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What is the best dumb TV? (pointerclicker.com)
674 points by evo_9 on Oct 2, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 644 comments

I don't have a TV, only a few monitors (it's very liberating, actually). So instead I'll talk about my microwave. Yes, unironically! :D It has two dials. OMG how do I survive with only two dials? How do I program it? Well, the answer is, unsurprisingly, that I don't program it. Instead I crank it to watever wattage I need (usually the top one), and the time I think it'll take until the food I becomes hot. Aaaand that's it. No programming. No fiddling or mindlessly pushing buttons in the hopes of finding the right one. Only two dials. One for wattage (power output), and the other for time. I think it's really great. There's even some indicators on the Watt-dial for thawing and stuff like that, but I seldom need it, so I usually just keep it rested on 800W. It's the required wattage for most TV dinners anyway. And hot pockets. Don't forget hot pockets guys. How would I survive without...... If you didn't get it, this is actually a post about UIs, and how much I love the book The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman.[1]

[1]: https://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Revised-Expand...

My microwave has a wheel to turn the timer, a wheel to set the WATT, a stop button and a start button. If you press the start button it’ll automatically run for 30 seconds, if you press it again it’ll add another 30 seconds to the current run. It took me maybe 4 years of owning it before I learned of the start button feature. Not sure what the hell people are doing with microwaves that connect to the internet, but I sure as hell like mine simple enough for me to operate it. A general theme with most of my kitchen/home appliances really. If something doesn’t work out of the box, or if it has a gazillion “smart” features, then it’s likely just not for me.

A tad ironic to some people, I know. I work in public sector digitisation after all, we’re working with cutting edge tech every day, to help make the lives of citizens easier. Like how to distribute medicine so people with dementia actually take it. So many people naturally assume I’m a gadget person, and in fact a lot of my colleagues are, but I just don’t get why you’d want your TV to be “smart“.

So I’ll happily enforce your message about simple Designs.

-AOL. I work in automation&controls in the oil industry, and my customers are always puzzled when I start to whittle away at the features suggested, rather than adding to them; my mantra being that 'If it isn't there, it cannot fail.'

My experience echoes yours - I keep my appliances as simple as possible, both at home and professionally.

Add complexity wherever you have to, not wherever you want to.

No code runs faster than no code.

No code has fewer bugs than no code.

No code uses less memory than no code.

No code is easier to understand than no code.

I work in the IT systems integration industry, and I have unironically used the phrase "fewer moving parts" when describing the benefits of my preferred architectures.

This could be interpreted either way in this context.

So, in the context of microwaves, does this mean you prefer software-controlled ovens instead of simpler ones with mechanical timers (which have lots of moving parts), or the reverse?

If no one attempts to remove features, bad features make it into the product, adding complexity and sapping time from good features.

If someone attempts to remove a good feature, someone on the team should be able to successfully argue for it in 3-5 sentences.

I buy smart tvs because they have ads on them, which makes the initial purchase price cheaper. Then I just connect it to my media server and never bother with the smart features.

Exactly. If you don't connect your smart TV to your home Wifi network, it can't connect to anything and exfiltrate your data. I doubt manufacturers are secretly putting LTE modems inside TVs.

This is not true. It connects to open wireless and updates your software and probably ads. There was a post on here a while ago about it which I can't find from a preliminary search.

Is this the post you refer to? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21002745

Yes there is a reply that takes you a reddit comment [1]. However now it appears as though that commenter deleted their account so I don't know the validity.


I want a smart TV so I can access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ etc. right from the TV and don't need a separate device for it.

Many people suggest buying a dumb tv and then an apple tv. The problem is, now I have two devices and instead of trusting [TV manufacturer] I have to trust Apple. I don't see a big gain in it and also don't consider Apple to be especially trustworthy. [TV manufacturer] should just sell me a smart tv without customer hostile "features".

Apple TV doesn't include ads, and doesn't sell your viewing habits to third parties who create profiles of you. [0]

Your TV manufacturer does.


Yet. You forgot "yet".

Apples shareholders will one day be keen to achieve the second trillion dollars on the company's valuation.

I'm not as pessimistic as all that, but I agree that vigilance is necessary. The good thing about going with the external box solution is that as if the company doesn't align with your values on this issue, you can unplug it and install something else. If that something else exists, of course.

With a standalone smart box connected via HDMI if it becomes obsolete, or you want to use different software it’s just that which needs replacing. With a smart TV the entire display has to be replaced, to no real benefit.

Not really. Why not just use the TV until it becomes obsolete then buy a box if you have to?

Often the TV box apps run better, gets obsoleted much more slowly and you can customise it much more easily than your smart TV (e.g. you are out of options if your TV doesn't support some new streaming service).

I have a random, no-name Android TV box and it's one of the best value for money devices I've gotten in years - covers every single streaming service, has IPTV, web browser, and any other conceivable option you'd want in a TV box. You can add a VPN trivially, use it as a music client for LMS....and so on. Plus it doesn't have unblockable ads covering half the screen like recent Samsung TVs.

> [TV manufacturer] should just sell me a smart tv without customer hostile "features".

Unfortunately there are basically zero TV manufacturers who will do this.

I think it would be extremely interesting if the thing that got tech nerds to get on board, politically, with the notion that a single company doesn't have to have a monopoly for consumers to be hurt by "market standards" was, uh, smart TVs with too many ads.

High end Sony sets seem to be pretty customer friendly

Commercial displays have no ads, but also typically ship with minimal software and fewer inputs.

>[TV manufacturer] should just sell me a smart tv without customer hostile "features".

The price will be much higher then. Right now, you're sold the tv at a discount (at a loss, I'm pretty sure) because the manufacturer will make money off you down the road by stealing and selling your data to advertisers. It's kind of like with social media (though to a lesser degree) - don't make the mistake of thinking of yourself exclusively as a customer. You're a product, too. Their advertising partners are the true customers.

I somehow doubt that argument. My 65" smart TV cost about $2000. My advertisement worth as a user is how much? Maybe about $30 per year like a Facebook user [1] (which I would think is to high for Samsungs model)? That's $150 to $300 over the lifespan of the device. I don't consider these extra 15% sooo much higher. It's within the range of regular retail discounts.

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/234056/facebooks-average...

Tech can often make complex processes simpler but it can also make simple things complicated by adding too many unnecessary bells and whistles. That's how I feel about a lot of the IOT products coming out today.

End the torture: What's the make/model of the microwave?

I bought a Breville with jogger knobs for power and time, just because I liked the UI. Most importantly they can be changed even while cooking.

I think this is the current revision: https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/microwaves/bmo850.ht...

It does have all the feature buttons, which are just inside the door, although I admit I have never used them.

Alternatively buy a really cheap microwave that just has two physical knobs.

A simpler UI is Sharp R21LCFS. Link elsewhere in thread.

I don't own a microwave, but find routers to be one of the most frustrating machines to deal with. All communication is done via different lights either on/off or blinking, and none of it makes any sense. How much is a freaking display these days?

I never look at my router’s lights. I use or whatever to do stuff in the browser.

(There is actually an option on mine that lets me turn off all the lights. (Except the power on light, dang it!))

There are only two lights that matter to me: power and WAN. They let me see if there are problems that I can't do anything about through the browser UI. If there's no power, then obviously its a hardware problem and if there's no WAN then its an upstream problem that I cannot fix myself. All other lights are meaningless to me and I use the browser UI instead, like you.

It's useful to quickly check whether the connection is 100BASE-TX or 1000BASE-T.

I've just bought new xerox printer with wifi feature. No display, just couple of leds and buttons. After half an hour and numerous google searches I was able to use it over wifi, but only 2.4GHz. Spent another hour trying to set it up with 5GHz. Now it is connected via USB only and I am happy.

I have a router with a lcd display... I never use it (the display), because well.. it's a router, and it's hidden (literally) behind a couch.

A couple years ago, I discovered the joy of microwaving at low to mid power. The results are far better for foods that have already been cooked, at the cost of mildly longer cook time. The only thing I nuke at full power is liquid.

You and me both. I was fed up of following the cooking instructions only to have some things explode. I was particularly tired of cleaning up porridge which will quickly turn concrete-like. Instead, drop it down to medium, add on a minute or two and it's perfect.

Why is it that all microwave cooking instructions say to use high power. I recently bought a soup that included the cook time for a 1000W microwave, I can't imagine that ending well.

A microwave only work with an on/off cycle. It runs on MAX for x seconds and off for y seconds. If you want 50% effect, it runs 5 seconds, then wait 5 seconds. Cooking it on low is just letting the food distribute the heat naturally for a while, instead of building up an energy bubble that will expload in steam. So low effect is good. It's still max effect but on half the time.

When cooking oatmeal porridge I usually do one cup oatmeal and 2 cups and a little more of water. In deep plate, full effect in microwave for 2 minutes but I watch it the whole time. When it starts building a volcano I let it go on until the edges of the volcano goes to the edge of the plate. THen everything is nicely cooked and I stuff my butter and a bit of salt in there and stir it until it's the thickness I want. Add milk to stop the thickeninig and eat. Maybe with some applejam on top. Oh, and make sure the oatmeal is not the generic type, it tastes nothing. There are really nice types around that makes oatmeal really great.

Of course there is a slowcook method too but I haven't tried that yet. Let the oatmeal just stand in cold water over the night, no cooking included.

Cheap ones, anyway. Expensive models sometimes have an inverter.

Several years back (and things may have changed) Panasonic had a patent on the inverter and was the only microwave that offered it. I purchased a Panasonic for that reason and love it.

This from their website: The Panasonic Microwave Ovens powered with patented Inverter Technology™ deliver evenly cooked meals, from edges to center, every time.

I had the same microwave and I loved it. Unfortunately it caught on fire, and according to Amazon reviews we weren’t the only ones. Luckily my wife was in the kitchen when it happened.

I’m sure whatever model they’re selling now is different, so I’m not trying to scare people off. The point is I now have a microwave without an inverter and I hate it. It might end up going to my photography studio and I’ll get a new one for the home.

My experience with a Panasonic inverter & grill oven was that it didn't make the food hot, even if you gave it double the time. That defeated the point for me.

I ended up using a cheapo 600W microwave that cost 1/4 of the expensive Panasonic but would actually make food hot.

I've also had other experiences of bad usability in Panasonic products. Pointless extra button presses to to tell it you actually want to _microwave_ at _full power_. Who knew you would actually want to use your microwave for microwaving? /s Just let me press the time & start, already.

I now have a Samsung with convenient controls and a cheerful tune.

Thanks. I've googled around for microwaves that heat evenly, but the term "inverter" never showed up. Glad to know this exists.

My Panasonic bit the dust after about five years of use with a light show. I believe the magnetron shorted and burnt out the power supply. As I was microwaving water for tea, there was a bright white light on the inside of the microwave. Family also described a similar failure around the same time frame of ownership.

I enjoyed that microwave before that happened and was thoroughly impressed with the ice cream soften setting.

My partner enjoys what we call "overnight oats" but it's not for me, I like the warm wake-up. I'm half milk, half water, 4 mins at 60% and then I don't have to stand there watching it. Fruit on top as a treat otherwise it's plain all the way! But there can be a big difference in the oats you use, totally agree.

Overnight, then heat (saucepan/stovetop, or microwave) in the morning.

Cooking need only be long enough to heat the oatmeal, not to absorb liquids. This is especially useful for steel-cut oats.

My oatmeal technique is to boil water (in an electric kettle), pour that over the oats in a bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes. This works with both regular rolled oats and quick oats (thinly rolled), but it takes longer with regular oats. I'm making hot water anyways for a beverage, so it's already available. After a few minutes, I just add milk, cinnamon, and sugar.

>A microwave only work with an on/off cycle.

That may be changing soon because of solid state microwave/rf-heating:

Solid State Cooking Oven Uses RF Energy, 1m31s

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6Xg1UAwutc

Goji Food Solutions Solid State RF Cooking Demonstration, 2m35s

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg-UtHjkkfM

[3] https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a...

[4] https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/design/the-future-of-...

[5] https://appliancebuyersguide.com/mieles-dialog-oven-brings-r...

[6] https://thespoon.tech/miele-introduces-the-dialog-a-high-end...

[7] https://www.infineon.com/cms/en/applications/consumer/home-a...

[8] https://www.digikey.com/en/product-highlight/i/infineon/micr...

[9] http://www.gojifoodsolutions.com/

tl;dr essentially a beamforming solid state microwave phased array

edit: removed one double link

I do the same. For frozen foods I sometimes still use high power for a 30-90 seconds just to speed up the thawing process, but then cut it back to 40-50% for the remainder of the cook time. Things come out much more evenly heated, so you don't have a sauce that's lava hot while there are still cold spots inside.

We're going off topic now, but why do all microwaves have knobs now? I hate them. I want a number pad like the microwaves had when I was growing up. I want to close the door, press the numbers that indicate the amount of time I want and hit "start". When you turn a knob, either you have no indication of the exact time, or there's a display that moves in increments that the computer thinks are good (usually 10s). I don't want to scroll to the time I think is good, and I don't want to fight the thing trying to get smaller increments, which I need for doing more sensitive foods (microwave cake, for example). The knobs can also be difficult for people with certain disabilities.

While I'm griping already, a lot of people hate the button interfaces some (rare) microwaves have because they use capacitive touch buttons with no haptic feedback, and careful aim is required to press the correct button. I wish manufacturers would make microwaves with button blister keypads instead. For blind users, blister buttons can also have raised braile indicators, or users can buy "bump dots" to make the buttons easier to find and actuate.

What do blind users do with a microwave that has knobs? If the knobs click and they use the microwave regularly, I guess they could memorize the number of clicks to turn them. If they're ultra-smooth digital no-click knobs, then they have to memorize quarter-turns and turning speed, etc. Sounds awful! Or perhaps I am mistaken and there is actually a microwave with both knobs and voice guidance (though if I were blind I think slow voice guidance would drive me nuts).

[Edit]: formatting

Found the millennial? The knob design is the much older one as it's purely analog.

I don't have a microwave anymore for almost a decade now, but even before I used it occasionally only, mostly for heating up food from the day before, nothing where I'd need sub-millisecond accuracy. Also in general food tastes different/weird if you blast it at full power, so going for lower wattage and longer cooking times would reduce the need for super accurate timing controls. Unless you grew up on microwaved food exclusively, then I guess food prepared on a stove tastes weird. :-)

> Found the millennial? The knob design is the much older one as it's purely analog.

Modern microwave knobs are not properly analog. They are so infuriating - an analog control fiddling with a discrete setting. As you turn the knob, it will occasionally (with no haptic feedback) tick over to the next discrete value.

It can be done well. I've used one (I forget the brand - possibly Electrolux) with a wheel that does have haptic feedback on every tick and is actually very nice to use. As the absolute value increases, the increment for every tick also increases in a way that feels natural to me, so you don't have to turn it as much as you would an analog wheel for the same precision .

but much better than the old analog knob. For less than a minute you couldnt even turn it (usually jumped back to the bell or was anything from 20s to 1min)

This. Since becoming a father I realised how annoying our analogue microwave knob is when you just need to blast something for 20 second while dealing with a screaming child. Either it's too short and you get 2 second, or it's too long and you get 60, now you need to do your best to cool the thing down quickly

In the time before baby, the analogue microwave was refreshing, now it's a nuisance.

It's also a fire danger because the mechanical time wheels can lose spring tension / get gunked up just enough to stick right before they reach the end, leaving the microwave on until you notice.

It wasn't a huge deal when it happened to me because I wasn't very distracted and I was making tea so it just sat there and boiled for a couple of minutes until I checked in. Under slightly different circumstances it could have been much worse.

>This. Since becoming a father I realised how annoying our analogue microwave knob is when you just need to blast something for 20 second while dealing with a screaming child. Either it's too short and you get 2 second, or it's too long and you get 60, now you need to do your best to cool the thing down quickly

Not sure about your microwave, but mine (ca. 1996 Panasonic) has an analog knob (actually, that's the only control) for time.

If I need less than a minute, I turn the knob past 1 minute, then turn it back where I want it. That pretty much always works for me.

Perhaps it might for you too.

The microwave I grew up with (70s/80s) had a log-ish scale. The first quarter turn was 0-60s, the second quarter turn got you to 5 mins, etc. I don't remember the exact gradations but I remember it was very easy to get almost any time you wanted.

I have hated every microwave since.

I am curious how they did this. Was it purely mechanical?

It was purely mechanical. Somehow I managed to find the model:


A closeup picture of the dial:


The log-factor wasn't as severe as I had remembered, but the 0-1m angle is about the same as the 20-25m angle. It was still pretty easy to get 15s, 30s, etc. I'm sure you could do a lot better with modern digital electronics.

Sorry this is a bit nitpicky but since this is HN ... is it strictly correct to call this knob “analogue”? The old fashioned ones were clockwork and the newer ones are some kind of digital rotary controller ... I guess if we’re describing the experience rather than the mechanism maybe just good old “knob” suffice!

Ye a mechanical timer is digital in its output, right? The analogue dailer could maybe be the power, but it was most likely discrete too.

Sounds like a UX fail to not use an encoder with detents.

Oh, they use encoders with detents, they just can't be bothered to make their software "fast" enough to reliably count every detent even though each detent tick lasts for millions of clock cycles.

I believe you're both talking about two separate designs - I'm sure one might have influenced the other but they're certainly not the same.

The analog knob you're referring to, I think, is the _very_ old design that functioned more like an egg timer. It was spring loaded and simply turned on the microwave circuit and broke it when the timer mechanically reached resting position.

The new knob is digital, and you use it to navigate a digial menu and to increase/decrease the timer prior to pressing it inward to start the process. Completely novel input mechanism.

I'm 52 and have used microwave ovens since my parents bought one in 1981. It had a touchpad and every microwave I have ever used since then has had a touchpad. My experience is that except for the extremely low end of the countertop microwave market it was rare to see a microwave with knob controls until the last 10 years.

I grew up with touchpad microwaves and I assumed that most models still used that interface. I live in Germany now, and when I search through the models on Amazon US, UK and DE I was only able to find one touchpad microwave that I could get here, and unfortunately it was capacitive :( I was pretty surprised at this change. I wonder what drives microwave UI patterns over time.

All my micro waves have been nob controlled except one but that one broke down after a few weeks so that one does't count. The rest was two analog and three digital nobs. All the digital nobs broke down after 1-2 years but the analog nobs still work after 20+ years. And you can still buy new ananlog nob microwave ovens in the store but they aren't as good any more.

Maybe it is regional but in the US microwaves have been mostly touchpad since at least the late 70s.

> Found the millennial?

Given that millennial seems to refer to anyone born between mid 70's and late 90's, that could basically be any type of microwave design that ever existed.

I think you’re right ... he’s thinking of the one that comes after. I think we’re settling on your definition but there’s still sufficient confusion. It’s only in the last 5 years I think we’ve become settled with gen x.

Early 80's, not mid 70's.

If you cut at mid 70's you'd basically be erasing Gen X, but just because it's popular to talk about "boomer" vs. "millennial" doesn't mean they're adjacent!

I guess you haven’t seen the new digital knobs, worst of both worlds.

Same here. I want my button-blister microwaves back.

Knobs are low-accuracy, low-precision. Which may be fine for some cooking, but not all. On my current knob-equipped microwave, my precision is limited to +/- 30 seconds simply due to the mechanical design, which means a) it's hard to heat anything up "just a little", as sub-minute heating is hit-and-miss, and b) it's hard to do food sensitive to cooking time.

Button blisters with a digital clock telling time to the second. That's an interface I can trust because I can see the time counting down in the correct pace (I have trust issues with all kinds of analog knob timers, including Pomodoro timers). That's an interface I've learned to use without looking, one hand keying in the correct time and power setting, the other hand operating food, <Start> getting pressed as soon as the tray door close.

I still remember my most common sequence from childhood. <Cook Time> <Power Level> <Power Level> <1> <4> <0> <Start>. Could do that blind even today.

Knobs are good for things that you need to scroll around a lot (and knobs in professional devices excel at jumping precision levels to allow an excellent experience here). Setting time and power on a microwave is not like that. You have exact values in mind, and need a way to input them precisely.

Having an input level precise to 1 second is useful if you're using it day-in, day out. As a kid, I was mostly doing the same few meals in the microwave, so I had perfect timing nailed with experience. For instance, a DIY zapiekanka[0] made of bread, cheese and some flavoring, would come out perfect at Full power, 1:40 time. Add 20 seconds, and you'd burn the cheese. The cheese was the factor that determined microwave settings. If, for some reason, my mom bought a different type than usual, I'd have to correct the time (usually adjust up), but then with experience I quickly developed "cheese tables" in my head. I'd look at a slice, and think, "ok, this is the smelly one, needs +40 seconds to come out well". Etc. Then I'd key in the correct settings, and come back in 2 minutes to the perfectly made zapiekanka.

(I suppose this was my attempt at treating cooking as an industrial process and not black magic :).)


[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapiekanka

[0] Kur..! Now you made me hungry! Need to get some Croques instead, I guess.

My microwave has a knob and a digital display - so turning the knob updates the display. The knob also has "clicks", rather than turning smoothly. I like this interface - it's tactile and usable.

I had a microwave like that as well, and it was absolutely fantastic! One big wheel to set the time, and it was 100% deterministic, so you developed muscle memory for setting it at different times. Loved it, never been able to find one like it since.

I have NEFF microwave that works like this. I agree that it is the best. Still haven’t fully got the muscle memory but ...

Easier to clean than a number pad. I think knobs are great, you can rotate fast with very little effort. I think it should be a standard feature of computer keyboards.

Not true. You can just wipe a blister number pad and you're done. They're designed that way. With knobs, better hope they're detachable.

Agreed that a knob should be a part of a computer keyboard - as a generic analog input device, not a mousewheel equivalent, though.

Far from standard, but it's available, in case you're not aware: https://keeb.io/products/quefrency-rev-2-60-65-split-stagger...

You might as well buy something like the shuttle rather than a small knob stuck between two keys


I love the volume roller on my Logitech G710+. Having a few programable knobs would be interesting to play around with, though I'm not sure what exactly I'd use them for.

I would be happy with a big red rocker switch. It should have labels "ON" and "OFF".

A more daring design uses the door as a switch. Close the door, and the microwave runs. Open the door, and it stops. This is about as simple as it could be. User efficiency is maximized.

I have seen and used a close-door-to-start microwave. It was a regular microwave where the timer knob was broken. Every couple of weeks you would use pliers to turn the remaining spindle of the knob all the way to the right to reset the timer. :)

Our digital knob micro was like that. This gets a problem when the digital knob suddenly malfunctions and starts the microwave in the night, set on 5 minutes and nothing inside it. Could start a nice fire if unlucky. It only happened during daytime when we noticed it luckily.

Where are you shopping? Only 5 of the first 50 microwaves that I just saw on Amazon have knobs.

Now that you mention it, I guess what I really am is a grumbling ex-pat.

I often find things I want on amazon.com and then change the URL to .de or .co.uk, or I find items that are available for shipping to Germany (for a decent price), I assume because they actually ship from China or are already distributed in Amazon warehouses. I guess in the case of microwaves the power input is different, so the models are different by area, and this part of Europe seems to prefer knobs.

I will say, though, I don't see any there with blister buttons; they all appear to be capactive.

I've never got the meme about numpads on microwaves being needlessly complicated design. On about any decent microwave made in the last 10 year, pushing 1-6 gives a cook time of 1-6 minutes, respectively. Pushing start again after cooking has started will add 30 seconds. For longer cook times, press "time cook." Maybe this sounds a bit complicated, but it's efficient and all written down on the keypad. Mechanical timers really don't work well for less than 5 minutes. Good microwaves with a dial use a rotary encoder and increase time logarithmically. It sure looks elegant on the builtin over your stove, but log scaling really isn't intuitive outside volume controls, and probably more fiddly than buttons.

If there is a gripe to be had about microwave numpads, it's the useless popcorn setting. The microwave popcorn bag tells you not to use the popcorn setting. It's like something out of bad standup. /rant

It's a textbook example on design and UIs, spread by professionals and teachers. Do you just dismiss it as a meme because you don't get it?

From your own post, it's more complicated already. With wheel/knob, you have an interface for time and another for power. A little twist means a short value, a long twist means a high value. If you know what you want to do, you already know how to use this microwaves.

I think the problem is it's slightly harder to use, eg you need to understand that more food needs more time to heat, that different cooking needs different power, etc. But you learn as you go.

I think the equivalent for a car would be to have a buttons for 'fast', 'medium', 'slow', 'bumpy terrain', 'road','long trip', 'short trip'. How crazy would that be?

> I think the equivalent for a car would be to have a buttons for 'fast', 'medium', 'slow', 'bumpy terrain', 'road','long trip', 'short trip'. How crazy would that be?

Plenty of upmarket cars have these types of settings, and are routinely praised for it.

There are nonlinear dials with larger, clearly-marked steps for short periods (often only a few seconds), then larger steps.

See: e.g. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61-ZBoSyt0L... https://media.primasupply.com/25104-38090/cms/38090/files/8c...

DDG image search: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=micrave+dial+timer&iax=images&ia=i...

“I don't have a TV, only a few monitors.”

I also highly recommend this. It’s been 18 years since I’ve lived in a house with a tv. It’s still weird to me that people design their living rooms around sitting facing a screen rather than other humans.

>It’s still weird to me that people design their living rooms around sitting facing a screen rather than other humans.

I spent the vast majority of my time facing a screen rather than other humans.

A friend of mine's father is an architect. He designed his living room spesifically for having guests. So instead of the living room being in front of a telly, there are two big sofas facing each other accross a lounge table. Behind the seating arrangement is a Bang & Olufsen stereo with a turntable and a shelf containing records. But that's not all. To top it off, the ceiling skews down towards elongated windows placed so that you only get a good view of the sound they're facing by sitting down. This arrangement gives guests a great view, great music, and great company. They also have a TV room, but it's tucked away in a much smaller, purpose built room, so that the guests get the full attention when they visit, and not the TV.

Practically anyone with a large enough house ends up with a sitting room and a TV room seperate to their living room.

Its just the majority cannot afford said house, so the TV room joins the sitting room in the multi-function space that is the living room.

Might just be my experience but the sitting room usually never gets used / is too cold and eventually gets converted in to a storage room.

This is an interesting observation. In many respects the TV has taken position that the fireplace used to have. What we're missing is thus those deep and cozy fireplace conversations. I also like the idea of nooks and crannies. Perhaps it's an idea to design future houses like that of native villages?

I think the meaning of the space in the house mentioned, wasn't just socializing, but also relaxing to music, and observing the sound (the water body) flowing by outside. Othwerwise the house isn't much bigger or smaller than other Norwegian 80's houses, only the layout is different and more inspired.

Walking around in Oslo, or any city, for that matter, there are many examples of various forms of architecture, and the difference between inspired and uninspired or cheap is striking. For instance, I have a rather ambivalent relationship to the institutional brick architecture springing out of 30's Funkis (Functionalism), that really reached its peak in the 70's and 80's evolving into Modernist structures. The uninspired or brutalist versions of it, are ghastly and cheap shells, while the inspired versions, such as Institute for Social Research in Munthes street in Oslo, gives off a feeling of welcoming peace and warmth.

I have often wondered about those spaces in hotels or office lobbies, where a divan or lounge chairs are set out, but serve no purpose, because no one in their right mind would ever consider sitting there.

My mom did this, too. The sofas facing. It’s horrific. Absolutely horrible. Even GUESTS hate facing each other, like on the subway. Lots of little nooks and crannies for subgroups to congregate.

Yeah my living room is a couch and a lot of seating around a large coffee table I built, with my turntable and records integrated in that arrangement. Then right off to the side are floor to ceiling bookshelves for our (growing) library that I built.

But it’s not like we have a lot space in our tiny brooklyn apartment, we just set it up for hosting and talking with people. It’s great when there isn’t a pandemic happening.

Same, but I think that's an argument for making your social space the opposite

Why? It's not like I'm going to have any more guests over.

Watching live sports on 75inch TV is an amazing experience. Especially if it is broadcast in 4k

For sure, that’s important to some people, but I’ll just walk over to a local bar if there really is a game I want to catch (like the World Cup).

What’s the difference between a TV and a monitor anyway? My TV is only used for Netflix and videogames. Just like I’d do with a monitor.

In France the difference is that you pay a broadcast tax every year for owning a TV. Even if the tuner is unplugged. Even if the TV is covered with dust in a basement. Even if you rip the tuner apart and use it as a screen only (this specific case has been lawyered to death right up to the last court of Cassation).

Because computers and smartphones, the law has since been extended to also include the case where you own no TV but either a PCI or USB tuner, or any internet access that includes TV streaming (e.g those that come with a set-top box, or those extra options on mobile plans).

Sweden used to have it like this. You had to pay a license for owning a TV receiver. But then the public broadcaster also started offering streaming over the internet. Then they declared "also a computer is a TV receiver" and required everyone with a computer to pay TV license. If you refused, you were taken to court. The court agreed with the broadcaster. Only in the highest court was it thrown out. Had it not, there would have been an explicit tax on owning a computer in Sweden.

This was a despicable period and since then the law has changed. Now there is no license fee on owning a TV receiver. Instead everyone pays a tax whether they own a TV, a computer, whatever and no matter if they watch TV or not.

There's something odd about the logic here.

"Once upon a time, the government tried to impose a tax you had to pay if you had a TV or a computer, which was bad because even people who never watched TV would have had to pay it. But it's better now, because instead there's a tax that literally everyone pays, even if they don't watch TV and even if they don't have a computer."

I'm struggling to see what principles would make the first situation bad without also making the second one bad.

The second one is more just in the context of public TV being a public service: society pays as a whole, instead of having some unenforceable, incomplete, broken kludge to make only people that watch it pay, like for a commercial service.

Ideally the individual cost is very low, so it’s not outlandish to have everyone pay, especially as even if you don’t watch it, you benefit from the diffusion of qualitative culture and news in society.

By not making everyone pay, this public service has to compete for attention with commercial ones and risks drifting away in quality.

The counterpoint is that such a state-owned channel could become a propaganda tool.

Because it is less hypocritic and more fair. The license fee was per household, the tax is per person. Many dodged the fee while still having a TV. Cannot do that now

But both are bad, the former more so than the current, at least.

There is still a tax on computers (or rather storage) in Sweden. We pay an extra fee for private copying set on the number of megabytes you can store on harddrives, CD's, DVD's or flash drives. But at least that means it's legal for you to copy your friends DVD's and music collection, no matter what the license says in the box.

Yes, not on computers, but on storage as you say. And it is a one time tax on top of the price, not a recurring yearly tax as the license fee would have been.

Same with Finland. TV licensing fees were replaced with public radio tax.

I like Australia's system better. You pay a very minor tax yearly regardless of tv ownership and it funds a few government run TV channels and radio stations as well as a news site. Despite the current governments best efforts, the ABC is still the only worthwhile news site in the country.

Same in Germany but the tax is a fixed price of EUR 17.50 each month per household and no escape from it except for very few special cases (e.g. university students receiving financial support from the state).

Personally I agree with a mandatory monthly cost but it is way too high, should be in proportion to household income and the people in the upper ranks of the broadcasting companies shouldn't earn absurdly high wages and pensions.

Despite that I like to support proper journalism that is accessible to everyone and content that is often ad-free to watch/listen/read.

It’s 138eu here


The issue for me is mostly that I refuse to pay for the bucketloads of despicably low quality content they put out. A shame, because there’s Arte (TV) and FIP (radio) which have quality stuff, but they only get a fraction of it.

I guess that‘s always the case with the preferred content. I don‘t care about Schlager clap-along shows with enormous budgets but it‘s what a lot of people like. On the other hand most of the people won‘t care about my beloved Arte and late night shows.

The TV tax is a great idea, but it's twice as expensive as netflix. On the bright side, you get decent news channels, and Arte.

I would say the tax makes no sense. It‘s a reminiscence of some times that are long gone. People pay a tax for a bloated system and TV channels that mostly pensioners use. The quality of the programs is very low. Also, few people know that the tax is also paid by companies, based on the number of employees and cars.

My reading of it was that they meant dumb tv. However the general differences between a monitor and a TV as marketed are response time, viewing angle, and viewing distance with tye TV having the larger of all three.

Less weird now with most of my social interactions being via screens.

My microwave has one round dial that turns. That’s it. And zero buttons.

It’s fantastic. Turn the dial, and it starts. The farther around you turn it, the more time you get. The scale is clearly marked around the dial with large readable numbers and gives progressively more coarse as you turn through about 340 degrees or so (less than 360).

To abort and turn it off early, just turn the knob back to the zero. Otherwise it turns itself off at the chosen time.

There’s a digital readout that tells the time remaining. Simplest interface ever and none of those nasty washable flat panel buttons, or any others as I said.

It’s a Sharp brand “Medium Duty Commercial 1000 watt” model. Pretty pricey ($269) but very worth it. At the time, I found it on Amazon but I don’t see it on there now. Model R21LCFS. I see it does come up on duck duck go at some other suppliers like https://www.usaequipmentdirect.com/sharp-commercial-medium-d... (not a typo that the link ends in a dash apparently).

One caveat: it does not have any rotating mechanism inside. This has never been a problem except I do sometimes manually rotate food during a long session. But this is super easy because you don’t have to bend down or punch buttons.

ObTV: don’t have one either. Best TV choice imho.

> Oh, the things it won't do! It won't baste, mist, sense, probe, convect, or take your food for a horsy ride. It doesn't care to know if you're cooking pork or potatoes, or if something's thawed or frozen, solid or liquid, or 1 lb. or 5. It doesn't issue odd advice ("Stand and Cover"! "Pull Apart"!). You can't use it as a nightlight. It won't tell you the time. It won't match your decor. It won't even cook anything for more than 6 minutes at a time. There's nothing to choose, nothing to alter, nothing to select, nothing to enter. All it's got is a big, smooth 1950's style dial that does a backwards countdown, with an accompanying red light marking the time as it goes. A great appliance that hardly does anything at all. Highly recommend.

I see you're in love.

Hmm that’s not me but it sounds about right.

Microwaves have such terrible UIs. I always wanted to make an online Microwave UI simulator where it generates a random Microwave control panel and you have to work out which buttons to press to heat up some soup.

Seriously, once you've used a micdowave where the +30s (or +1m) button is the same as the start button, you'll constantly be wondering who thought it made sense to do it any other way.

OMG I'd love to see that! :D Do one for VHS players too, please!

>I don't have a TV, only a few monitors (it's very liberating, actually). So instead I'll talk about my microwave. Yes, unironically! :D It has two dials.

Same here! I only worry about the day when it stops working, because no UI designer seems to realize that there is nothing better, and new microwaves come with atrocious, laggy, pointless UIs.

Buy a commercial microwave that just has minutes if there's no other option

Here in Ireland and based on my time living and travelling in Germany I'd say in most of Europe, its hard to get a microwave that isn't just wattage and timer.

Here except for a few things like phones and tvs, smart electronics aren't as easily available as my home country, India.

I speculate this is perhaps related to the age of the population.

Why Edge?

Being “critical” about products depends on how educated a population is. I just asked to a bunch of friends (we are having breakfast in Europe) if they know about smart microwaves. They all know they exist, but asked “why on earth would I want that?”. They just want two knobs to set time and power.

The discussion now moved to smart Toasters, where everybody just wants one knob...

In my experience, people here buy stuff either because they need it, or because they find it really cool and just love the technology. I don’t know anybody that finds smart microwaves or their technology cool. Same applies to smart toasters or smart TVs.

Rather, richer markets are pickier.

I'm not too sure about that because if that were true the online shopping experiences in these richer markets in Europe would be better than India which is quite demonstratively not the case. Hence my assertion about correlation with age of the population.

How is online shopping in India better than in Europe?

The UX tends to be more sophisticated. The mobile experience is way better. The payment options are many and well integrated. The choices are better. Search is better. Delivery (time as well as tracking) is better.

Given that I bought that book in 2012 as a result of someone else’s comment here about it, and I’ve seen so many other comments about it here, I’d wager that this site has sold a lot of copies of that book. It is a good read, though. Free marketing for Donald Norman!

Ok, I'll ask. Which Microwave do you have?

I have an old TATUNG I bought off Craigslist for $10, and I'm clinging onto it for my dear life (4 years and 2 interstate moves later).

I don’t know if this is the same one, but a quick Google came up with the Turbo Air Radiance Series TMW-1100NM. Never seen these but I want one, microwave UIs are the worst.

That’s more of a commercial one, a cheaper version (Impecca) came up too but the link was broken.

Just look for the cheap brands. Many of them have really simple interfaces. Mine is also just two knobs.

OMG that one looks like it'd fit right into a Fallout game! How many bottle caps? Here, take them all! Anyway, mine is a Samsung. Affordable too! Edit: Note to self: Stop telling dad jokes on HN.

You realize that microwave is doing ACR on everything you cook, and selling it to your insurance company, right?

(Sorry HN)

TDoET is a classic. If you like digging further into philosophical musings on the subject of design, you might also enjoy What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections On Tochnology by Peter-Paul Verbeek. Here's a review:

[1] https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/what-things-do-philosophical-reflec...

I feel somewhat self-conscious about being old-fashioned but that's exactly the way I liked it. I've also never had or intended to have a "smart TV" or a smart-almost-anything. Just the computers, and the smartphone and I feel like that's already a huge concession... use it in the most untrusted way possible.

> wattage (energy output)

Nope, power output.

Did your distinction really deepen the conversation? Why are people compelled to make corrections like this?

> Did your distinction really deepen the conversation?

Yes. For some people, it might be the most valuable thing they learn from the entire discussion. Imagine having as business discussion and mixing up P&L and a Balance Sheet. If you think it was just a pedantic correction, maybe you should reconsider.

While I'm sure it's usually for some personal emotional reasons, it's still a valuable service. Getting that wrong inhibits your ability to reason about the topic. What's the point of having thoughts that are just a soup of words that sound like they make sense but are actually nonsense?

This is not like correcting grammar where it hardly matters and we have to use some kind of grammar to write. If you didn't know what something meant, you could have just not tried to explain it or not used the word.

Because GGP confused energy with power. It's a common mistake (the fact that the most popular unit of energy in everyday use, in context of electricity, is kilowatt hour, is not helping). But a mistake nonetheless, and one that, uncorrected, will make it hard to think about topics related to energy.

In such cases, a friendly correction is very much the right thing to do.

I found it a useful reminder. The ranking algo made sure it wasn't distracting. And it's a good idea to use the correct term when it's available.

I stand corrected. Thank you!

energy output per unit time

You have an actual variable power microwave? Not a duty cycle power control??

Perhaps I was imprecise. It has a stepped dial, with pre-set wattages. Caveat for not being an electrician. ^^

But the “wattages” just pulse the thing on and off right? I’ve never heard of a home microwave that can apply true variable power. If you have one I’ll buy it.

It's marketed as "Inverter Technology"

Most of the major brands in the US have them, now, and the reliability is improving. As I understand it the drive transistors in early models were prone to failure.

More info available here: https://media3.bosch-home.com/Documents/MCDOC03402966_BOSCH_...

Now I am curious of how most microwaves are modulating power.

Every mw I’ve ever owned or used turns the magnetron on and off. If it’s a 1000W unit and you set it to 300W, it’ll only heat 30% of the time. You can hear it from the noise it makes, it’s slightly louder when the magnetron is on.

Wow. So basic.

That reminds me about dishwashers - you put powder or a tablet in a little hatch and I always wondered what happened behind the hatch, does it inject water, disolve the powder, and then pump it around to the jets?

I recently realised. Nope. It just opens the hatch ten minutes into the cycle and the tablet/powder falls into the machine with a clunk.

And many of the door latches are/were heat sensitive strips of metal. When the temperature of the water inside the machine reaches a certain point, and after a period of heating up the metal door latch, the metal deforms and the door pops open. Then after the wash, everything cools down, and the metal reforms. There is just enough tension on the metal latch to make it latch closed and just enough deflection after heating to make it spring open.

P.S. Pro-life tip: Don't forget to refill your dishwasher drying port today with Jet Dry/Glisten/Whatever brand you like, it'll stop your dishes from coming out spotty and helps with the dry cycle.

I've only used jet dry when I got free samples and never noticed a difference. I never have spotty dishes. Maybe it depends on the water.

I believe it does indeed depend on your water supply. And it doesn't help to use it if you do not use the drying cycle on your dishwasher. And here ends my limited knowledge about this nuanced, and I am sure to some, deeply interesting subject.

Wait, there's a drying port? Is that the place where I put the Rinse Aid liquid?

Mind blown. So obvious, and yet I gad always assumed it was a system like in a washing machine, as you described

Oh god, you are really lucky! I am shopping for a new microwave and here in India all the microwave makers only have the two-knobs (wattage and timer) one on small-size microwaves that can only fit a bowl. All the larger size one's come with lot of stupid buttons (defrost, cook, heat, start, stop etc.) and an LCD display. I just want the two-knobs one on a large microwave but it just isn't available. I now plan to get one from abroad. :(

I find the microwaves with dials just last longer, and they are usually cheaper. In my experience, the touch pads on the digital ones breakdown faster.

When living in japan my apartment came with this microwave that wasn’t smart by any means, but had like 50 buttons and I only ever had to use one of them.

The Start button.

It would start heating and I would guess there was a temperature sensor that would automatically stop the thing once the food was hot. In a case it was not hot enough, you would press the same button again and it would go on again for another 20 sec or so. Brilliant.

My microwave also has those two dials, which I use a lot. Plus a whole array of other buttons and functions I've never used.

I kind of like that my microwave has a button (in addition to a gazillion others that we don’t use), that somehow determines what is inside and how long it will take to heat up. And then automatically sets time and wattage.

No more thinking, just press the button and get hot stuff. It even gets it right some of the time.

Sounds like my 2001 car. If I'm too hot I press a button. If I want to skip track or listen to the radio I press a button. I don't even remember what the buttons look like becuase I know where I need to press my finger to change something.

My microwave has a lot of buttons but I basically use it like you do.

Goes well with a single-button-no-display rice cooker.

makes me think about toasters and how they haven't really evolved because it works fine enough

I dont know what toaster you use, but for me, toasters are exactly a piece of technology that evolved from masterpiece to horrible UX.

Look up Sunbeam Radiant Toaster[0]. Now compare it to any other toaster you can buy today. I wish I could buy one Sunbeam Radiant Toaster, but its kinda pricy importing one from random ebay seller to EU..

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OfxlSG6q5Y

I would reduce it to one dial. Two dials is too much.

Eh, I've had the "one button" UI on a "smart" watch where you're doing a series of single taps, multi-taps, short presses, long presses, etc. It's really not fun for several reasons:

1. It takes forever to do anything even remotely complex.

2. The most common features aren't really the easiest to access (in terms of input effort).

3. If you make even a single mistake in a long series of taps, you have to loop all the way back through the interface. If you let it timeout, this is apparently the equivalent of a "select".

4. There is zero intuition for any this functionality.

I know some people here will not like to here this, but it's how I feel when somebody with an iPad is showing me the difference between a one finger, two finger, three finger and four finger swipe/grip. It's not that they exist and nobody but a power user would access them, for me it's more that I might accidentally trigger one of these functions and have zero idea of cause and effect.

The worst offenders are when the UI changes depending on the context. Like that touch bar Apple had where the buttons and layout would change depending on which application you are in. I understand how it could be cool for a power user, but as a normal user I want some standardization for the location of things between apps.

So much this. I bought an oven. I wanted as few features as possible, ideally just a bake and a grill, then a knob for the amount of heat. I bought one with 2 knobs and that appeared to have very few ‘features’. It turns out it does a ton. You hold both knobs and do various twiddle manoeuvres and things start happening. The light turns on, the clock adjusts, the timer is set, the eco mode is activated or the temperature goes up. It’s awful. Smeg.

The oven in my apartment doesn't even have knobs, but only touch surface controls. It is so annoying as I cannot quickly set it to one of the three programs I normally use, and holding the "up" button for selecting the temperature is also not working well. Especially since the thing gets harder to control the dirtier my fingers are, and that just naturally happens when preparing a meal.

We got a Smeg induction cooktop which is amazing, but it also has touch controls. Water on it, wet fingers or some random factor I don’t understand prevent it working.

Boil water and a drip goes on the special zone and it switches off.

It’s really irritating.

My current oven literally has one knob - temperature. Doesn't even have an indicator for when it's done preheating (but if the gas flame stops, that's a good indicator it is warmed up). Honestly, it kind of annoyed me at first, but I really don't hate it. Biggest change would be a preheat indicator at this point, but even that isn't that big of a deal.

> a "smart" watch where you're doing a series of single taps, multi-taps, short presses, long presses, etc.

It’s almost like having to learn some version of morse code. Yikes! Even amateur radio licensing in many jurisdictions has abolished the morse code proficiency requirement to bring more individuals to the hobby.

I have a microwave with one dial. Best microwave around. Nobody can get confused about how to use it. There's not even a turntable so it holds more food and it's easy to clean. That's the Sharp R21LCF for ya.

Haha. I love how despite being so simple, it still has instructions below the one knob explaining how to use it:

With the door closed, turn the timer to the desired time. Oven will begin operating immediately. To shut oven off manually, return timer to 0.

It's almost as if they have to help people unlearn the crap they're used to with button microwaves wondering "Where's the start button?" and "Where's the cancel button?"

Yeah, I really wish they would sell a version without all the instructions because I think it would look really clean! I've been thinking about just cutting a piece of aluminum to go over the front plate.

I've got a one-dial microwave (the dial is also a button), it's so quick and easy to use.

LG sells them as some of their "Business" tvs, intended e.g. for hotels. In Canada some of them are branded as "Commercial Lite".

Here's an LG 65" 4k HDR dumb TV: https://www.lg.com/ca_en/business/commercial-tv/lg-65UV340H

I have a similar model from a few years ago (purchased from Canada Computers fwiw), and I love it. Because I don't notice it exists. It just does its job, like a TV should.

Along those lines are the commercial display panels intended for digital signage and advertising use. They usually have a very bright picture, are very durable, and have typically been quite expensive but that seems to be changing.

Here are some LG commercial displays ranging from 43" to 86" and priced from $745 to $3,850:


Here is a brief article from 2019 detailing the differences between digital signage/display monitors and home TVs:


It's kind of ironic to be using a device made to display advertising to combat advertising itself.

Digital signage isn’t really about advertising. It might be used to eg show departures at an airport/bus station, or show schedules for different rooms at a conference or fair/exhibition/show. Other common uses are to show a few slides on a loop, eg in a reception area of a school showing the school’s achievements.

The uses you mention are common, but digital signage for advertising is big in retail. It's almost always trying to drive you to purchases.

Some network operators run 3rd party advertising to offset costs of running their network.

Also, if you see a sign at person level in a public space there's a high likelihood it's collecting demographics information on (age, gender, ethnicity - via video image processing) on everyone passing by while also trying to identity the mobile device in your pocket to geotag your advertising identity.

I work in a company that provides general interest "filler" type content for networks to display - news, weather, sports e.g.

Don't those signage panels have godawful refresh rates though, like 10hz? I believe it's part of the reliability tradeoff

They used to but now since video is popular they don’t. But they have poor blacks.

And you can view some outdoors in the sun of high noon

Those are usually eye-wateringly expensive but amazing.

It looks interesting, but the lack of pricing information suggests it to be unreasonably high (plus unnecessary hassle: truly "business").

What did you pay?

Actually, mine was a bit cheaper! It's 55" 4k but no HDR. It was ~$850 CAD. At the time, LG's equivalent (spec-wise, as far as I could tell) "consumer" smart-tv was ~$1000.

The model I linked here, is $1000 CAD on amazon.ca (through 3rd-party sellers), but I don't know how it compares.

Again that's a few years ago so the market may have changed. And annoyingly, LG seems to have different products for Canada vs the US.

There are two reasons for the US/CAN difference.

One is sometimes english/french or english/spanish manuals. These days though, most manuals are on CD, with tiny 20 language install manuals... so that differentiation is gone.

What I find often happening, is that each large store, BestBuy/Walmart/whatever asks for, and receives, unique model numbers so you cannot price match easily.

There are still models which are generic, but those are used by smaller corps, which cannot negotiate en-masse, and therefore are unable to shrug of price-matching.

Stuff like this burns me up. "We price match!", then "Quick Bob, get on the phone to LG! We want unique models for their product line!"

I recently ordered a bunch of LG Commercial TVs for a job, at 55” they came out to about AUD$1600, which I think is pretty reasonable.

As to the hassle, yes you’d probably find it difficult to buy one for personal use. L

The Scepter 50" 4k TVs recommended in the article are $200 at Walmart. The quality probably isn't as good, but at 1/8th the cost that's a hard up-sell.

I have a sceptre. They're really good for the price and super reliable. I won't buy anything else. In fact I might go get a couple spares so I don't have to worry for a while.

I also bought a 65" Sceptre because it's a reasonably priced dumb TV. No issues after a couple years.

I literally cannot tell if you are joking.

Dead serious. I really like mine. Best cheap dumb panel.

Even has an AV in for my playstation 2.

I grabbed the Kogan 55” 4K HDR (lol that feature is badly implemented though) TV for $550, it’s been excellent.

Dumb TV, decent picture, has worked great so far!

Even if you're not getting a dumb one, I think LG has the best "smart" TVs around.

Just don't give them access to the internet and they'll do the job of displaying anything you give them via a HDMI port. Integrates nicely with home automation with an API too.

Oh, and they don't have ads in the menus like Samsung does.

Yup. The LGs are easy to keep dumb enough.

Just need to fiddle in some menus to disable overscan and whatever magic TV filters are trendy.

You can use video game mode to disable additional video processing, which also lag time (incoming data to display in screen).

no power on ad either? i use our smart tv the same way, as a huge computer monitor via hdmi. then i run kodi on a laptop as a media center. works fine, and the only irritation is an annoying ad every time the device gets switched on. fortunately it's just an ad about a tv, and probably because of no internet, it's always the same ad too.

That would infuriate me.

no power on ad either? i use our tv the same way, as a huge computer monitor via hdmi. then i run kodi on a laptop as a media center

LG's TVs are pretty bad as TVs outside of their OLEDs. IPS panels are good for computer monitors where you want color accuracy, fast pixel refresh rates, and good viewing angles, but are terrible for TVs because of their low contrast ratio.

> I love it. Because I don't notice it exists. It just does its job, like a TV should.

Yes. This should be the goal of any good product.

Nowadays, every single time I’ve had to help my wife with the TV (you have to help people with TVs now!) it has been because it is the polar opposite of this.

As a result I’ve setup some macros on my Logitech Smarthub to try to force the TV away from these “smart” aspects, but they still sometimes fail.

Smart TVs are just horrible.

But if you don’t plug them to the internet, can new TVs still be used as dumb TVs or do they annoy you with splash screens and other annoyances?

Main issue with these are the lack of inputs. 2 HDMI ports is not enough for most people. And lack of ARC complicated adding a sound system.

Not for everyone I guess, but I've been very happy with a decently modern receiver (in my case Sony STR-DN1080) taking care of all that and acting as an HDMI "switch". 6 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs and all the other in/outs at least I could possibly want.

"Smart" features are starting to creep into these devices as well, though...

I don't own a TV, so sorry for the question, but why there are more than 2 HDMI ports needed, or even more than 1?

So you can switch between different inputs such as multiple game consoles, DVD-player, Apple-tv/Roku/whatnot, computer/chromecast, etc.

You can get splitters but that's still not as convenient as just being able to switch with the tv's remote.

I love the idea of smart TVs, but every single implementation I've seen in the last few years has been utter garbage. Everything they do is one step forward and like 3-30 steps back.

For example, I recently bought a low-end Samsung TV running Tizen, which meant I could return my set-top-box (ISP has a Tizen app), get rid of my barely-functioning miracast stick, bluetooth transmitter (native features) and media PC (apps for YouTube, Netflix and Spotify).

But then, the thing has so many dumb design choices that it constantly makes me want to go back my horrible old setup. - Turning on the sleep timer takes 21 clicks and avg. 47 seconds if you know exactly how to do it (instead of having it in the quick menu). - I have to manually switch between the speakers and my surround system, which takes 6 or so clicks and 30 seconds (instead of just always outputting to toslink). - The TV can only boot to an input, not an app, so I have to manually open the TV app every time I turn it on. - Even though the remote has like a billion buttons, only 30% of them actually do things in any given context. - WHYYY is there a dedicated RokutenTV button on the remote that I can't remap?? - I can't use my phone to type text into text inputs (LGs can do this, badly) and why does it make me use arrow keys on an on-screen keyboard when I have a full number pad on the remote to do multi-tap/T9??

It looks like the entire industry seems to be entirely incompetent at creating software and is too stubborn to admit it and give us the tools to fix it for them.

My parents have a high end Samsung tv from about 5 years ago and somehow the thing has slowed down to unbearable levels. Just changing the volume and channel is difficult. A factory reset didn't fix it so I suspect the issue is software updates.

They're gonna make tvs like phones have become. I shouldn't have needed to upgrade my phone this year; the phone I'd bought in 2015 was still plenty powerful for what I used it for. But if I wanted security updates I had to upgrade to a newer android version, and as soon as I did that the phone became noticeably slower and battery life was cut in half. The android platform is fragmented across so many devices that no company is going to put in the effort to keep all of their devices updated and functioning well.

I'm pretty happy with my cheapo TCL tv with Roku built in. I think offloading the interface, at least to some degree, to Roku was a good choice. It's not the prettiest nor the most flexible, but it gets the job done better than all previous solutions I've had.

Yes, it has the permanent buttons for Netflix, Sling, and I think two others I can't recall off the top of my head. I don't really care.

I haven't tried it in a while, but the companion phone app that you can use as a remote was so flaky I quit using it all together. The remote works fine for everything except typing.

Honestly I have the opposite feedback for a Samsung TV. It’s a really nice aluminium remote, there are less than 8 buttons total, and yet I can use TV, Netflix and YouTube perfectly. My only gripe is that I can’t VPN with it to get US Netflix. Oh and the ads on the menu :(

Must be a higher-end thing, for whatever reason. Mine is literally the cheapest 43-inch 4K "HDR" model they sell (for a bit under 300€).

I got a plastic remote with a fair amount of buttons that are much closer to standard a dumb TV remote (and rather suspiciously similar to LG's...). I also haven't found any ads in any menu, despite being connected to the Interned and logged into a Samsung account (by necessity).

Necessity? Why is that?

I use IPTV and my provider's client app is in the Samsung app store, which requires an account to download things from. The Spotify app was also not pre-installed, so I needed the store for that too.

Can't you do this via your router?

Haha I'm jealous. My tv can only boot to an app and not an input, but the operating system it came with is SO SLOW, that I have to use some kind of casting device.

I know why it's slow, how this happens:

"How much RAM should we put in the TV boss?"

"Well, what is the requirement?"

"Right now, 1.5 GB."

"Then put in 1.5 GB exactly!"

"But we might need more after the next update!"

"You need 1.5 GB, not one megabyte more, that's the requirement, so that's what you're putting in. End of discussion."

... six months later...

"The next upgrade to the TV OS will need 2 GB of memory boss!"

"Who cares? Just let it use the swap volume, the slowdown will encourage people to buy the next TV generation."

That's probably right, but you need to replace 1.5 Gb with 128 Mb :)

OSS smart TV

My advice is to stop seeing a “smart tv” as a feature and see it as an expensive piece of equipment subsidised by extra advertising revenue. Don’t get upset about this, just understand it for what it is. Now, what can you do about it? Easy, don’t connect it to the internet. They will tell you that it needs updates but come on, what is a security vulnerability going to to to something that’s only output is a screen and audio? So there is your answer. Don’t use the smart features, plug in something you trust like a raspberry pi and use the expensive part of the product (the screen itself) without incurring the cost (the advertising they were using to subsidise the screen)

no no no. this is bad advice.

1) "Some Samsung TVs already try and connect to open WiFi networks if you don't connect them yourself."


2) there is ethernet over hdmi - I would image this is another source of inadvertent connection.

3) samsung tvs require an ethernet cable to "update firmware" so HDMI works.

4) ACR - which will look at ALL the inputs.

and wait for the next few iterations

- smart devices talk to each other and exfiltrate data

- smart device manufacturers collaborate with ISPs who have put wifi gateways in your house and your neighbor's house.

Samsung TVs are an extreme example though. They’re the most obnoxious and the most disrespectful of your privacy by implementing all these dark patterns. Not to mention their QLED bullshit, it’s just LED but it’s meant to make you think it’s OLED and pay extra.

I despise Samsung and their junk.

QLED coating is not bullshit, I had a PC monitor with it and it won against any other VA panel I compare it with. Now, the name is a but unfortunate, but the tech is there

I think the confusion comes from the impression that quantum dots can be individually controlled like pixels in OLED/plasma. But quantum dots are are actually a "dumb" film which converts blue backlight into a RGB components similarly to how phosphor works in LED light bulbs. Of course QD can improve color gamut and brightness but it is still just an improved LED panel. The name QLED tries to confuse people into thinking that it is somehow similar to OLED but they are completely different technology.

It's sad because I have multiple (ageing) Samsung appliances (amongst them a dumb TV) and they're all great so Samsung would have naturally be a contender for my next TV.

Old Samsung HDTVs were awesome, but that's changed in the last few years. They added features like in-menu ads to the low end models that seem to be trickling up their top end as well.

I also have a buggy 1.5 year old Samsung stove that has to be reset when I lean a pot lid against the back It causes the touch panel to trigger a random button and lock up.

If all you’ve read in this thread doesn’t put you off Samsung... then nothing will.

Brand loyalty is in fact a thing.

Well, you do you.

I have had to service/replace parts of my Samsung dryer 4 times in 3 years, have never read any other positive notes about them. Their appliance quality has went downhill and I am never buying Samsung appliances again.

How can you even think to not buy an OLED instead of their scammy QLED full of advertisements is beyond my comprehension...

QLED refers to the quantum dot film and is part of the process by which the device generates rich colors. It's not OLED and any person who can't read the difference between Q and O probably shouldn't be pretending to choose a TV based on its technology.

> It's not OLED and any person who can't read the difference between Q and O probably shouldn't be pretending to choose a TV based on its technology.

I suppose, but it's still misleading to be calling it "LED" in the first place when that's just the backlight.

I prefer QLED anyways, even the best OLEDs still have issues with burn in these days.

There are ways to reduce burn-in, some TVs even have this functionality built-in. But it is enough to simply don't display the same patterns on the same place for long periods (I mean days). As long as you are mostly watching movies and zooming to avoid black stripes or replacing black stripes with gray stripes, you are fine...

My TV is an LG plasma unit from 2010. This tech was also was supposed to suffer from burn in problems. And in fact, just recently I noticed that the Ubuntu screen that manage this TV's content with was starting to burn in where the Icon array is along the top. So, what I should have done in the first place, I did now, which is make that icon automatically hide when the mouse isn't near. And now, about three months later, that burn in image is now imperceptible. The screen's colors are still as fabulous as they were in 2010 but the 720p aspect is starting to feel like a hinderance but one of the best buys I've ever made.

I have a 65 inch samsung tv that kept popping up on my network. I put it on an isolated wifi network once to get the firmware updates. After I did that I turned it back off.

But it keeps trying to come back for just a moment every couple of days. I had to ban its mac address since there was no way to get it to stop in the settings or after factory resets.

Forcibly banning the MAC address of a TV on your own home network, that you've paid money for, really does sum up the state of consumer electronics atm.

It's crazy how user hostile TV manufacturers have become.

Profiteering using the personal information of consumers.

It is maddening how incompatible with Democracy the commercial surveillance system has become.

Just wait till you’ve been to the country it’s made in.

that's pretty funny, it's like fighting a rogue employee in a corporate network.

To add to this, various things try to bypass the Pihole by doing their own DNS. Google devices skip the Pihole, and I’ll bet others do too. You can catch at least some of the bad behaviour by blocking all outbound port 53 traffic that isn’t from the Pihole, or redirect it back to the Pihole.

I’m sure this will be beaten though.

This is why they invented DNS-over-HTTPS, to work around your ”foul play”.

It's funny because at home apps bypassing my dns annoys the hell out of me but in China which is where I currently am DNS-over-HTTPS is necessary just to get online some days.

I just wish there was a manual captive portal check button built into browsers that forces a standard port 53 check because if I'm behind a captive portal I have to reset my dns settings to sign in before then switching it back to get my VPN to connect.

>1) "Some Samsung TVs already try and connect to open WiFi networks if you don't connect them yourself."

This claim doesn't seem to be well sourced. It's essentially going on the word of an anonymous redditor.

See user mkhpalm’s comment

That's unrelated to open Wi-Fi networks.

One needs to mentally prepare for the coming 5G era; ubiquitous tracking and data harvesting combined with artificial intelligence and social credit. Where is the opt out from this hellish corporate revolution?

This is the only reason why I'm concerned about an overly optimistic 5G rollout. It's frustrating that all the nutso conspiratists have made it practically impossible to problematize this without coming off as either uneducated or a lunatic.

Meta-conspiracy-theory: the 5G conspiracy theories were spread deliberately with the precise intention of making the truth look like just another crazy conspiracy theory.

(I don't think that's very likely in this case, but I bet there are actual examples out there of conspiracy theories being deliberately seeded as a way to discredit potential real criticisms.)

I absolutely think that there are forces putting fuel to the flames with this as one goal. Not necessarily the origin or the main driving force, but I'm sure it happens. Just as with other recent polarizing movements.

5G doesn't change the economics of having cell radios nor paying for cell data.

Why would notoriously low margin products like a TV ever pay for such a lavish addition when most people voluntary connect it to wifi or ethernet anyway?

A TV is no longer a TV when it is part of a lucrative network of sensors; this not only represents a risk for the buyer, it fundamentally alters what a product is, while reducing language to newspeak.

But still, 5G changes nothing. Why have they not had this since 3G radios could be found in a Kindle?

search for "comcast lpwan" or machineq or "comcast iot"

just make an agreement with one company, done.

Solder the wifi antenna to ground (so long as the remote is IR and not radio!)

My TCL starts to bootloop if it goes more than a month without connecting to the internet so it can download screensaver ads. The warranty people force me into the support gauntlet. The support gauntlet's first demand: connect it to the internet.

This is disgusting. Ads are ruining everything.

And if you think it stops here, I've got bad news. This is only going to get worse without strict regulation.

Hold up. What if you don't have internet? Are they legitimately prepared to say "well, in this case your TV is not gonna work"?

Yes. I lived on a farm for a couple years recently and you had to extensively research any tech you bought even if logic said there’s no reason that particular tech should need internet. The TV we took with us no longer worked (Samsung) so we had to buy a Sony (and have never looked back), among other things.

Also, software. Half the software on our computers stopped working despite not being internet related.

It was incredibly frustrating and really soured me on the direction tech is headed.

soon, not having internet will be like not having a phone, and wanting a tv that works without internet will be like using a computer without internet.

in any case, i'd get any claim that the tv works without internet in writing. then it becomes a warranty issue if the tv stops working

Yes and they’re legitimately paid to ignore the fact that internet access is a base need for everyone and should be cheaply available.

You should try running it through a pihole. Even better, maybe you can manage to MITM it and replace the ads with something funny.

Some devices bypass the Pihole, and while you can catch them at the firewall, it’s a tedious game.

So what we need is a jailbreak and custom firmware?

Very very much so.

how is it possible to bypass? if it is the only thing available then it is impossible to use an alternative

They use their own DNS rather than PiHole’s.

If they use own DNS then maybe it can be disabled by IP rule in firewall?

If they can't get to their preferred DNS servers directly then they use DNS-over-HTTPS which you can't block.

Piholes just replace DNS results, so a device using hard coded DNS servers allows it to bypass that. This leads to people redirecting all port 53 traffic to the Pihole, which leads to devices/apps doing DNS over HTTPS, at which point it’s game over unless you can get your self-signed cert onto the device.

but surely these devices are set up to use DHCP and receive home users' DNS servers? giving them static IPs would not work. I suppose it depends on a) if these devices are somehow set up to receive just an IP address over DHCP and use their own hardcoded DNS servers and b) whether the home DHCP server / router would honour this and not enforce its own DNS servers along with the IP address

They’ll be using DHCP, but even when not doing anything nefarious you’re better off using known DNS servers when deploying appliances on random networks because consumer ISPs have a habit of ignoring TTLs and redirecting DNS results when you’re reaching bandwidth quotas and the like.

then the DHCP can assign PiHole as the DNS resolver, and if the requested domain isn't in its block list then it will be forwarded to google, cloudflare, etc.

i. e. the ads on smart devices can be blocked

Edit: Didn't know TCL is a brand, not available in my part of the world... - What brand is your TV?

TCL is a big Chinese company, they even have their own tv streaming service golive tv.

TCL is the brand. (I hadn't heard of it either)

I see that around in supermarkets here. Cheap garbage from you-know-where.

He already said - TCL.

How does it know the time? Can't you set it to 1971?

#2 sounded intriguing, but it seems likely to not be the case [0].

I was curious because I have a Vizio that I deliberately keep disconnected from the internet, and rely on an Apple TV. Seems like that's not an attack vector in this case, though #1 is (and #3) seem worth looking into.

What's ACR in point #4?

[0] https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/325215/appletv-eth...

ACR == Automatic Content Recognition. Basically it periodically screenshots what the panel is showing and sends it to their servers to see if it matches the programs they know about to figure out what it is you're watching.

I don't see why people aren't rioting in the streets about this, apart from the fact that there are currently bigger issues already occupying rioters. It's seriously beyond the pale.

Because most people don't know and/or understand. Look how many (often smart) people are bringing Alexa devices to their homes

I know smart people who have Alexa devices. Some of these people are software engineers who know there's someone on the other end listening to everything. One could argue that they must not be smart to buy these things.

But I think that a more helpful way of thinking about it is that (1) people are great at rationalizing, especially when it makes their lives easier. And (2) the open source alternative isn't good enough or easy enough.

For a long time, pirating music was the easiest way to listen to music that you wanted. Then things like iTunes and the iPod came along.

Until there's an easy, open alternative, even smart people will continue paying money to put surveillance devices in their living rooms and bedrooms.

To play the part of the average consumer here... why should I care exactly? I know about the concept of TV ratings so some families are allowing a computer to keep track of what they watch. How does this hurt me? Maybe if I was using my TV as an output for my home surveillance system I would care. Otherwise it’s just displaying content featuring paid actors or other people who are already being watched by millions on TV. Samsung or whoever they sold the data to is just one more viewer for that content.

I get that they can build a profile of me based on what kind of content I’m watching, but it doesn’t seem different from what Netflix or YouTube is doing anyway. Probably they’re going to use the data to show attribution for engagements on ads for media. Good for them I guess. It‘s not in my top 1000 reasons to riot personally.

Part of the distaste is the lack of control.

That a faceless, remote corporation can reach into your home and arbitrarily control a product you've purchased feels very invasive.

Companies like Samsung and LG have previously had cameras and microphones silently streaming unencrypted feeds. They've also been caught running network probes to search out, catalogue and report private media.

All that feels very creepy to some people such as myself.

You want to say no, don't do that ...but you can't.

Exactly. It's my house. It's my behavior. These four walls are sacrosanct.

Imagine you are working from home or your kids are schooling from home, and you use the TV for meetings. Are they recording your presentation? Are pictures of your kids' classmates being fingerprinted and archived somewhere for correlation with all the other classmates?

There are levels of outrageousness here:

- Spying on TV through a purpose-built device: mildly annoying that every show and ad now has a tracking watermark that can be used surreptitiously, but voluntary Nielsen participation is just fine.

- Spying on an app you own: YouTube collecting aggregated watch times for videos is useful to creators to avoid reaching people who don't want to watch them. Netflix collecting in-house analytics is only mildly annoying because I don't know how individualized the data is, but aggregate stats are fine. Behavioral analysis of individuals is still creepy.

-Spying on all apps running on your software: Roku or a smart TV reporting what you watch in all apps is starting to approach unacceptable. Presumably appmakers know about this when they are making the apps, but a third party doesn't have the same checks and balances to make sure they aren't alienating users with creepy behavior. There is not a functioning market here because appmakers don't get a choice of how to reach users, because platform rentiers are claiming all of the users.

- Spying on arbitrary video files you watch through DLNA: not okay. My work-in-progress video productions and self-ripped discs are simply none of the TV makers' business.

-Spying on HDMI inputs: serious WTF. Like I can't even... WTF??? Who do they think they are?

>Probably they’re going to use the data to show attribution for engagements on ads for media.

This is a problem. I don't want advertisements to be optimized for engagement. Anything that makes advertisements more effective is something I'm against.

Nielsen families get paid, for one thing.

Since I never connect my TV to the internet, why would ACR bother me? Doesn't really matter if the data isn't going anywhere.

The TV might still find a way to connect through open WiFi, Comcast xfinity or (a future model) 5G whispernet style connection.

It might not do that today, but perhaps a future firmware update that you would need or want, will do that; Visio TVs started ACRing and uploading that data after an update (they were sued for it and lost; it was called “smart data” or some other innocuous name.

They're glued to their TVs.

Smart 'X' in general has become synonymous with 'paid for by your data we scrape 24/7' at least when it comes to most consumer range products and platforms made by big tech companies...

Smart phones

Smart TVs

Smart speakers

Smart doorbell/security cameras

Smart home systems

If there's one thing these all have in common it's:

'Known privacy issues regarding tracking and data collection by large tech companies.'

When a product is marketed as smart...I assume it's smart as in it's watching and learning from me and giving the data to someone.

> profited additionally by your data we scrape 24/7

since it's not necessarily "paid for" via the advertising

Good point...

Would 'heavily subsidized by' work as well?

Subsidized implies that the revenue from advertising defers the cost to the end user. This isn't generally true for TVs.

With TVs, the sticker price pays for the hardware. The ads pay for the extra house the manufacturer's CEO feels he's entitled to have.

Not so much. That's why, as a bunch of other comments mentioned, there's commercial displays available with equivalent specs to smart tvs that are essentially dumb terminals with no smart functionality that cost more than twice the price.

Your data is subsidizing the low hardware costs.

I think this is a question that doesn't have a well defined answer. Most likely raw hardware cost is smaller than consumer price, which is smaller than what the consumer price would have been if the manufacturer weren't able to get extra profit by selling your privacy and/or attention. So who's getting the money from selling you to Facebook depends on what you think the "right" price without that would have been, and there's always a wide range of possible prices for any given product.

The saddest part is that it's not even "heavily". From a profit margin perspective it's huge, because those are so thin on a product like a TV. But from a sales price perspective it's not even that notable of an amount.

You mentioned commercial displays costing a lot more but those are a different market entirely, and the extra price is only slightly motivated by the lack of advertising.

What's really concerning is that "smart" TV's are no longer an upgrade, but the standard. You practically cannot find a new dumb 4k TV. When I went to purchase one recently, Best Buy at least had no other option.

All smart TV's are dumb if you don't connect them to the Internet.

They won't spy on you, but you'll still have to deal with the laggy shitware they run. In some I've had the misfortune of using, simply changing the inputs was a torturous affair because of the shitty software the TV was running.

I still remember the near-instant channel switching from the 90s, when analog signals and CRTs where the norm. You could change channels on a dime.

Now with complex video and audio codecs, video post-processing and shoddily coded software there's been a very severe downgrade in that department. I don't have a TV at home but every time I'm in a hotel or my parent's place I notice how laggy it is when I'm just browsing through the channels (which is what I do 90% of the time when I'm using one, since there's hardly anything worth watching anyway).

For those of you who are too young to know what I'm talking about, have a look at this: https://youtu.be/v83WEzw8tfw?t=44

That video is already laggy compared to what I remember as a kid. If you were watching OTA analog the channel change was near instant. Even on our cable box it was near instant.

Was it not actually instant?

My recollection from the 80's was you switch the channel (physically) and it's... switched!

So was there some magical latency there that I just couldn't perceive, or are the "near instant" reports talking about some other type of TV? Or something else?

Change was instant, took a frame or two for all the sync, gain, etc to settle.

There absolutely was some latency, about 13ms worth, because it had to wait for the next field to start so it could properly synchronize and start drawing. But you'd never notice that yourself.

There was a few ms of latency but you couldn't actually perceive it unless you used a slow motion camera or something.

Yeah, I think that video appears to still have some digital delay. Perhaps something related to the satellite receiver decoding in that example.

Thankfully most let you skip the UI entirely by having direct input selection IR commands. Get yourself a generic universal remote that either has these buttons, or custom ones you can program.

With this I basically never see the UI on my LG and Samsung TVs, and I certainly don't interact with it unless I need to get into settings.

I am personally considering just getting an HDMI switch that I can manage externally from the TV. I mostly use the Android TV device I bought and its much more stable than the UI on my offline Smart TV thankfully it has most if not all the apps I need.

There are lots of shitwares that don't do async, so the shitware runs at a snail's pace offline because all the spyware requests have to time out before the shitware can do anything.

If they have wifi you have no idea if they're connecting to open networks.

I've heard the solution to that is to set up an AP in your house that is either firewalled or doesn't have an outbound connection and connect your smart devices to that AP.

Apartments are a problem though

Unless the TV ignores your settings and hops to random networks when it can’t phone home through your AP, this approach should still work fine in apartments.

From what I understood, this is precisely what some new models do.

Why would they even have such logic? Especially since the only open wifi points are captive portal ones?

But if there's just no open wifi points around then you can still be pretty certain of this.

Buy a cheap router, don’t connect the router to the internet, and connect all smart appliances to the router.

Wonder if the TV would detect it as nonfunctional and still search for open networks that work.

If you can think if it, they can too.

As Samsung is essentially hostile beyond belief, and has thrown away all pretense of 'helping', I'd say yes.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they did but isn’t it illegal to connect to an open wifi if you haven’t got the explicit permission to do so?

All they need in that case is a signed contract with Comcast saying they’re allowed to connect to Xfinity networks.

Or buy a cheap good one ( eg Edgerouter Lite or X) and block them there, or put them on their own subnet.

it used to be that way for "3d" tv's. I'm really hoping that "smart" tv's get relegated to the same fate.

This. I found the same thing in Australia.

Sadly, that won't help you if the smart TV is constantly looking for open wifi networks to use without your knowledge or intervention.

Rather than constantly monitoring and investigating what your TV is doing it's far simpler to just avoid Samsung, LG, Panasonic or Sony products.

Even if your current smart TV doesn't do this, it's exactly the sort of dark pattern that certain manufacturers could add with an update and there's nothing you can do about it because you don't control the product.

Best to just avoid brands you don't trust.

That's fine for now, but you just know within a crop or two there's going to be panels that insist on being connected to the Internet or they won't even display anything.

And then once one or two companies have made that acceptable, they all will go that way.

As usual, _Idiocracy_ is a documentary from the future.


I like money.

we should hang out

Can't believe you like money too

> Easy, don’t connect it to the internet.

Maybe not so easy in the future. TVs might eventually have 5G internet connections built-in and paid for by the manufacturer. It could be worth it to them if they get enough revenue from their software platform through user tracking and advertising.

I don't know why you're downvoted, there's already screens currently in development that have precisely this. They should hit around late 2021 or early 22. There are SOHO routers in development that have this (Q1'21), and the 5G modem isn't even for your usage, its for the manufacturer to push/pull data. There's a side-by-side fridge/freezer that has this already on the market. There's a (commercial) coffee machine for installation in to offices that has this.

Only if there's enough users who refuse to give their TV wifi to justify such a crazy expense. Which seems highly unlikely.

There are IoT SIMs available on most major carriers, which are intended for economical occasional low-data usage on large numbers of devices. They're popular in GPSes among other things.

5G is looking to reduce the cost of them further as LPWA is a key part of the standard.

maybe one way to fight this is by finding a way to abuse these SIMs/connections to use a lot of data en masse until they get cut off or dropped altogether.

They can easily be remotely disabled if there's any suspicious activity, ie to any other server than the telemetry backend.

Exactly what I meant, and then you use their own SIM to DoS or DDoS them until they or their network provider disconnect the service.

This makes me remember the guy who was pulling SIM cards out of these IoT car boots and putting them in his phone for free 4G service.

But alot of people want Netflix etc streamed. also alot of people dont know how to manage firewalls, pihole etc. This idea of stuffing tracking and ads into everything “smart” is such an insult to the individual.

Anyone should be able to setup and use Apple TV. (If you trust Apple, that is).

If not, you could use a Raspi? I had non-techie (but still young) friends who came up with and implemented this idea by themselves.

Apple TV is expensive though for people without a bunch of cash. Pay $400 for a 4K TV that has Netflix built in and then spend $200 for Apple TV too?

Definitely true, not everyone is willing to pay the price for privacy in the first price.

Easy, don’t connect it to the internet.

No good. The TVs are starting to nag the user if left unconnected.

What's a good media player system for raspberry pi in that case? Any chance that it can drive netflix?

Kodi, and yes, I believe there is a Netflix add-on that you can authenticate to if you need to ;)

Interesting, thanks for the pointer

I use a Chromebit it's really effective and has all the apps you really need.

If you want to trust this you have to put your tv in a faraday cage. I wouldn't bat an eye if tv's actually connect via 4G to their spying servers.

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