaces. If they become outdated, much cheaper to replace a $40-$100 device than to replace an entire TV. Plus, they have a much larger user base, so developers are much more likely to code their apps to work on those devices. The apps on the major streaming devices get upgrades first, whereas smart devices often don’t get upgrades at all.

Also along similar lines - the standard for OTA is going to change from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0 (although standards won’t be approved until 2017 [in the US] at the earliest, and who knows when that will be implemented). When that happens, keep in mind that the tuners in most TVs will no longer work (at least not without some type of converter). Basically, everything is constantly changing, so when you invest in something expensive like a large screen top of the line TV, it is better to keep the functionality on the TV itself basic and use the money you save to invest in external devices that can be more easily upgraded whenever possible.


I had no idea there was a signifcant standards change in the works…Thanks for posting that info.

Found this article explaining the change:

Good thing for me is I don’t use my TV tuners at all - Tablo and HDHomeRun do all the heavy lifting for me - so it looks like there will be an upgrade to them in my future, but still a long way off.

I wonder if this means we have to buy a new Tablo or are they able to handle it with a Firmware update?

New hardware is most probably going to be required, unless the standard ends up being radically different than what is currently being proposed - but any change is going to be a long way off.
“As this test and other potential ATSC 3.0 candidates have shown, it is completely incompatible with existing ATSC 1.0 receivers. If/when we move into an ATSC 3.0 future, it will have to be with new TVs and outboard tuners.”

I have some high end 2-year old Samsung smart TV with 3D. The “smart” of the smart TV is stupid. I use it for 3 things, and even then it can’t get those things right

  1. Skype with family (built in camera). It worked fine. Then an update broke it for over SIX months. Now it’s working fine again, I stopped updating.
  2. Youtube for the kids. The app sucks. It’s hard to type with the remote (I have the touch remote, but I usually use the universal one).
  3. Streaming movies from my file server. It can’t decode all audio/video formats well.

Sony is not the company it once was, unfortunately. I have a Sony Vaio Tap 11 Windows 8 tablet, that I updated to 8.1 when it first became available. Windows 10 was released at the end of July, and Sony is advising their customers not to update, as drivers won’t be available until in the November time frame. If Sony cared about their customers, they would have been on top of this and had drivers available on or shortly after Windows 10 was released.

On to the TV. It used to be that you could get 15-20 years out of a television set, and one would hope that manufacturers would support their products for more than a few years. The pace of technological development is increasing faster and faster these days, with standards changing so quickly that products become obsolete after a few years. I have a Gen 1 iPad that became virtually obsolete after just a few years… Apple stopped updating the OS and virtually all new apps require the latest OS to run. Worse, many existing apps are no longer supported and have stopped working.

Back to the TV thing. I bought a 55" JVC TV not long ago, which came with a Roku streaming stick… they did a nice job of integrating it in to the set and remote, making use of the MHL HDMI port, and it’s compatible with the Logitech Harmony remote. Nice thing about the Roku is it’s well supported by the company and gets periodic updates, not to mention the widespread support from streaming providers. Nice thing is, if the Roku dies, or no longer suits my needs, I can swap it out for something else. Hard to do that with the “smarts” integrated into the set. Unfortunately, your only option here, since Sony won’t support their product, would be to use a media streamer via one of the TVs HDMI ports, thus extending the usable lifespan of your smart TV. No solution to the EPG except perhaps to use the TitanTV web site on your computer for your program guide.

Thought I would revive this topic. I am a HappyTabloUser who is looking for a new TV. I am looking at many hardware and software aspects but wanted to discuss SmartTVs here. My conclusion is that SmartTVs are not worth it. The most common brands at B******* and W******* are Vizio, LG and Samsung. So, I decided to look at “must have” apps. Everybody does: Netflix, Plex, Pandora, YouTube and Hulu. Vizio doesn’t do Amazon, but the others do. Nobody does Sling or Watch Espn. Only LG does Tablo. The reasons why are irrelevant. It is possible that, one day, apps may be developed, but I think using the STB of your choice is the way to go.

UNRELATED COMMENT: Other things that have burned me on previous purchases :1) no optical audio output 2) No Dolby Digital 3) only 1 HDMI port is HDMI 2.0. SCARY THING I SEE FOR OTA FOLKS: Some TVs are coming out with NO TUNER.

One of the reasons why TV manufacturers are coming out with models without OTA tuners is that current tuners (i.e. ATSC 1.0) may have a limited lifespan. With ATSC 3.0 coming down the road, manufacturers don’t want to include a component that may soon be phased out for a different type of tuner.

I agree with the idea of using an external streaming device rather than having it built in to the set, as you have lots more available in the way of options and upgrade opportunities. One of my neighbors bought a Roku TV, which the salesman convinced them was the best TV available… used to be that when you bought a TV you’d have it for maybe 15-20 years or so, but I can’t imagine the Roku TV lasting anywhere near that long. But then again, what does…

I think it’s more likely saying OTA doesn’t matter anymore. ATSC 3 is years away… I supposed if you plan to keep that Vizio for 6+ years, it might be what your saying, but I doubt it. In fact, I could see the opposite being true… that is, it’s more likely for vedors to “force” a new TV in a shorter period of time. Somwhat like what they did with 4K (though 99% propaganda). So, just my opinion, but Vizio delivering a “TV” without a tuner had nothing to do with ATSC 3.0 and more likely with the idea that set top boxes and streaming don’t need a tuner…

1 Like

At least my post has some facts to it. Your post has only “it’s my opinion.” So what exactly is “your opinion” worth? Do you have inside info from the industry? Better to post when you actually have something insightful and factual to state…

Beside, I thought you were NEVER going to sign the Nuyyvo non-disclosure form? What happened - “your opinion” changed?

Uh… dude… the only “fact” you supplied is that ATSC 3.0 is coming out. So… if I still have your ear, you believe that it’s possible that maybe vendors are releasing “TV”'s without tuners because of that. And… cough… that’s your opinion… believe it or not. I merely offered another opinion on the matter. I think my opinion is equally as valid as yours… yes?

Nuvyyo exposed their API… I didn’t need to sign an NDA.

personally, i think smart tvs are a waste. i think that the tv manufactures would just produce a large screen monitor with all the available connection options of a normal tv but none of the apps. it doesn’t even need an atsc tuner. most people have many external devices to access all the sources of media they want. this would make the monitor less complicated, with fewer avenues of failure, and hopefully less costly to produce.

I think this is also valid, but we need to get better tuner availability in set top boxes. That might be too cost prohibitive for some, especially in a time of transition. So we might see the whole TV built-in tuner thing for a bit. Now if ATSC 3.0 gets killed… things might change (would mean OTA is dying off, which implies Internet for all, which imples gov’t supplied Internet, etc, etc).

I personally would much prefer to have tuner built-in on the TV rather than the set top box, because not only does it offer the convenience, but also makes more economic sense. It’s more likely that we have multiple STBs connection to a TV rather than multiple TVs sharing a single STB. If a tuner was built-in on every STB, then there will be waste of resources as the TV can only use one tuner at any time. However, if the STB also has DVR capability, then it’s a different story :slight_smile:

yes I was thinking of a fuller featured set top box, which is one of the reasons I mentioned being “cost prohibitive” (people might not be ready for an expensive set top box ?). Vizio started this “trend” (if you can call it that) of no tuner…

With that said, what if you had a fairly nice, though bigger than usual, set top box that “did it all”? (gaming, DVR, streaming, transcoding, etc.)