In Defense of Dumb TVs

I lucked into a Seiki SE39UY04 around 2013, famous for their budget pricing (I paid barely $300) and beautiful 4K Innolux 4:4:4 10-bit panels limited by their lackluster innards.

I bought it specifically because it was dumb and because you could easily modify and reflash to enable true 1080_120, but I only really felt I’d hit the lottery when ZisWorks designed and released a 2160_120 DP board replacement that exposed the full quality of the panel.

That’s the level of customizability and ownership really gets my interest, and I have the same feeling about what’s to come with Framework. Excellent work, and I’m excited to see what you’ll inspire!

If you live in the US, or somewhere else with Facebook buy/sell and marketplace, the amount of people selling their used TVs is crazy. I see like-new 40" 1080p TVs selling alm the time for like $50-100, or sometimes 4K TVs for like $150.

Where do you look for those? Can you find them at a reasonable price and picture quality? I have been looking for large monitors with no wifi, lan or smarts built in and I haven’t found many options (europe/spain)

@cameron_lambert Maybe even thrift stores, my parents and I found 2 big plasma displays for 20 bucks each. One of them only goes up to 720p but they don’t seem to notice and otherwise it looks completely fine. Down the line it might need the backlight replaced but for now it works great.

Plasmas generate their own light and don’t need a backlight. :slightly_smiling_face:

I hate the smart capabilities of TVs, I always end up with a preferred net box or such attached anyway because the TV apps are basic and sluggish at best

There are places for “dumb” TV’s and “smart” TV’s. Just in different peoples hands. Dumb TV’s are better for one simple reason, less components that can fail, generally dumb TV’s should last longer than smart TV’s. I can understand why people like “smart” TV’s as it’s easier to access their streaming platforms like Netflix, Stan, YouTube. Whatever floats your boat.

1 Like

@Fraoch That might be an issue then. Oh well the flickering is probably fine.

I was given a 42" Panasonic plasma last summer, all I needed was a cord, stand and remote.

There are lots of brightness controls which seem to be tied to a high voltage power supply that flickers the image slightly. By default, it is eye-searingly bright. If you turn it down to a more reasonable value, it gets dimmer but it also seems to flicker a bit. Then my wife noticed that dark scenes were too dark, obscuring detail. There’s a setting to reduce this but it makes the darks greyish and increases flicker a bit more.

The model I have has ambient lighting brightness adjustment, that also added flicker and caused the brightness to float up and down distractingly.

Then later plasma models had methods to prevent burn-in by shifting stationary images a few pixels back and forth, you could be seeing this too.

But since this is high-voltage, high power electronics, a component could be failing and allowing a ripple to get through. It shouldn’t be THAT pronounced.

On mine, what bothers me more than flicker is the audible whine the electronics make and its shift in pitch as the image changes.

So… you want a monitor?

If the world was a better place, every TV would be just a monitor and you’d plug in your own Roku or Apple TV.
Unfortunately, the monitor market is stagnant–all of the significant new display tech goes to TVs first, and I don’t think they sell 42" monitors.

The difference between a smart TV and a dumb TV? Maybe one socket and two chips costing $15.

As mentioned already, monitors are essentially dumb TVs.

I switch off all the ‘smart’ features on my TV and just hook a FireTV stick to it. But all you are doing is shifting the ‘smart’ stuff externally.

I would Love to see Framework to tackle the TV market with a great designed product which has repairability in mind!
My feature set wish list:
4x HDMI 2.1 with 4k 120 Hz support
1x eARC
Good image quality
No speakers, better a good cooperation with a sound bar manufacturer! Maybe as a optional bundle of sorts
Updates can be done via USB. No wifi bulit in!

1 Like

except they aren’t. TVs have tuner circuits, monitors do not.


Yes and who watches broadcast TV nowadays? Your Grandad? Take a monitor and plug what you want into it.


My whole family actually. Neither my parents nor my sister are sufficiently competent to use streaming services and wouldn’t pay for them even if they could use them. Nor would our net connection support more than one person using streaming at any given time.


Oh dear. :expressionless:

Maybe offer a Module with tuner and basic OS for viewing tv which can be used via a HDMI port?

For those in the UK, Cello make a TV with just Freeview tuner in (i.e. a dumb TV): 43” Full HD LED TV With Built-in Freeview T2 HD - Cello Electronics (UK) Ltd

Free-to-air TV in UK is still pretty good, even though Sky, Netflix, Amazon et al are doing their best to corner and fragment the market.

I was in a camper earlier this year, so I bought a 32" computer monitor, adjustable/swiveling stand and used a BT speaker I had along with my 2018 Nvidia Shield, I’d say that counts as a dumb TV. My Shield has a custom launcher so no ads like the newer units. I believe that the Shield is the best streamer/ local file playback box you can buy. My friends replaced their Roku with a newer HDR Shield and they LOVE it. I had to buy the triangular remote after using theirs…

1 Like