I have a Smart TV. It’s not overly smart. It’s a Samsung, and looks quite nice, but the interface was seemingly designed by a sadist. The TV runs on-demand ‘apps’, which take ages to load; Freeview audio is always out of sync, despite Samsung going ARGLE WARGLE WILL FIX SOON HONEST BARGLE at regular intervals; the panes within the interface lurch and spin as you switch between them; and the menus seem to have mistaken accessing options for an exciting game of hide the settings.
But what’s most struck me of late is how temporary the ‘smart’ bit seems to be. This telly is about a year old, but now barely a week goes by without a little message appearing at the top of the screen about a service ending. Mostly, these are for apps I don’t really care about, but Samsung itself pulled off a doozy last summer, removing 40 per cent of the front end, so it, apparently, could make improvements and add new features in the future. Naturally, there have been no improvements and no new features since.
What gets me is that tellies are all-in-one units, which are designed to last many years, but it’s clear the software on them isn’t. And this has made me reconsider what I’d go for in future — a much dumber TV to which you can attach an Apple TV or equivalent box. At least those appear to have a bit more of a future, cost little to replace if you want to upgrade or switch units, and tend to add more capabilities over time rather than take them away.