I just bought a new TV. They are now plagued with a huge number of “smart” features you have to turn off to make the set useful. You pretty much can’t buy a TV without these.
First off is all the video processing. The motion interpolation / dejudder / etc that takes a lovely mastered Blu-Ray source and then makes it look like shit and 100ms out of sync with the audio. Fortunately TVs generally have a “game mode”, so-called because gamers want low latency displays. As a side effect it disables all the video processing.
Then there’s the Smart TV stuff. I’ve been buying Samsung TVs and watching their apps evolve. It’s not bad; you can legitimately watch Netflix or (probably) Youtube entirely on your TV now. Only problem is that there’s no simple way to get sound back out of the TV and in to your nice wall-mounted surround sound speakers. So all this smart TV stuff is useless unless you want to listen to 5W of shitty stereo. (Not strictly true; there’s a new HDMI 1.4 standard called ARC that does feed audio back up the cable.)
The Smart TV stuff is a little useful if you really just want a simple TV to watch movies in the kitchen. But for anyone who is at least a little serious about home theater, it’s useless. Worse than useless. Because now your TV has an operating system. So it takes a long time to boot, is vulnerable to security holes, and is popping up features and notifications when you don’t want them. I was particularly charmed to see this year’s Samsung TV includes a virus scanner. In the display. Awesome.
There used to be a class of flat panel displays called “monitors” that were really just a screen; no speakers, no “smart TV”, no bullshit. Unfortunately that market segment is gone. My suspicion is that the TV manufacturers are hoping to one day capture customers and turn them in to Internet service subscribers, so that they make more money than just selling the fancy glass panel. Ugh.
Bonus link: simple TV feature comparison matrix. Samsung’s marketing literature makes it impossible to understand what you are actually buying. What’s the difference between a JU6500 vs a JS8500? About $1000, but their web site does a terrible job informing you what that $1000 buys. This third party site has a simple feature matrix. May they make many dollars in Amazon referral fees.