Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Jan 2015 22:48 UTC
In the News

So, what happens to existing Google TV devices now that Android TV is supposedly the future?

Existing Google TV devices and all of the features of these devices will continue to work, and so will the apps you've developed for the Google TV platform. A small subset of Google TV devices will be updated to Android TV, but most Google TV devices won't support the new platform.

No updates? Well, I guess Google wanted to maintain consistency with regular Android.

But wait! Google isn't the only incompetent player in smart TVs.

This is bad. Really. Got the info from LG: "2014 webOS TV models cannot be upgraded to webOS 2.0. Only 2015 TVs will come with webOS 2.0."

Smart TVs suck. Apple, when you're done with that horribly ugly watch of yours, please show them how smart TVs are done.

Order by: Score:
Indeed
by krakal on Tue 6th Jan 2015 22:56 UTC
krakal
Member since:
2015-01-03

"Smart TVs suck. Apple, when you're done with that horribly ugly watch of yours, please show them how smart TVs are done."

I hope so. That Apple Watch is getting uglier every time I look at the pictures. What the hell were they thinking?

Reply Score: 2

Hmmm
by cosmotic on Tue 6th Jan 2015 23:14 UTC
cosmotic
Member since:
2010-01-31

If this new Apple Smart TV is anything like iOS or Yosemite, no thanks.

Reply Score: 1

Apple?
by Bobthearch on Tue 6th Jan 2015 23:15 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

Apple, when you're done with that horribly ugly watch of yours, please show them how smart TVs are done.


Yeah, they'll add a rounded corner and double the price. LOL.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Apple?
by darknexus on Wed 7th Jan 2015 02:45 UTC in reply to "Apple?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

And you'll be able to watch only Apple-approved channels.

Reply Score: 2

What else is new?
by moondevil on Tue 6th Jan 2015 23:22 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

When will people learn that appliances don't get updates?

Any manufacturer is going to sell new models, not provide free updates.

Specially given how tight margins are.

It was always been like that since the home computers got introduced.

PCs are one of the few computer architectures where software updates were possible.

Reply Score: 3

RE: What else is new?
by Nico57 on Tue 6th Jan 2015 23:37 UTC in reply to "What else is new?"
Nico57 Member since:
2006-12-18

Depends on wether you want to increase customer satisfaction and strengthen your brand, or meet short term market figures.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What else is new?
by Alfman on Wed 7th Jan 2015 04:27 UTC in reply to "What else is new?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

moondevil,

When will people learn that appliances don't get updates?


This is exactly why the technology should be open. Open technology benefits all of us, even those who might not realize it at the time.

If, by some kind of goodwill or mandate, these consumer devices were genuinely open and the software could be unbundled from the hardware without hacking it, then we wouldn't be so dependent upon the manufacturers who are holding all the cards and are willing to screw us when we loose economic value to them. As for manufacturer support, no big deal, just give consumers an easy way to revert factory defaults and only support that.

This would be so awesome it might even persuade me to "come out of retirement" and go back to doing indy OS dev, which I used to love doing as a bobby prior to the proliferation of locked platforms. It's always been tough for indy OS devs to find an audience, but I find it truly depressing that we're not even welcome to try any more. We're forced to resort to exploiting vulnerabilities, testing against devices we probably don't own, debugging undocumented hardware, bricked hardware, etc. The barrier to entry is just to high for hobbyists to make viable alternatives, which is a shame.


The problem is "openness" doesn't occur to typical consumers when they choose their technology, and this fact ultimately encourages manufacturers to push for more proprietary/vendor-locked/planned obsolescent tech. Since nearly all major manufacturers will target the typical consumer, this unfortunately leaves fewer options for people like me who would love to support the technology with alternatives.

Edited 2015-01-07 04:31 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: What else is new?
by oskeladden on Wed 7th Jan 2015 09:21 UTC in reply to "What else is new?"
oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

When will people learn that appliances don't get updates?

Any manufacturer is going to sell new models, not provide free updates.


This is a new phenomenon. Until recently, nobody expected free updates. When I bought my HTC Wizard, I certainly wasn't expecting HTC to update it from WinMo 5 to WinMo 6. People who bought phones running S40 or S60 didn't expect them to be updated to the newest versions.

Consumer expectations only changed when manufacturers and the tech commentariat began leading them to expect updates. If updates are viewed as being essential now, that's because consumers have in the past five or six years been encouraged by the manufacturers themselves to view updates as part of the package they've paid for.

Reply Score: 3

RE: What else is new?
by Lobotomik on Wed 7th Jan 2015 09:44 UTC in reply to "What else is new?"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

For hard wired appliances or those with simple microcontrollers, no updates was OK, as out of the box they worked as well as they ever would. But for a smart TV you NEED updates to turn what you bought into what you were sold.

Software in a smart TV is VERY complex. Linux might be well debugged, but the layer on top is usually some half baked POS from the manufacturer, with bugs like a locust plague. Promised features are missing, others do not work well, or the system hangs, or comms fail... You obviously cannot trust the likes of LG or Samsung to write and maintain a decent user interface. They don't have the knowhow, and they don't invest the resources.

I have an LG WebOS TV, and it is nice, but needs work. Now I know it won't get it. It suits me right, for trusting LG into producing professional software, when they have never ever written anything but crap. I will sooner or later put away that Magic Remote, get some smart TV puck from Amazon, Google, or Apple, use the TV as a dumb monitor, and let all that POS zombieware rot.

Reply Score: 4

bryanv
Member since:
2005-08-26

Displays should be stupid.

Reply Score: 2

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

Why? The number of people who use Roku's, FireTV's, HTPCs, etc etc is relatively small. Whereas what most people who have smart TVs want to do is watch some combination of Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu+, etc which is what most SmartTVs support.

All of those aforementioned services seem committed to supporting legacy devices for some time. So it isn't like they will stop working anytime soon.

So even if they can't be upgraded they are smart enough for what most consumers want to do. For those who need more will get some kind of intermediary devices like those I mentioned above.

As tech savvy people we all too often fall into the trap of assuming everyone is just like us. Whereas most people just want to do a handful of things and don't even think (or care) about things like upgradability

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

As tech savvy people we all too often fall into the trap of assuming everyone is just like us. Whereas most people just want to do a handful of things and don't even think (or care) about things like upgradability


Hey, that's fine. Let the tech tards spend an extra $500 on a smart TV to get the same functionality they could get in a $40 streaming stick, and that will be outdated in 3-5 years. As long as we still have the option to buy 'dumb terminals'.

Reply Score: 0

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

So let us pretend that your numbers represent the normal price difference between a normal TV vs a smart tv, and the average cost of an android stick (you don't actually say what kind of stick so I am making an assumption).

People who aren't tech savvy aren't stupid, they just have other things they care about in their life. Technology is a tool to get something done. So if you value your time at $50/hr and the time it takes to lean everything you need to learn and set everything up is vaguely near 10 hours then the price difference is worth it.

I know plenty of people who simply don't care about their TV aside from wanting to watch stuff on it. I don't see that as a reason to insult them...

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

So let us pretend that your numbers represent the normal price difference between a normal TV vs a smart tv, and the average cost of an android stick (you don't actually say what kind of stick so I am making an assumption).


There are several at that price, not the least of which is the Chromecast and Fire stick. (In fact, I paid $20 for my Fire Stick.) And think of all the people who already have streaming devices in their house, whether it be set-top boxes, DVD/blu-ray players, game consoles, etc.

I know plenty of people who simply don't care about their TV aside from wanting to watch stuff on it. I don't see that as a reason to insult them...


With the end result being TVs being more expensive with all of this crap added in. But hey, I don't care, so long as I can just buy a dumb TV with equivalent video/audio quality with a few hundred dollars knocked off the price.

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

With the end result being TVs being more expensive with all of this crap added in. But hey, I don't care, so long as I can just buy a dumb TV with equivalent video/audio quality with a few hundred dollars knocked off the price.


To be fair though, it's just the early adopters that pay these premiums. By the time it becomes mainstream it will be cheaper to mass produce all TVs with the smart parts than to have engineers design entirely new SKUs without those parts. Keep in mind that even dumb TVs need CPUs & digital codecs, so it's not necessarily going to need much more hardware to turn it into a "smart" appliance.

Think of how Intel & AMD both mark down the price of CPUs rated at lower speeds & capabilities even when they're often from the same physical fab as the more expensive CPUs. I can remember using conductive paint on AMD chips to restore functionality that had been disabled by cutting leads. Could that be considered stealing? Haha.


Anyways I'd rather we didn't get hung up on this, so what if a smart TV was really just a "dumb tv" with an ethernet port and slot for a small HDMI (or similar) port on the inside to add the "smarts"? You wouldn't be opposed to it then, right? I actually think external HDMI dongle design introduces more redundant electronic components overall (ie additional CPUs, encoders & decoders), but maybe it could be a good tradeoff.

Edited 2015-01-08 05:03 UTC

Reply Score: 3

tvs os
by Adurbe on Wed 7th Jan 2015 09:00 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

People don't tend to upgrade their tvs anyway. Mine (inspite of having ethernet) needs to be upgraded with a convoluted usb process. Will there be new features? No. It wouldn't even occur to my mother that a TV needs upgrading..

If companies want you to care about your tv os, include a P/DVR and 1tb or so drive in it. Only then would I consider using it instead of just a means of selecting my xbox's hdmi port

Reply Score: 3

RE: tvs os
by Fergy on Wed 7th Jan 2015 09:10 UTC in reply to "tvs os"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

People don't tend to upgrade their tvs anyway. Mine (inspite of having ethernet) needs to be upgraded with a convoluted usb process. Will there be new features? No. It wouldn't even occur to my mother that a TV needs upgrading..

I have a $285 LG tv that updated itself twice since I bought it. Just via ethernet. The speed of the interface is also reasonable. I just wish it would act more like a monitor. When it goes in standby my computer doesn't see it anymore and moves everything to the secondary monitor.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: tvs os
by Adurbe on Wed 7th Jan 2015 14:55 UTC in reply to "RE: tvs os"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

out of interest, did the updates provide new features?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: tvs os
by Fergy on Wed 7th Jan 2015 19:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: tvs os"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

out of interest, did the updates provide new features?

I haven't found any ;)
Probably updates so apps for netflix and youtube keep working.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Wed 7th Jan 2015 09:37 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

I think Smart TVs will eventually go the way of the Dodo, and something like this will replace it:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-compute-stick,28356.html

...and be bundled with TVs, or rebates offered, or something to that effect.

Plug it into a dumb TV, and there go you. Eventually, it'll be powered by the HDMI port itself.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by moondevil on Wed 7th Jan 2015 12:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Already possible, no need to wait for Intel

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Smart-PC-IT-JOY-Stick-JT-SmartPC01-Android/...

Just don't expect updates.

Reply Score: 2

Re:
by kurkosdr on Wed 7th Jan 2015 12:55 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

They also pulled the developer tools. I hate the fact that when Google deep-sixes something, it does it in such an "in your face" way.

Reply Score: 2

LOL
by techweenie1 on Wed 7th Jan 2015 13:33 UTC
techweenie1
Member since:
2008-10-15

Given that now none of Apple's Hardware is upgradable what makes you think they won't continue down this path and make their hardware's software un-upgradable, that way they can continue to get more $$$...I really can't wait until this thinking bites them in the ass, if it weren't for OS X I would have told them to take a hike...I hope a company that doesn't get too big, bloated and corrupt as hell (things that all go hand-in-hand) comes around with a superior OS...I'm sick of defending Apple.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Lorin
by Lorin on Wed 7th Jan 2015 14:21 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

Only thing Apple can do right is borrow other peoples designs and over time with the right marketing convince everyone that they invented it.

Imagine though a TV that only allows you to watch the channels that Apple approves of after receiving their cut from the Broadcast industry.

Edited 2015-01-07 14:22 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Updates for TVs
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 7th Jan 2015 14:25 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

They should fall into one of a coupe categories:

1) New Functionaility/UI. Don't really care if I don't get a new UI or functions that didn't come with my TV when I bought it.

2) Improvements to buggy functions/UI. This I care about. If there aren't fixes for various bugs, and if the UI that it shipped with was anoyingly slow or something, I'd really care about the updates and be pissed if the tv wasn't updated.


3) Security fixes. Smart tv's have a full tcp/ip stack and are probably vulnrable to all sorts of attacks to someone inside the network. With a decent firewall between it and the internet you should be ok, as long as a USB drive with a windows virus doesn't cause issues. So they aren't critical, but would be nice

4) Content app providers still support older versions. If these LG tv's built in 2014 don't get their apps supported by the likes of amazon, netflix, google, and hulu, that's terrible. I'd be pissed.

Reply Score: 3

Dumb TVs please
by whartung on Wed 7th Jan 2015 20:21 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

My latest TV is dumb as a hammer. There was no way I was going to get a smart TV.

I want my TV to turn on, and turn off, and have volume. And let me choose which input to see. That's about the extent of it. I don't want it to automatically update, I don't want it plugged in to the internet, or anything else. Just turn on, turn off.

Any "smarts" I want for my TV will be plugged in via one of those inputs. Those smarts are fast moving and disposable. External "smarts" is only marginally more expensive than internal "smarts", until the "smarts" fail.

The world is complicated enough without adding complexity to something as bone stupid as a TV. I already have a satellite receiver, I already have a DVD player, I already have an Apple TV. Those are all swappable, disposable, upgradeable in their own right, etc. They can fail on their own without taking down the entire ecosystem.

SImple is as simple does. Worst case now is managing remotes, and a universal remote mostly solves that problem.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Dumb TVs please
by Alfman on Wed 7th Jan 2015 22:10 UTC in reply to "Dumb TVs please"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

whartung,

Any "smarts" I want for my TV will be plugged in via one of those inputs. Those smarts are fast moving and disposable. External "smarts" is only marginally more expensive than internal "smarts", until the "smarts" fail.


Every time this discussion comes up, we have people pushing this view that all smarts can simply be attached behind HDMI. But with a bunch of separate HDMI boxes behind a digital selector switch you can't get a highly integrated experience. Every HDMI device is exclusive to all others at any given time. I've explained it fairly well in this thread already:
http://www.osnews.com/thread?580094


If I want to develop my own "HDMI" device for dumb TVs (say with a raspberry pi), that immediately limits me to the proximity of the TV, which is rather archaic in today's age of ubiquitous networking.

Another problem with dumb TVs is that now you need separate units to attach to every dumb TV. If you only have one device you'll obviously have to juggle it between TVs. Smart TV can liberate us from the logistical constraints imposed by dumb TVs with HDMI.

Mutually exclusive HDMI screens is another huge limitation, which impedes "smart" features. When I'm watching a DVD, I can't get the caller id popup feature that shows up on the cable box. When I'm watching the cable box, I can't answer the skype like I would when the xbox is selected. In this way all "smart HDMI" solutions become isolated islands. The smarts are stuck behind dumb non-integrated TV interfaces, as we see today.

Mind you there are many reasons I'm not advocating any of today's proprietary smart TVs. However I would like people to understand why dumb TVs + smart HDMI boxes comes up very short of what a ubiquitous smart TV standard should be in the future. What I'm advocating would be a smart TV standard that allows the TV to do what it does best, but do so in a way that facilitates integration with applications running around the house without the need to attach ever more dongles to our TVs, because HDMI.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Dumb TVs please
by WorknMan on Wed 7th Jan 2015 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Dumb TVs please"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Every time this discussion comes up, we have people pushing this view that all smarts can simply be attached behind HDMI.


Straw man, as nobody is saying that. If TVs actually start doing something useful that you couldn't accomplish with a $40 HDMI dongle, and that would stay up to date for 10+ years, then we'll talk.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Dumb TVs please
by Alfman on Thu 8th Jan 2015 01:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dumb TVs please"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

Straw man, as nobody is saying that.


Haha, you know you are supposed to verify that nobody's said it before calling it a "strawman" ;) So far Drumhellar and whartung have both explicitly said smarts should be behind HDMI and I suspect Thom thinks the same.

Anyways, as it stands I don't blame them or anyone else for disliking today's smart TVs, which are proprietary and vendor locked.

If TVs actually start doing something useful that you couldn't accomplish with a $40 HDMI dongle, and that would stay up to date for 10+ years, then we'll talk.


I don't really care if the smarts are in a dongle or in the TV, that choice is up to the owner. It seems kind of illogical to have such a standard and then not implement it in the TV though. After all it won't be ubiquitous until it works out of the box. Never the less it doesn't have a baring on the merits of a standard. Having "smart tv" integration standards that work between brands and devices without having to rely on numerous unnecessary HDMI dongles connected to all the TVs would be good for consumers. There's just so many things one can't do so long as we're stuck with HDMI without smart integration standards.

If it were done right, the standards should make technology easier to use, not more complex. Plug in the TV into the lan, and viola all your other smart devices are there ready for you to operate via your TV's remote. Have two TV's, no problem! If you have a stereo system, now instead of having to physically wire it up to everything that might supply an audio feed, integration standards would let you wire it up virtually (ie computer, tablet, TV, DVD, streaming radio, game console, etc).

Edited 2015-01-08 01:39 UTC

Reply Score: 3