Why I will NOT buy an “Internet-Ready” TV

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The major TV manufacturers , LG, Samsung, Sony etc are now selling “Internet-Ready” , or “Smart”  televisions.  But I’m not interested. Why? Simply put I’m wary of paying a premium for something that’s likely to be obsolete in a few years. Let me explain:

An internet-ready TV essentially bundles some of the popular streaming services into the TV.  Examples include Netflix, Hulu, You-tube. Today I can do the same thing with a $59 Roku box. But that requires an extra device, and cables, and remote you say. True, that is the major benefit of internet-ready television. Less stuff.

Here’s the flip side. We’re in a rapidly changing time for video distribution. Odds are that Netflix or Hulu will go away, or that some new service will emerge. My internet-ready TV is now obsolete. If the manufacture’s design is clever perhaps they’ll have a firmware upgrade to handle this but I can’t be sure.

Remember when TV was very simple? You just connected your antenna or cable and that was it. Then Cable TV started offering premium services, and more than 80 channels. The set-top box emerged.  TV manufacturers responded by producing “cable-ready” televisions. Cool, I don’t need a set-top box anymore. Oops,  along came HD. Back came the set-top.

As someone who worked both in TV manufacturing, and in the Cable industry, I recognize the scenario above reoccurring today. That is why my philosophy is this: buy the best HD television you can afford, but never with the latest trend as a built-in. When the new Netflix emerges, you’ll be glad you only need another $59 upgrade.

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