Smart TVs increasingly not so smart

For me it started a while ago, my Vizio V705x-H1, which wasn’t even a year old, started dropping the wired network connection. At first I suspected a bad port and switched to WiFi, which seemed fine for a while until yet another Vizio update came along and I discovered if I was streaming real 4K content (not talking what Amazon and Netflix pass off as 4K,) I’d suddenly be informed that I had no network connection.

Basically the IP stack is crashing when there’s a lot of data and video processing going on. I can reproduce in a couple of apps, although Plex is the main one I crash the TV with.

This week sees Roku issuing an update that destroys YouTube TV on both integrated and external devices. Issue is known and being worked on.

Besides TV manufactures pushing buggy updates it appears that YouTube TV is also pushing updates that are affecting other platforms including Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, and consoles.

Perhaps, and just hear me out here now, it’s time for all these streaming platform developers to work together to create one working app that streams video content correctly rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel every time, which looks remarkably similar per streaming service. Personally I see little substantiative difference between Peacock, Hulu, Plex, Amazon Prime, etc once “play” is pushed.

It really seems at this point you could just have one streaming app and push config files for how it looks and behaves to the end user and then support that one app. Failing that just one streaming API that manufacturers can use that can be called at the system level. Having lockups? Go to settings, use “safe mode streaming API”. Something similar. The having to wait weeks for a fix is abysmal delivery on an expected service.

My kids know now how to spot the internet not working on the TV and how to reboot it through the admin menu. Also how to verify that the internet is actually up and running without touching a device. I mean, I’m proud of ’em and all but a 6yo telling me in broken 6yo-ish that Google works and the TV’s being rebooted is an interesting ticketing system I didn’t know I’d be processing these days.

It just seems like this should be fixed and standardized.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts