Smart TVs are having a rotten couple of weeks, and it proves why you should buy a separate media streaming device
- Just like smartphones and computers, smart TVs eventually become obsolete because they can't run the apps you like.
- That's what's happening to some older models of Samsung and Vizio TVs, which won't support the Netflix app starting on December 2, 2019.
- Sometimes, even newer smart TVs may not support a streaming channel altogether, like Vizio's TVs and Disney's new Disney Plus streaming channel.
- These are weaknesses that can be remedied by inexpensive media streaming devices like a Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV, or an Apple TV.
- If you already have a game console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you don't need a streaming device, as those consoles support many of the popular streaming apps.
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Smart TVs have had a no good, rotten, very bad couple of weeks recently.First, Samsung and Vizio announced that the Netflix app won't work on older smart TV models because they won't support a newer standard of digital rights management (DRM) software that Netflix is using, according to Gizmodo.
The latest on Disney Plus availability from Vizio is: "We are working closely with Disney and will announce the availability of the Disney+ app on VIZIO SmartCast TVs closer to launch. Thank you for your patience and support."
These two events have surfaced one key weakness in smart TVs - while the picture might still be good, the built-in computers that make these TVs "smart" will become old and outdated, just like a regular computer or smartphone.That was never an issue on "dumb" TVs that are purely screens without built-in computers to run apps and stream content over the internet. To be clear, I'm not saying that smart TVs are bad. This is just becoming one more reality we have to face as tech and services evolve: Smart gadgets that run apps all inevitably become outdated. It's a harder hit than usual with TVs because they might still display your TV shows and movies perfectly well.
So what does this all mean? It means that you should buy a streaming device like a Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV instead of relying on your smart TV's smarts.
Even if your smart TV still supports all the apps you use, a good streaming stick could run faster and smoother.
Compared to the cost of buying a new TV, streaming devices are cheap:
- A Roku streaming stick for 1080p TVs goes for $25, and a stick that supports 4K resolution and HDR for $40. Premium and fast models cost $50 and $100.
- Google's Chromecasts range between $35 for 1080p resolution to $70 for the Chromecast Ultra for 4K HDR.
- Amazon's Fire TV devices range from the Fire TV Stick for 1080p for $35, the Fire TV Stick Plus with 4K HDR for $50, and the premium Fire TV Cube for $120.
- Unsurprisingly, Apple's TV HD streaming box is among the most expensive, starting at $150 for 1080p resolution, and $180 for the Apple TV 4K.
Note that even streaming sticks are vulnerable to obsolescence. The Netflix app won't work on some of the very first Roku streaming devices for the same DRM reasons as older Samsung TVs. Still, the fix for an outdated Roku stick only costs between $25 and $100.
Not a dumb question. I'm trying to cast to my Vizio and it's showing that Disney+ isn't supported on this device. Strange being that the TV isn't even 2-years old. pic.twitter.com/QoCdGP0KJL- Ben Peterson (@BPinAZ1975) November 12, 2019
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