Wednesday, January 04, 2023

You Might Think You Could Easily Find Something That Was Everywhere Just a Few Short Years Ago, But You'd Be Wrong

So, the TV disaster the other day:

We were doing some rearranging, and that rearranging included moving the 67.5" ONN Roku Smart TV off of an improvised platform, getting rid of that improvised platform (an old coffee table with an old shelving unit atop it), and replacing the improvised platform with an entertainment center from Tamara's parents' estate.

Everything went OK, until we got the TV back into position atop the new entertainment center. And then: Damaged screen. TV powers on, but the screen is black other than a spider web of color.

OK, no biggie. My daughter was recently given a similarly sized "dumb" plasma TV that's just been taking up space in an inconvenient location, so I borrowed that, set it up, ordered an inexpensive standalone streaming device (Roku Express 4K -- I'd have foregone the "4K" model, but it was on sale for only a buck more than the basic model, and comes with a voice remote), assigned Tamara to research whether screen repair/replacement was feasible, and if not I'd look at new TVs (in theory, the plasma will leave when my daughter moves out, which isn't something I expect to happen soon).

Screen repair: At least $100.

Price paid for the TV: $268.

Age of the TV: 2.5 years.

That doesn't seem like a worthwhile investment, especially since I now have a streaming device I can just plug into a "dumb" TV.

So, how much do "dumb" TVs cost versus "smart" TVs?

If you can find one -- I found only one in that size range on Amazon after looking through several pages of results -- at least as much as many, and more than most, "smart" TVs of similar size.

I guess I can see the logic. The electronics to make a TV "smart" are obviously cheap (since plug-in streaming devices go for as little as $15 or so), and most people probably want "smart" TVs. It may just not be worth manufacturing "dumb" models anymore, except maybe for tiny units that are as likely to be used as e.g. computer monitors as for living room entertainment centers.

Of course, I'm not finding anything like a $268 deal on the equivalent of the old TV (if I'm getting "smart," it's going to be Roku, not Fire, etc.). But I bet I will at some point, and I can wait.

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