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Mrs. Peel

Different Types of Smart TVs? & other TV ?'s...

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OK, let me preface this by saying I'm looking for clear, concise SIMPLE explanations (not a doctoral thesis... yes, I'm talking to you technies who can't help but geek out on any technical question!)

First, here's the situation:

  • I have a 16-yr-old TV (not smart, not even HDTV) and an older receiver through DIRECTV (dish). FYI, I refused their newer receiver about a year ago, because it also came with a newer dish that was HUGE. My current dish (which is on the front of the house) is at least small and unobtrusive, but there was no way I was going to put a massive dish on my pretty old Victorian house. Harrumph!
  • My Internet (with WiFi) is through CenturyLink. They partner (and "bundle" the service) with DIRECTV, so I get 1 combined bill.
  • I also have Amazon Prime, mainly for shopping purposes, but do occasionally watch movies through my Laptop (but not through my TV, since it's not a Smart TV).
  • Yes, I'm in the Dark Ages... I've been limping along with old tech & probably grievously overpaying at the same time. Go ahead... guffaw. Get it out of your system. I knew there were "better things" out there, but I was dealing with other more pressing issues and figured I'd "look the other way" until the situation required my attention. Well, my TV just died today. Attention now required...

So, I just got off the phone with a friend who knew more than me. He was helpful! But, here's where I still have questions/confusion:

  • He said I should get a Smart TV - because that's modern & happenin', and it's what's out there on the shelves... it will also enable me to watch my Amazon prime movies through my TV. All true, right?
  • BTW, the stations I absolutely need are the main networks (NBC, CBS, ABC) and PBS (Masterpiece!!!) and Paramount (because I CANNOT miss "Yellowstone", dammit!). Anything else is gravy. Sooo.... I will plug my smart TV into the power, attach to my WiFi signal - and then what? It will offer me various options from the main screen? Can I access those channels I want through the WiFi/Internet? Are they free? Or, is that what those services like Hulu are for? (I'm still confused about where the "data" itself would be coming from... I mean, there needs to be a data feed! And I don't want an overly complicated situation either where I've got different channels coming from different sources, if that makes sense?). We must "keep it simple, stupid" for me. 
  • Since CenturyLink only bundles it's services with dish companies, and doesn't have its own TV data per se... does this mean I'll have to switch my Internet provider as well if I can't get what I need via WiFi? (Remember, I don't want DIRECTV's big ugly (new) dish... so I guess I'll have to be dropping the DIRECTV service entirely). 
  • Also, these smart TVs seem to come in different "types" (regardless of the brand name) - I see Smart Android TV, Smart Tizen TV, Smart Google TV, Smart Fire TV, Smart webOS TV - is that at all relevant? If I need to get a new data service provider, are all these different types compatible with every service provider? A bit confused by that, too.

OK, have at it. Like everyone else on the planet, I'm smart at some things, dumb at others. And I'm definitely dumb as a stump about technology... as you can probably tell from these questions. :blush: Frankly, I'm amazed (and a bit horrified) to see how truly complicated the television landscape has become. So, kindly keep your advice SIMPLE. Just basic answers to my questions above or my eyes will soon glaze over.... and then spittle may even drip down my chin. ;) Thanks!

Oh, and since Black Friday is zooming up at us, I want to take advantage of the sales on TVs - so fast answers would be helpful, too. :air_kiss:

 

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Ummm.... never mind! I just got a very excellent TV Tutorial from a certain re-homed Texan!  I'll now be investigating streaming services and OTA antennas (and I even have a good sense for what they are). Goodness... a Tech Frankenstein has been created! 

Thank you, @Displaced Texan for being my new tech support guy :wub:... I just hope you don't live to regret your kind offer of being available for more questions! 

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3 minutes ago, Tunaman said:

The Samsung Smart TV's are awesome.  I will only buy Samsung.  The older models from last year can be had for a song at places like Micro Center.

Tex is a fan of the Samsungs as well! Thank you for your recommendation. :)

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For you streaming service I recommend FUBU. They have all three major networks in their packages plus Paramount TV for Yellowstone.

They also have many other channels almost like a cable tv service. You also get a cloud dvr that allows you to record up to 500 hours of programing and no limit on how many recorded at once.

PBS is an issue. I think they have a monthly streaming subscription but I passed due to the expense. This is through PBS not FUBU.

In addition you do not get TBS or Turner Classic or CNN or any other networks affiliated with them.

FUBU offers a free trial so you can check them out.

I like that I can watch anywhere I'm at with the FUBU app so I don't need a TV subscription for the vacation home just an internet connection.

Feel free to PM for more detailed answers to your questions

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I've got a Samsung Smart TV - we use the apps directly on the TV itself - Amazon Prime, Plex, Disney+, Hulu, etc.  I believe Paramount has an app now too.  

I get HD channels without a set top box (we have FIOS) - by law I believe you have to be able to get the broadcast channels - I have my TV's tuner scan for channels and I have CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, PIX11, PBS, and a few other channels.  

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Don't get hung up so much on the "smart" in the TV.  

Hopefully your TV will last for years and years and years.  The tech inside it may become outdated rather quickly.  To remedy this concentrate on finding a TV with the best picutre quality that you are comforatable purchasing price wise.  

You can buy external "smart" devices.  Rokus, Firesticks, etc, etc.  If their tech gets outdated, replace it or upgrade.  A lot cheaper than buying an entirley new TV!

What internet provider are you using?  It sounds like Tex is steering you in the direction of streaming services (Hulu, YoutubeTV, FUBU, etc, etc).  If that's the case all you want from the cable company is reliable internet servie.  No tv.  No phone.  No "triple play".

Think of the streaming services as replacing your cable TV service.  You pick the service that best fits your viewing needs and wants.  Many of them have free 7 or 30 day trials.  Just remember to cancel if you don't like it otherwise you will be charged.  And even if you do subscribe there is no "lock in".  You can cancel every month and try a different service!

We "cut the cord" almost five years ago now.  Wish we had done it sooner.  We use Hulu Live TV as our "cable tv" replacment.  We also have Netflix and Disney+ (which we probably won't be renewing).  We may be replacing Hulu TV in the near future as the price is going up again.  In additioanl to your main streaming service you can purchase "a la carte" services which offer more specific programming.  For example, around this time every year my wife activates a service that includes "The Hallmark Channel" and she binges holiday shows.  After the holidays, we cancel it.  There are also A LOT of free streaming services but they will mostly be older re-runs.  Check out Crackle, Pluto, Tubi, etc.  There's even one that allows you to "rent" movies from your local library!  You just need to have an activie library card.  

Think of all the different streaming service as "apps".  You download the ones you want and don't bother with the others.

Here's a fairly recently article with a nice grid style layout comparing what channels the major streaming service provide.

https://cordcutting.com/compare/live-tv-streaming-service-channels/

Have any questions feel free to ask.

 

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We have two Samsung TV’s probably in 5 to 8 years old range. Even though they are good I think there was an issue with the HDMI ports failing at least on the older sets. I had two TVs with HDMI port failures on two different sets and my neighbor has Samsung and one of his failed as well. Easy workaround is just buy a cheap a A/B or A/B/C HDMI switch to salvage the TV, it s kind of a PIA because it renders the Source button on the remote useless for the port being shared but it works.

As far as the OTA if you’re in a vintage Victorian house you’re probably not going to want to hang an antenna off you house either but you might be able to get away with the small indoor job but they aren't going to have the range as an outdoor. We did the cord cutter thing last year and never looked back. I put up an outdoor and I’m about 8 -9 feet off the roof and about 5 feet above the chimney. It has a amplifier and splitter so I have 3 TV connected to it. Being in Mercer we are right between the Philly and NY broadcast markets. I have it aimed at Philly but sometimes I could get NY off the backside, it mostly just for backup in case the internet goes down but I do use it sometimes. Most of the Philly channels come in perfect no matter what the weather, I once did a side by side with Fios vs.OTA Channel 10 (philly) that broadcast in 1080i with a Golf game (which has the nice bright colors) and you couldn’t tell the difference.  

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Some options:

Dumb TV plus Amazon fire stick ($35) may be cheaper than a “smart tv” and more upgradable.  Amazon’s user interface is actually decent compared to embedded smart tv interfaces.    Amazon also has a bundle that includes the digital antenna to “stream” local channels.  

We have two Visio TV’s with the Roku interface.  They’re ok. Great for the price.  

Any “smart tv” or dongle should support streaming apps to get you the channels you want.  I know Roku, Amazon, Apple all do.  

We use DirectTV Stream. It’s their streaming TV service that is not associated with their satellite TV.   Has all the channels Cable does.  Apps on all devices, phones, tablets.   

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As I discussed with Peel, we have cut cable since moving. 
We are streaming via Sling Blue, plus an OTA antenna. 
 

Our costs in NJ for cable/Internet in NJ was close to $300/month. My company paid the internet bill, so still $200/month. Internet speed was 100Mbps. 
 

Down here, I get 900Mbps internet, plus the cost of Sling, for $120/month. Company pays the internet, so my actual cost is about $45/month. 
 

We may play around with streaming packages, to see what fits our needs the best. I didn’t know Direct Tv had a streaming service, I’ll have to look into that…

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7 minutes ago, 1LtCAP said:

i've got an lg that's only a couple years old.....but i notice that it seems to sorta "pixilate" when there's anything with rapidly flashing lights

What Resolution is it?  Refresh rate?  Model?  LCD vs Plasma vs LED vs OLED?  Not sure if it's the tv/processor/resolution/type.

14 minutes ago, Displaced Texan said:

Our costs in NJ for cable/Internet in NJ was close to $300/month. My company paid the internet bill, so still $200/month. Internet speed was 100Mbps. 
 

I've got 900MBPS (FIOS "1 gigabit") here - with TV I'm paying about $150/month.  It's highly dependent on the area you live in.

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1 hour ago, Krdshrk said:

What Resolution is it?  Refresh rate?  Model?  LCD vs Plasma vs LED vs OLED?  Not sure if it's the tv/processor/resolution/type.

I've got 900MBPS (FIOS "1 gigabit") here - with TV I'm paying about $150/month.  It's highly dependent on the area you live in.

I CAN'T remember....when i get home, i'll check paperwork.

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@Displaced Texan FIOS?  I wish we had an option in my town but stuck with Optimum.

We were is same boat.  Had same cable company for 15 years.  Every year price went up.  I think we were around $225 five years ago when we cut the cord.  Even with Hulu price increase we are probably saving $50 - $75 a month.  With A LOT more programming now.

Cut the cord people!  You'll wish you had done it years ago!!

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31 minutes ago, gleninjersey said:

@Displaced Texan FIOS?  I wish we had an option in my town but stuck with Optimum.

We were is same boat.  Had same cable company for 15 years.  Every year price went up.  I think we were around $225 five years ago when we cut the cord.  Even with Hulu price increase we are probably saving $50 - $75 a month.  With A LOT more programming now.

Cut the cord people!  You'll wish you had done it years ago!!

Not FIOS. We have a company called Suddenlink down here. 

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2 hours ago, gleninjersey said:

@Displaced Texan FIOS?  I wish we had an option in my town but stuck with Optimum.

We were is same boat.  Had same cable company for 15 years.  Every year price went up.  I think we were around $225 five years ago when we cut the cord.  Even with Hulu price increase we are probably saving $50 - $75 a month.  With A LOT more programming now.

Cut the cord people!  You'll wish you had done it years ago!!

I got rid of cable TV years ago. Don’t miss it at all.  Though using the tv streaming services like DirectTV stream, YouTubeTV, etc it’s essentially the same thing.   Still have to pay cable company for internet and those prices still go up up up. M

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10 hours ago, Krdshrk said:

What Resolution is it?  Refresh rate?  Model?  LCD vs Plasma vs LED vs OLED?  Not sure if it's the tv/processor/resolution/type.

I've got 900MBPS (FIOS "1 gigabit") here - with TV I'm paying about $150/month.  It's highly dependent on the area you live in.

lg webos tv um7370pua

 

 i think it's led. most everything's as it was set when delivered. not connected to the interweb

 

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16 hours ago, 1LtCAP said:

i've got an lg that's only a couple years old.....but i notice that it seems to sorta "pixilate" when there's anything with rapidly flashing lights

Id bet 95% chance it is compression in whatever you are watching causing it. If the stream is only lets say 8mbps at 1080p, it can handle normal stuff fine. Fast panning, large stadium crowds, rough water surfaces, and other high contrast/detail and/or fast changing scenes overwhelm the amount of bandwidth available, be it cable, streaming, or satellite. Video codecs typically just worry about changes in a scene, so a calm cloudless blue sky scene uses way less bandwidth than a scene with flashing police lights where the entire scene keeps rapidly changing back and forth between red and blue. 

A bluray or computer connected to that same TV will very likely produce a nearly perfect picture because those are not bandwidth limited.

I suppose low signal strength or other issues could be a cause too, but I still say its your content itself.

 

-----

 

I have a Sharp 4k, and while it is a smart TV, I do not use the smart features as I have mine connected to a 4k bluray, pc(s), etc. and have no need - any of those devices are more powerful than what is on the tv.

Not that it is terribly likely to matter to Mrs. Peel, but a lot of basic (cheaper) tvs have fewer connection options like only 2 HDMI, which could somewhat limit future add-ons without a splitter.

If I were suggesting a new TV, I would be looking for at least a local dimming/QLED TV and avoid the cheapest of the cheap TVs.

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I have the Apple TV connected to my Samsung’s. This way that little processor in the tv just runs the image processing, while the Apple handles the streaming and video/sound conversions and processing. It’s a nice interface, and the apps are always kept updated. 
 

Depending on the channels you want, there are lots of good free tv apps, I currently use Pluto (which is owned by ViacomCBS).  If you also get a cheap Roku box, they also have a free live streaming app.  Lots of live streaming themed channels all free.  For paid, I use Hulu ad-free. 

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I want you to picture the bagel I had the other day. 
 

It was round like a bagel, and had the appropriate hole in the middle. It was covered in poppy seeds. Had the consistency of a Kaiser roll. 
 

NOT a bagel…

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6 hours ago, Displaced Texan said:

Pizza is better in NJ….

I can’t remember the last time I was concerned about a rattlesnake at my vacation home in NJ.   

 

probably because I can’t afford a vacation.  Or a vacation home in NJ. 

  • Haha 2

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