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Old 10-05-2019, 08:13 AM   #1
Curious.George
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Default "Smart" TVs

Does anyone support their "Smart TV" offerings beyond the first year or so? I.e., how often are software releases issued? IME, it seems like there may be ONE update released -- likely just to fix the things that blatantly weren't right in the initial RTM version.

Said another way, it seems the wisest move is to just use a "computer" (or, an STB -- hoping the STB manufacturer has a greater incentive to keep supporting their product) to provide the "Smart" features and just use the TV as a giant "monitor". This (computer-based) approach also gives you a lot more control over what the set can do and how it does it!
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

I use a formuler z7+ stb. Couldn't care less what's on or isnt on a smart TV. The processor and ram in a smart TV is generally hopeless.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Mine stopped updating a long time ago. I built a Linux box to server as a multimedia system, and for those items that don't work in Linux, I hook up my laptop.
Another option is just a smart DVD/Bluray player, Roku box, or similar.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

I use these 2 no smarttv. I use these 2 even laying in bad, i do everything with great power as i do in my laptop

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWHA7LczlPY&t=59s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycRNwsiDNbA

Last edited by ivtec; 10-05-2019 at 01:47 PM..
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamie View Post
I use a formuler z7+ stb. Couldn't care less what's on or isnt on a smart TV. The processor and ram in a smart TV is generally hopeless.
I've found almost all of them "adequate" for their CODEC implementations. I would never try to use one to "browse the web", "send email", etc.

But, their CODECs aren't updated to remain current with changes in container formats, etc.

And, the network interface often RELIES on a connection to the outside world -- even if serving video from a media tank. So, you need an STB (or equivalent) at the TV in order to get an uncrippled network interface. And, then you're stuck cabling in via HDMI/Composite/Component/VGA/whatever. This is just silly when the TV has everything it needs to process the video from the network (WITHOUT having to "phone home" to do so!)
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

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Originally Posted by wyrmzr72 View Post
Mine stopped updating a long time ago. I built a Linux box to server as a multimedia system, and for those items that don't work in Linux, I hook up my laptop.
Another option is just a smart DVD/Bluray player, Roku box, or similar.
I'd previously set up a media server but my other half disliked the user interface ("Why is this so complicated??" "Um, maybe because it DOES more??!")

I recently rescued a couple of Roku boxes thinking they would have more intuitive interfaces. But, a cursory examination seems to indicate that they need to "phone home" to obtain the ability to operate on a private network (even if that is just to fetch some firmware -- "channel" -- to allow them to do so).
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

got an samsung 40MUxxxx I got updates for 2 1/2 years. I use a Intel NUC with an i5, SSD, 16gb ram, running linux as my TV box.
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivtec View Post
I use these 2 no smarttv. I use these 2 even laying in bad, i do everything with great power as i do in my laptop

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWHA7LczlPY&t=59s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycRNwsiDNbA
But can they operate WITHOUT an Internet connection? I.e., off of a private internet? (aka "intranet")

I think the best solution may be to throw together a USFF box that does exactly what I want without the "marketing tie-in" that STB manufacturers seem to want to impose (sell cheap box; make money selling the USER to advertisers!)
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

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Originally Posted by CapLeaker View Post
got an samsung 40MUxxxx I got updates for 2 1/2 years. I use a Intel NUC with an i5, SSD, 16gb ram, running linux as my TV box.
What were the nature of those updates? I.e., were they "bug-fixes" (to address f*ckups in their implementation)? Or, feature enhancements (to add capabilities not originally present)? Or, updates to remain current with evolving standards (CODECs, HTML/Java, etc.)?

I.e., did you feel ike the TV was "current" 2.5 years later, when compared to other sets that were on the market at that time?

Is your "TV box" just acting as a media tank? Or, is it making up for current inadequacies in the TV's implementation?
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Old 10-05-2019, 05:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
What were the nature of those updates? I.e., were they "bug-fixes" (to address f*ckups in their implementation)? Or, feature enhancements (to add capabilities not originally present)? Or, updates to remain current with evolving standards (CODECs, HTML/Java, etc.)?

I.e., did you feel ike the TV was "current" 2.5 years later, when compared to other sets that were on the market at that time?

Is your "TV box" just acting as a media tank? Or, is it making up for current inadequacies in the TV's implementation?
The updates are mostly for the apps that run on that, like youtube for example. When youtube doesn't want to work correctly, then there will be shortly after a new firmware for the tv to fix the issue.

As for the second, it's both. I've also had my run in's with the little android boxes (do a search for Dreamlink T1 plus). I've had other android boxes too, but I never liked them. Got this Intel NUC running Linux and couldn't be any happier. It's not cheap, but worth every cent compared to that android, tizen, etc. jazz.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

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Originally Posted by CapLeaker View Post
The updates are mostly for the apps that run on that, like youtube for example. When youtube doesn't want to work correctly, then there will be shortly after a new firmware for the tv to fix the issue.
OK. I would deem that a "responsible" manufacturer addressing issues that their customers would likely want/need addressed.

In our case, the "TV" will never talk to the outside world. So, we're more interested in how up-to-date its CODECs are and how unencumbered the network interface to the set would be (i.e., I shouldn't need to connect to "something" at Sony/Sharp/Visio/.com just to access my own media tank). Nor should I need any outside resources to command the set (e.g., voice/gesture recognition done at some remote server).

OTOH, if the CODECs aren't kept up to date (even if I have to manually download updates and install via USB), then I'd have to transcode all the content destined for the set. If that's the case, then why not just put a "computer" at the set and "fix" the shortcomings of the set's firmware?!

Quote:
As for the second, it's both. I've also had my run in's with the little android boxes (do a search for Dreamlink T1 plus). I've had other android boxes too, but I never liked them.
Performance issues? Usability? Reliability??

Quote:
Got this Intel NUC running Linux and couldn't be any happier. It's not cheap, but worth every cent compared to that android, tizen, etc. jazz.
Ideally, I'd just like something that offers a "friendly" (think: old folks) user interface to a catalog of stored content (DVR and movie library) plus OTA access (via HDHomeRuns, for example). It would need to interface to the (remote) DVR as well as "guide" services. While it would be "nice" to be able to access IMDB or other descriptive content sources, we could live without that (set up our own off-line database if necessary).

I will have to see what sorts of tiny boxes I can find. An advantage to something "open" is that I can turn it into a real computer, when needed. Then, switch it back into a media terminal when the need arises.

[I'm looking to discard this machine -- too many frigging screens around here -- and fold it's features into a "TV" located in the eating area. So, when not watching TV/movies, can use it as a "PC" to check mail, etc. I.e., the sorts of things a SmartTV should be able to do!]
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Old 10-06-2019, 05:54 AM   #12
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

O.k. Codecs in firmware updates, that is not happening. For example you have a 40JUxxxx 1080p. It has x264 codec but not the x265 codec that the 40MUxxxx 4k has. They will not update codecs as such. This is actually one of my biggest reasons running the Intel NUC.

Depending on how many files you want to store in the library, $$$ will tell you if you want to go the PC route or a NAS route. You need processing power and there isn't much happening under an Intel I5 when you get into the higher resolution and futureproof stuff. Unfortunately these NAS's are not cheap at all... Look at QNAP or Synology. Don't go for the WD MyClould etc. Reason here is, because QNAP and the Synology are the only ones that actually can check the HDD's for errors periodically from A to Z. Look what happened to me a few months ago (thought I had performance issues in the NUC or the network, turned out to be bad HDD's in the NAS!), had 2 HDD's in my RAID 5 fail at the same time. Sucks.

The Intel NUC has no performance or any issues at all. It just runs like a champ. Reliability is very good, even if something fails, you can swap it (besides the CPU that is soldered on the board). Usability, I guess that depends on what OS you want to run on it, Winblows, Linux, whatever you like, as it is a mini PC with real laptop RAM, SSD, laptop CPU, etc. I use it also to watch a show I like on YouTube, check emails, browse on the internet, look something up... I did put an "air mouse" to my NUC. That is kind of a must. I didn't like the wireless keyboard all the time.

All in a nutshell, I think you want more than a "Smart TV" per se can offer you. My advise is a 4k TV and put the smarts in yourself and set it up as you like. Once you have it set up like I do, there is no going back to the Smart TV OS's, as these look and work "half assed". O.k., a given is that I still have a little box besides the TV, but: I don't have to frigg around with EMMC's when they go bad, replace the android box at least once every 2 years, have freedom on whatever OS I choose, have more processing power than these android boxes, can run VLC player (that eats just about any codec and can be set up for IPTV) and what ever else. I guess it is up to you now to decide how much $$$ you want to spend and what kind of BANG you get! For me, I just got tired of the Android, Tizen and what ever crap.

Last edited by CapLeaker; 10-06-2019 at 05:59 AM..
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Since my primary job is PC repair, I've been perfectly happy to simply take my formerly smart TV and hook up a computer cobbled together with leftover parts.
Hook up a UPS to it, install whatever OS (Linux works great on an older system with limited RAM), and run it.
Tweak everything to your liking, and go for it.
As an added bonus, I just acquired a rather nice laptop that had a shorted keyboard and bad hard drive. User decided to replace the system, I pulled his data for him, and then swapped for a known good drive and a wireless keyboard/mouse setup. Now I've got a system that runs some of the stuff that *nix may not, and I can even game on it while it's hooked to my 55" TV.
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Old 10-06-2019, 09:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Smart TV for me as agent TV since I don't have root permission on them. this why my TVs at home always blocked from external Internet connection.. so i use (Mecool KI Pro )box STB / S2/T2/C Tuner with widevine level 1 Key can run from internal emmc ( android ) and SD/USB (Linux), both have root access with much fun to watch any scramble channel beside Kodi and others smart stuff
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapLeaker View Post
O.k. Codecs in firmware updates, that is not happening. For example you have a 40JUxxxx 1080p. It has x264 codec but not the x265 codec that the 40MUxxxx 4k has. They will not update codecs as such. This is actually one of my biggest reasons running the Intel NUC.
Yes, this is my gripe with them (I don't use them as "PCs with large displays" but, rather, as "TVs that can access stored content"). If I have to wait to see if a particular media file will play (without pops and clicks... or, "crashing" the TV) then it's hardly "entertaining". It quickly becomes WORK when I have to recode the file for the TVs shortcomings!

My other half would simply throw up her hands, in that case (so, I make sure all of the content that she regularly accesses is "playable").

But, she also frets over the complexity of the interface... figuring out how to GET what she wants using a clumsy remote.

Quote:
Depending on how many files you want to store in the library, $$$ will tell you if you want to go the PC route or a NAS route. You need processing power and there isn't much happening under an Intel I5 when you get into the higher resolution and futureproof stuff. Unfortunately these NAS's are not cheap at all... Look at QNAP or Synology. Don't go for the WD MyClould etc. Reason here is, because QNAP and the Synology are the only ones that actually can check the HDD's for errors periodically from A to Z. Look what happened to me a few months ago (thought I had performance issues in the NUC or the network, turned out to be bad HDD's in the NAS!), had 2 HDD's in my RAID 5 fail at the same time. Sucks.
The storage aspect isn't a problem, here. Rather, getting AT the content from the TV is the issue. I'd like to NOT have to transcode at the source as that places limits on how many clients can be supported. If, instead, the "TV" can handle the formats already being used by the content, then the source needs simply to be able to push it to the clients fast enough (a lot easier than transcoding AND pushing).

[performance, usability, reliability...]

Sorry, I meant this with respect to the "little android boxes". I.e., what was the nature of your "run in's" with them?

Quote:
I use it also to watch a show I like on YouTube, check emails, browse on the internet, look something up... I did put an "air mouse" to my NUC. That is kind of a must. I didn't like the wireless keyboard all the time.
With the exception of the "TV" (doubling as a PC) in the eating area, there won't be any "PC-ish" expectations from the TVs. A traditional remote will be the ideal interface for them.

In the eating area, I will install a variant of this:
The TV that is there, currently, is already mounted on that swing-arm but directly to the wall. I'll replace the TV with a monitor and add the keyboard swing-arm, folding it away when not needed. (I won't use the shelf for the SFF shown in the photo as it would be an eyesore.

[The TV on swing-arm is already there as it allows us to swing the TV around to watch it while preparing food in the kitchen; then swing it back "around the corner" to watch from the eating area.]

Quote:
All in a nutshell, I think you want more than a "Smart TV" per se can offer you. My advise is a 4k TV and put the smarts in yourself and set it up as you like. Once you have it set up like I do, there is no going back to the Smart TV OS's, as these look and work "half assed".
We could easily "live with" the OS in the TV -- if it would handle our "content" without crashing the TV. I could create a way of turning the TV into a "computer". For example, transcode the "video out" of a PC to make it resemble stored content; then just "play" that stored content on the TV! In this way, I can omit the need for a box AT the TV.

Quote:
O.k., a given is that I still have a little box besides the TV, but:
We've been trying to get rid of all the "little boxes" around the house. When you actually start taking notice of them, there are quite a few (small "stereos", DVD players, etc.). You NEED the actual device that interfaces to the user (e.g., the monitor or the speakers) but there's no compelling reason that you should ALSO have to keep the other cruft nearby and visible!

It would be nice to just run CAT5e to these devices...
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:55 PM   #16
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Unhappy Re: "Smart" TVs

Sorry for jumping on this thread, but it just so happens I just purchased a new Samsung telly yesterday and ended up being rather disappointed with the set of features it offers and this discussion comes pretty close. The model is ue58ru7172, though I think it's a "regional" model, built for East Europe, since I can't find anything about this model anywhere else. The RU in the model might actually stand for Russia. It's a Tizen nonetheless...

Anyway, we chose it mainly based on its size and decent price, since that's pretty much the only thing it's got going for it. Yeah, ok, it's 4k and claims it's a "Smart" TV but what isn't nowadays ?! It's got a standard web browser and other apps which you never use, like Netflix, YT and god knows what, but that's about it ! For comparison, our previous one, despite being a dinky 32 incher, was packed with features when we got it like 5-6 years ago: plenty of inputs (which is something I kinda miss), a "smart remote", DLNA, an IR blaster, bluetooth support... My folks chose it because they thought they never use those features anyway, but it's disappointing to think you just bought something that's brand new but kinda sucks compared to the original.....I thought I could maybe hack into it to enable those features, but I doubt it's possible.
For instance, the smart remote: the TV itself DOES have bluetooth, ironically enough, because my phone detects it, but it has no way to actually scan for devices, so I can't put the TV into "discovery" mode to try and pair my old smart remote with this new telly !

I must've mulled this over for at least a couple of hours, until I realised that it's probably easier to just screw the TV and just do this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious.George View Post
....it seems the wisest move is to just use a "computer" (or, an STB -- hoping the STB manufacturer has a greater incentive to keep supporting their product) to provide the "Smart" features and just use the TV as a giant "monitor". This (computer-based) approach also gives you a lot more control over what the set can do and how it does it!
Pretty disappointing, I must admit, especially since for the same exact price, they could've gone with a slightly smaller, but "smarter" one, akin to what we had before. Turns out this is a pretty low-end model, with only a basic set of features and no "smart" functionalities, aside from maybe that web browser. I think there's two levels of "smartness" to these Sammies: the base model, which is just called a "Smart TV" with no other badges and frills and the fancier "Smart HUB" devices, which is what the 32 inch one boasted, which also enables those trick features like the accelerometer remote and
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:10 PM   #17
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Anything less than a pc hooked up to the tv is like wearing handcuffs...life is way too short to constantly be fooling around with compatibility etc. etc. hate them damn android boxes.

Last edited by nomoresonys; 11-24-2019 at 06:23 PM..
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Shame on SONY. Early on I got an external Sony smart box and 5 years ago, bought a high end Sony 50" led, only to be informed this month that neither will support Netflix starting in 2020. I will never buy Sony again, vote with your money. At least an Android box can updates it apps , but be careful, once you start using a 40" TV as a monitor, you will never go smaller

Last edited by captainKKK; 11-24-2019 at 09:39 PM..
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

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Shame on SONY. Early on I got an external Sony smart box and 5 years ago, bought a high end Sony 50" led, only to be informed this month that neither will support Netflix starting in 2020. I will never buy Sony again, vote with your money. At least an Android box can updates it apps , but be careful, once you start using a 40" TV as a monitor, you will never go smaller
How to avoid this:
1) Never trust the stuff on smart TVs. Use your own equipment and plug it into the TV.
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: "Smart" TVs

Yeah, I hate Sonys too
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