Can You Still Buy a Non-Smart TV?

Smart sets come with security risks, but it's getting harder to find a TV that isn't connected to the internet.
Updated
kid watching TV

Shopping for a new TV these days is challenging at best, whether you're looking on Black Friday, before the Super Bowl, or another time. You have to consider size, display type, resolution, and even the number of ports if you want to cover all your bases. And you must decide whether you want a smart TV or a non-smart TV.

It might surprise you to know you don't have to buy a smart set if you don't want one — and there are solid reasons to skip this feature. However, shopping for a "dumb" TV won't be that easy if you're worried about brand or size. If you're interested in owning a non-smart TV, read on to learn what you can expect during your search.

What Is a Smart TV?

A smart TV is any TV set that connects to the internet, either by WiFi or through an Ethernet cable. A smart set offers access to web-based services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, and Prime Video, as well as web-surfing capabilities in some cases.

While the technology is neat in theory, the execution can often leave something to be desired. For instance, smart TVs can crash or freeze like PCs. You obviously don't want to deal with those interruptions when watching your favorite shows. However, as smart TV technology improves, these issues should occur less frequently.

What Are the Security Risks of Smart TVs?

Smart TVs have neat features, but they also come with security drawbacks. For example, these devices are often targets for hackers. If a hacker successfully breaches your smart TV, they can access connected accounts, as well as other devices.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate TV Buying Guide

Even if you don't have accounts or other devices connected to your smart TV, you're not immediately safe. Smart TVs with cameras or microphones can be exploited, as well. The thought of a hacker using those to watch and listen to you is definitely alarming.

Remember, too, that any connected device is likely collecting data on you, unless you take the time to turn that feature off. And even then, you can't 100% trust that data collection has actually stopped.

What Brands Still Offer Non-Smart TVs?

You might be wondering what brands still make non-smart TVs. Unfortunately, most non-smart sets come from lesser-known brands, such as Seiki, Onn, and Sceptre. RCA makes these TVs, too, and we've also seen refurbished sets from brands like Element and Philips. If none of these brands appeal to you, the good news is you aren't completely out of luck.

Most non-smart TVs come from lesser-known brands, such as Seiki, Onn, and Sceptre.

Bigger brands still make non-smart TVs — but you may have to pay more for them. For instance, we saw a 55" LG 4K non-smart TV going for $699. However, that particular model came with an Ethernet port, so it's still capable of being somewhat connected.

Considering you can likely buy a smart set for the same price, this feels like you're paying a premium to receive less. But if you want a quality set and don't want to worry about security risks, getting the best non-smart TV you can find might be the way to go.

How Much Does a Non-Smart TV Cost?

The prices for non-smart TVs vary depending on the brand and size. We tracked data over the previous 45 days, noting the sizes and prices of all the non-smart TVs we listed as deals. Check out the table below to get an idea of what you can expect to pay for each size class.

The Average Prices for Non-Smart TVs

Non-Smart TV Size Average Regular Price*
19" $99.99
22" $145.32
24" $89.99
32" $181.36
43" $253.44
50" $293.32
55" $314.99
60" $449.99
65" $575.78
70" $772.49

*Prices as of the time of writing

What Specs Does a Non-Smart TV Have?

While a non-smart TV will obviously be lacking in internet-connected features, that doesn't mean you have to settle for something like bad resolution. However, you shouldn't expect a lot of extras, either. For example, a 55" Sceptre 4K non-smart TV commonly has features like four HDMI ports — and that's about it.

Part of the downside of buying a non-smart TV is that it's a basic device. So if you're looking for more bells and whistles, a "dumb" set likely won't satisfy you.

Readers, do you own a non-smart TV? Or do you prefer the latest and greatest tech? Let us know in the comments below!


Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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5 comments
camobarge
I stumbled across this article looking for a dumb TV.

My main reason for not wanting a smart TV? Well I am soon on my second "smart" TV and there is one thing that I have found. TV manufactures stop supporting the software behind them after a short period of time. It has only been 2 years from when I purchased my LG until they stopped supporting it with updates.

In todays times, we can use something like a Roku, Chromecast, etc. to make our TV's "Smart" so the manufactures software, really isn't an issue any longer.

I am surprised that the non-smart TVs that I have found have been more expensive (maybe making up for the more noticeable advertising/commercials I am seeing more of, that they can't push?).
robu
you can make any Tv 'Dumb' by not connecting it to your network. Connect your TV to your guest network so that TV remains isolated from your home network. if you just dont connect that would be even better.
VariformZaftig
Have a Sharp Aquos smart TV
What a POS,, it freezes after about 3 hours of streaming requiring being unplugged to reboot as it will not shut off even when set off button pushed..

Promptly went out and bought myself a Roku, never had a problem since..
aarond12
A "dumb" TV is a good choice because of a "separation of duties". The TV is there to display an image. You can get an external device, like a Roku or Apple TV, and get the "smart" functionality. Then, if the external device becomes obsolete, you can replace it without having to replace the entire TV.

My latest TV, a Sony Bravia, has Android TV built in. It frequently crashes, plays video jerky, and doesn't play the sound. Rebooting the TV (more specifically, the Android part of the TV) causes everything to work smoothly again. Does that mean I need to replace the entire TV? No. It means when the new version of the Apple TV comes out (yes, I know there is an Apple TV 4K available now but it's due to be updated any day now), I will be using that instead and disabling the Android part of the TV -- effectively making it a "dumb" TV.
richmosher
I used to have a dumb TV and a smart Blu-ray player. It worked fine for internet access when I wanted it.