Shopping for a new TV these days is challenging, at best. 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 or not you want a 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 it. 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 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 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.
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Even if you don't have accounts or other devices connected to your smart TV, you're not immediately safe. Sets with cameras or microphones can be exploited, as well. The thought of a hacker using those to watch and listen to you — especially without your knowing about it — is definitely alarming.
Remember, too, that a 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 the collection has actually stopped.
What Brands Still Offer Non-Smart TVs?
Now that we may have scared you away from buying a smart TV, you might be wondering what brands still make non-smart TVs. Unfortunately, most non-smart sets seem to 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.
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 — and as that particular model came with an Ethernet port, it's still capable of being somewhat connected. Considering you can likely buy a smart set for the same price — or at least a similar one— 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 Lowest Prices for Non-Smart TVs
|Non-Smart TV Size||Lowest Price in the Last 45 Days*|
*At 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.