back to article Knackered Euro server turns Panasonic smart TVs into dumb TVs

Owners of Panasonic smart TVs say their sets have been unable to access applications – including video-streaming apps – because backend servers keep falling over. The Panasonic UK Twitter feed has been beset by folks demanding answers and refunds after their expensive Firefox OS-based tellies refused to work properly. The TVs …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Not very smart

    What with their inability to work if they can't phone home, the manufacturer's inability to support network services, the data slurping, and 3rd parties getting bored and pulling apps (e.g. Skype) which may make expensive additional hardware worthless (e.g. Skype), the smart money is on a dumb TV with a cheap Chinese Android stick.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Not very smart

      It's why the IoT is doomed to fail, at least as a domestic idea. Everything needs to be connected to some remote server, and even if the servers work they'll be decommissioned in < 5 years as the devices they serve are declared obsolete (even when they're still in use) and replaced with "new improved" ones. People won't tolerate being asked to replace a TV every few years, and will soon get fed up even with replacing gadgets. One new chinese Android stick every 5 years is one thing, but when it's a TV this year, remote next year, two TV sticks the year after, set-top box every 3 years, etc. it all adds up to "I've had enough of this crap".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not very smart

        "People won't tolerate being asked to replace a TV every few years, and will soon get fed up even with replacing gadgets"

        This is the thing. They're buying a gadget along with a (seemingly) free lifetime subscription to various services. It's not reasonable to assume that this lifetime subscription is in no way cost effective and consumers should be taking everything with a pinch of salt.

        Although you could quite easily argue that the sale of such products is dubiously misleading - the manufacturers must surely know they can't keep providing these services forever as newer services will inevitably replace them. Expecting a consumer to know/realise this too, is rather unfair.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Not very smart

      I agree, its very annoying seeing services pulled from the TV!

      While I like the smartness of my smart tv (mainly the iPlayer, UV services and the ability to use DLNA) I am also aware that it all has a limited lifespan, and my backup will be a Raspberry Pi at some point.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Not very smart

        It's worked for Playstation for a long time. They just need to come up with some new gimmick.

      2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Not very smart

        I use Pi, not perfect but can usually find a way. My advice is buy the dumbest TV that gives you the screen tech you want and buy an open computer system to add the smarts.

  2. Flatpackhamster

    WELL

    I bought a Panasonic wifi chip for my Panasonic plasma TV and it never worked so I sent it back and got another one and that didn't work so I sent it back and...the third one didn't work either, so I tested it in a chum's TV and it didn't work there.

    And the 'smart' features in my TV don't work. And some of them which did work stopped working (eg Youtube, iPlayer) after they were decreed obsolete

    And the 'smart' features of my set top box / blu ray player barely ever work properly, and they're slow and buggy, and it doesn't stream media very well.

    So I won't be buying any more Panasonic gear and it looks like I'm not the only one!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WELL

      Agree with every word. Been a long term Panasonic fan too, probably because my Uncle was a dealer when I was a kid. The smart features of my plasma are very basic but the network software is buggy and apps slow. Had a wireless stick, took it out as it used to cause my TV to reboot randomly with a big clunk.

      Second cheaper smart Panasonic TV responds maddeningly slowly to the remote, after switching on you have to wait a minute or two before it will respond, it even buffers up commands which is more annoying, same happens sometimes when you change channel.

      Blu ray player home cinema works well, pvr is dreadful and has a mind of its own.

      Had loads of issues with things rebooting, refusing to work together until I purchased expensive HDMI cables.

      Love the plasma but not Panasonic. Love Amazon fire stick, Panasonc smart features suck.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: WELL

        smart Panasonic TV responds maddeningly slowly to the remote, after switching on you have to wait a minute or two before it will respond">

        Funny, I have a little LG set upstairs which exhibits that very same behaviour, but the Panasonic smart TV downstairs runs like hot snot. That said, the selection of apps in the Panasonic store is pretty poor, so when it comes to replacement time I don't think I'll be buying Panasonic again.

    2. Lee D

      Re: WELL

      That's not unique to Panasonic. The Skype for TV app has just been discontinued too - anyone with that app on their TV, no matter what brand, won't be able to use it soon.

      This is part of the reason I deliberately avoided "smart" TV's - I don't want to have to update, upgrade, manage and secure yet-another-PC in the house. I bought a 32" dumb Samsung display instead. Into that we plug all our content-producing devices that can be removed or updated individually. But, to be honest, apart from the VM box, we don't really have to ever touch much. When the Wii we had was declared obsolete, we still had YouTube and even Amazon Instant Video apps on the Blu-Ray, or via the Chromecast, or even the cheap satellite box we had.

      A TV is a display device. The more junk you expect it to do, the quicker it will obsolete some part of itself. But if you just buy a TV with however-many HDMI ports on the back, you can plug in whatever you like. And then whatever-content doesn't work, the big TV that you are used to the look and operation of, sitting bolted to your wall, doesn't have to move or change at all. You just swap out the box producing the content and use an alternative.

      The people I know with Smart TV's all stopped using the apps on them within a year or so. They basically wasted the extra money. Whereas I've gone through two Chromecasts, (mainly because the new one runs on 5GHz and my 5GHz channels are much quieter) and that's it. Everything else is still connected and working for its primary purpose (e.g. Blu-Ray / Satellite / Cable / streaming / whatever) and I haven't lost access to any particular service (not that I'd do YouTube via a STB, but I still can via a myriad of options without having to resort to a laptop).

      Dumb TV. Smart content devices. The other way round is just silly.

    3. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: WELL

      So I won't be buying any more Panasonic gear and it looks like I'm not the only one!

      Panasonic made it to my "Do not buy" list when they in their infinite wisdom thought it wasn't enough that they got your money for the TV, but they wanted some extra pennies from adverts on the EPG.

      They used to do nice kit like the old Qintrix CRTs and some of the early(ish) plasma screens.

      Seems like everyone is on race to fail to see how fails hardest.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for my new Expression

    Panasonic are going downhill so fast, when you look at the floor you can see the red shift.

    I was a Pana fan, owning a succession of Pana TVs for over two decades, but in the last few years they have lost the plot, (even though picture quality is still lush).

    I am now praying NK dont launch an attack, because my new TVs are LG.

    1. John H Woods

      Re: Time for my new Expression

      "Panasonic are going downhill so fast, when you look at the floor you can see the red shift" --- Ian Emery

      <pedant_mode>blue</pedant_mode>

      1. AndyS

        Re: Time for my new Expression

        <pedant_mode>blue</pedant_mode>

        It's still called the red shift effect, regardless of which way it's going though.

        1. John H Woods

          Re: Time for my new Expression

          "It's still called the red shift effect, regardless of which way it's going though."

          You'll be pleased to know I've given you -1 upvotes. And to be really pedantic, it's called the Doppler effect :-)

          1. 's water music

            Re: Time for my new Expression

            came for the snark, stayed for the pedantry.

            One could, of course, have argued that the OP is observing the good ship Panasonic on it's voyage to the downhill from a fixed point near the hilltop and so when he looks down he sees it red-shifted as it races away from him. Or am I over-thinking it?

            1. John H Woods

              Re: Time for my new Expression

              "One could, of course, have argued that the OP is observing the good ship Panasonic on it's voyage to the downhill from a fixed point near the hilltop and so when he looks down he sees it red-shifted as it races away from him" -- 's water music

              Bugger, I knew someone would get me with an alternative frame of reference!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Time for my new Expression

                "fixed point near the hilltop"

                But what if it's a floating point? What if it has no point? What?

        2. Ian K
          Headmaster

          Re: Time for my new Expression

          "It's still called the red shift effect, regardless of which way it's going though."

          It's called the Doppler effect, and results in red shift or blue shift depending on the relative direction of motion.

          1. Chris 244
            Headmaster

            Re: Time for my new Expression

            To get really pedantic, the term "red shift" is NOT interchangeable with "the Doppler Effect" as it INCLUDES shift from the Doppler effect AND other effects such as the shift due to the expansion of the universe (cosmological redshift).

            In this specific case I believe "blueshift" or "negative redshift" would be the best term to use. One cannot exclude a contribution to the wavelength shift caused by the gravitational effects of falling into a black hole.

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    This is one of the reasons why I don't have a 'smart' TV. Unless you mean 'smart' as in 'neat' or 'clean'.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "This is one of the reasons why I don't have a 'smart' TV. Unless you mean 'smart' as in 'neat' or 'clean'."

      Yes, it's a slightly odd word used in an uncommon way in British English. Smart is rarely used to mean clever or intelligent. It's mainly used to mean clean, tidy, well dressed etc. I get a similar grating feeling when people use "mean" for nasty instead of tight-fisted. Language evolves, I understand that, but currently it seems to be an enforced invasion of US English because they can't be arsed to localise their advertising. I wonder if the US accept UK english in the same way? Or is there a fear the US won't understand so it has to be re-worded for them while in the UK it's assumed we will understand?

      Maybe we should table this motion.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Off topic: you might want to read the "separated by a common language" blog. Although I don't think she has really addressed this jarring with words which do have the same meanings but where the most frequently used senses are different.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother

    The last Panasonic thing I bought was a PVR that I sent back within the week because its TV guide had unblockable ads that took up a third of the screen real estate. After this daftness, Panasonic got added to my 'Sony' list, and there they remain.

    These consumer product companies have no idea how to write and manage decent software and no idea how to commission others to do so on their behalf. They don't understand that in this age of identikit everything, good software is now the only real opportunity for differentiation they have.

    1. John Sager

      Re: Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother

      Yup. I've got a 2010 model Panny TV, and it recently stopped working on ITV-HD via satellite when ITV changed a parameter of the satellite signal (still within the DVB spec). I've had e-mail discussions with P about a s/w update but the probability of that is infinitesimally greater than zero. P stopped updating the s/w about a year after I bought it, and virtually all the 'smart TV' services on there at the time are now gone. My next TV won't be Panasonic!

      I've recently bought a Samsung Blu-Ray player and that phones home to Korea all the time to find out what to do. It works a treat now but I wonder how long for.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother

        "P stopped updating the s/w about a year after I bought it, and virtually all the 'smart TV' services on there at the time are now gone."

        This sounds ripe for someone to hack the "smart"ness (embedded linux) and preduce custom firmware.

        Meantime I'll stick with my fileserver running Plex Media Server and a small HTPC.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother

          "This sounds ripe for someone to hack the "smart"ness (embedded linux) and preduce custom firmware."

          In principle, maybe. But why bother, when the innards of a "smart for a while" TV are generally massively underpowered and almost completely undocumented. Why not something reasonably recent and powerful with reasonable documentation and plenty of software that you can get off the shelf (with accessories) for £50 or so for hardware.

          Maybe the add-on kit doesn't integrate quite so nicely into the "user experience" (spit), what with needing another remote control. I think many people might put up with that. Quite a few seem to be here already.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother

      Panasonic got added to my 'Sony' list, and there they remain.

      And yet Panasonic is a gigantic company and you really can't tar the whole thing with the same brush. I use Panasonic projectors almost exclusively at work because they are far and away the best things I've seen. Yes, some of the newer ones are getting "smarter" (in the sense that they can do HDMI over ethernet, split screen and the like) but they also - even the flashiest models - talk "PJLINK", which is a very simple network-carried control protocol, and have real, geniune serial ports if your control system prefers.

      Not cheap compared with some, but well worth the money. At least, the "fixed installation" range that I buy from. Can't say anything about the "home / portable" range...

      M.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother

      "Panasonic: Sony's younger idiot brother"

      Not quite....

      Sony Corporation Founded: May 7, 1946

      Panasonic Corporation, formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd Founded: March 13, 1918

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to IoT

    Internet of Tat

    1. Chika
      Trollface

      Re: Welcome to IoT

      Really? We must alert the venerable Dr. Ashen about that!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Welcome to IoT

      Internet of Things YOU Own But YOU Can't Control ?

  7. jake Silver badge

    During the meanwhile ...

    The "Dear Old Telly" next to my front door is a catch-all for dog leads, (unused) poop bags, and this week's snail-mail bills. The remote is cobwebbed to the corner away from the door.

    Hasn't been anything worth watching on TV in ... uh ... Probably ever.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      I don't know, dog leads, poop bags, and bills sounds better than the average US network telly.

    2. DaddyHoggy

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      How do you know if you don't watch?

      It seems rather odd if you're regularly checking by some means that you're still right and that there's still nothing you deem watchable...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        "How do you know if you don't watch?"

        Unless one never leaves one's TV free house, one can't help but be exposed to the constant excrement that so-called "people" seem to find entertaining.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      "Hasn't been anything worth watching on TV in ... uh ... Probably ever."

      Excactly.

      I -literally- threw my TV set out the door years ago (yes, it was still a CRT type), didn't miss it for one second ever since.

      Besides; having no TV in the house switches the kids their brains back on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        > Besides; having no TV in the house switches the kids their brains back on.

        Does it help with grammar too? ;)

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon
          Happy

          Re: During the meanwhile ...

          "Besides; having no TV in the house switches the kids their brains back on."

          The best I can make of that would be:

          "Besides, not having a TV in the house switches their (the kids) brains back on."

          However, no expert am I.

      2. Lamont Cranston

        Re: I -literally- threw my TV set out the door years ago

        Bet it looks lovely in the front garden, complementing the stained mattress and rusty washing machine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I -literally- threw my TV set out the door years ago

          > "Bet it looks lovely in the front garden, complementing the stained mattress and rusty washing machine."

          No. It landed on top of said stained mattress, next to the rusty washing machine. In a garbage container. The lot now serving as landfill somewhere in China.

          My dog -a Rottweiler- died 8 years ago and I never owned a Cortina. Hence I'm not brilliant enough to even come close to Geoffrey Hughes. The TV set had something in common with Onslow's set though: It had to be kickstarted every now and then.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: During the meanwhile ...

      It never takes long for the smug "I never watch TV" brigade to jump into a thread about TV to tell the rest us how superior they are.

      As someone else has pointed out, how do these smug people actually know if there's nothing worth watching on TV? Is because the Open University no longer broadcast their modules and they can tell just be glancing at the TV schedules once per year that the OU haven;t started up again?

      <sigh> here's the obligatory XKCD

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        First: English: is not my native language, please go right ahead making remarks about grammar and/or misspellings.

        Second: superiority: it is my impression many in here are feeling superior simply because they can write a script and/or get Linux to work properly.

        Third: back to TV: Producing 'TV' costs huge amounts of money; Studio/broadcast equipment costs huge amounts of money; Staffing all this costs huge amounts of money. All of which has to be paid for with taxpayers and/or advertising money.

        This means the product 'TV' _has_ to be distilled down to the least common denominator and has to be immensely politically correct. Otherwise the product simply won't sell.

        Personally I try and keep myself informed via the interwebs. Noticing what various 'TV content providers' try stuffing down my throat via the internet is enough for me to conclude there's nothing worth watching on TV. Everything that _is_ worth watching can be found and bought elsewhere.

        And if I really, really want to watch this football game? I go over to the pub around the corner and watch it there.

        Now go stare at your 16 foot smart screen and gobble up whatever they serve you. In full-HD of course. And that is fine with me. Just as it should be fine with you that I don't feel the need for having 'TV'. Nothing superior about that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: During the meanwhile ...

          "Producing 'TV' costs huge amounts of money; Studio/broadcast equipment costs huge amounts of money; Staffing all this costs huge amounts of money. "

          Maybe it used to. There's no reason why it should in 2016.

          In the UK, many areas have a "commnunity" TV channel of one kind or another (e.g. Freeview channel 8). Such a channel was also part of the licensing obligations of the earlier cable rollouts. These channels haven't spent a fortune on kit or facilities. The quality of the content tends to be a bit variable (to put it politely) but that's not because they haven't got the kit to make decent programmes, it's for a different reason.

      2. Anonymous Cow Herder

        Re: During the meanwhile ...

        I refuse to watch any TV but I do like to read the works of Shakespear and imagine them being performed by the greats: Gielgud, Olivier, Waterman...

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Are these backend servers for gathering data to serve ads or actually needed to run the apps? I'd like to believe the apps would run without them, but, if the only reason the servers are needed is additional profits for Pana selling ads then they should get their hands slapped and then some.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Given most of these apps can happily run on something as powerful as a USB stick or a Raspberry Pi, which do you think it is...?

      Dumb TVs and smart(ish) bolt-on boxes all the way.

    2. StripeyMiata

      FireFoxOS is all HTML

      I have a FireFoxOS phone, assuming the TV's work the same way most of the apps are not apps as such, they are just API files that interact with a HTML website. So if they can't talk to the website, you are screwed.

      Most of my games on the phone are shortcuts to github for example.

      https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox_OS/Firefox_OS_apps/Building_apps_for_Firefox_OS

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Panasonic - Bag of Sh1te

    What turns a Panasonic smart TV into a Dumb TV, about five years and total indifference from Panasonic.

    I have a five year old Panasonic smart TV that can't even read the EPG any more. Have tried using their 'support' service and they blame it on the broadcasters. Even though Panasonic have used a 3rd party EPG (GuidePlus) rather than the Freeview one and it is surely within their capabilities to do a firmware update.

    Won't buy any Panasonic sh1te again.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where can I get a good dumb TV?

    I have been looking to buy a decent TV without the apps crap but I don't think they exist. All technology is the same now. A schoolkid writes an app to do something noone needs and it get built into any piece of electronics.Why do I need an internet toothbrush or washing machine? Oh I know - so it can keep loading ads and checking for software updates because the junk never works.

    I would try to use monitor only TV screen with my old STB, if they still exist but last time I checked on these the price was exhorbitant.

    There will be a backlash eventually for people wanting real hardware without builtin junkware at a premium price, but this will be built by artisans or "makers" with 3d printers etc, but I can't wait for this.

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

      I recently bought a dumb Sony 40" TV. Full HD and a very good picture for less than £250. A PS3 acts as the network box for running iPlayer and Netflix as well as DVDs (vanilla and Blue Ray). Very happy with the arrangement.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

        40", full HD.

        Why not 4k? They're not much more expensive.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

      Why not just use a computer monitor?

      1. Locky

        Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

        Or just don't connect it to your wifi?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

      In my area its becoming impossible to find dumb basic TV's anymore, that is unless you're willing to try exotic unknowns, such as: AOC, Simply, Hyundai, Challenger....???!!!

      I really hope articles like this and reviews about some of the latest Samsung smart TV's on Amazon make buyers wise up a little. But what if there's simply no well known brand name dumb TV's anymore to buy?

      Well LG still seem to be selling a few (again in my area)... But they are massively overpriced higher than Smart and some with only one HDMI port!! Presumably because they're not big sellers at the moment, LG can get away with this BS! Who knows how long these dumb TV's will even last in the market...

      SMART ... surveillance marketed as revolutionary tech...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

        I would think these exotics are probably mostly relabeled Samsung screens with no frills?

        It's getting more and more interesting to import from 3rd World Countries direct.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

          Samsung screens without Samsung software. What's the downside?

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

        "exotic unknowns, such as: AOC"

        AOC in particular is a _big_ manufacturer. Chances are that if you open up virtually any LCD display you'll find a AOC panel inside (even ones you'd expect to be making their own, such as LG.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'AOC' .... 'relabeled-Samsung'... '3rd world TV's'...

          .....'AOC in particular is a _big_ manufacturer'

          Sure, but these particular exotic AOC TV's are assembled in Mexico. There are some serious assembly problems with Samsung Fridges and Washers assembled in Mexico. For instance they're not even the same models you'd buy in USA / EU etc... (There's zero Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com entries or reviews with these same model numbers)

          ....."I would think these exotics are probably mostly relabeled Samsung screens with no frills?"

          Possibly the panels. Samsung already plays a lot of games with substituting panels which is quite sneaky too. But its generally agreed that Samsung Panels themselves are better than the others... But the problem again is: 'Assembled in Mexico', do you feel lucky? :)

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

        "But what if there's simply no well known brand name dumb TV's anymore to buy?"

        Yes, that point has been made a number of times over recent years when people say "well why not just buy a dumb TV". Consumer choice is not the ability to buy what you want. It's the ability to choose from the crap that is on offer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

          .....Why not buy a monitor?

          Sure, but you're looking at Double or Treble the price in my region anyway.... Presumably because they don't sell in as large volumes, or because some actually have a UHD / 4k spec…

          -----------------------------------------------------------

          ....Don't plug it (smart) into wifi...

          Sure, but some smart TV's will disable features if you don't let them phone home. This is well documented. I can include sources / links if you want to back this up... In addition, there's no guarantee that any smart sold now, won't insist on you upgrading it at some, which means presumably it’ll phone home with whatever info its been slurping cached.

          But overall, what if you your neighbour’s son for instance, connect the TV to the internet when you’re out one day, and you don’t notice it for 6 months. That’s just an example, but consider it for a moment! Advice like don't connect it, is not practical advice anymore dude! IT might have been ok at the outset, but now, its not!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where can I get a good dumb TV?

      "Why do I need an internet toothbrush or washing machine?"

      So they can play ads while you brush your teeth and put them on your clothes!

  11. Belperite

    Same with Samsung...

    ...or at least their 2012-era models. When their back-end servers are down apps refuse to launch, which is very annoying, but rare. The TV and apps are still receiving updates, which is one good thing.

  12. Someone_Somewhere

    my Uncle was a dealer when I was a kid

    How much time did he serve?

    1. fedoraman
      Happy

      Re: my Uncle was a dealer when I was a kid

      Goddam

      - the pusher man

  13. David Lawton

    I tell everyone to get a dumb tv and a smart box. Having youtube on my 2009 Panasonic TV was a novelty at first, but then i found not all youtube videos were available , the remote is slow for typing video names in the search box and now in 2016 those features don't even work. So i got an Apple TV few years back and just Airplay everything off the apps on my shineys, its cheaper than buying a new tv every 3/4 years.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      tell everyone to get a dumb tv and a smart box.

      Good advice, but as others have pointed out this is becoming more and more difficult. I would have done so myself but for two things:

      1: dumb TVs (or computer monitors) tend to be smaller than soon-to-be-dumb TVs, which isn't necessarily a problem unless you are looking for something over 40"

      2: I have children who have a number of 3D films in their collection. I could not find a dumb TV anywhere that was capable of 3D.

      So I have a smart TV, and I can't honestly say I've ever used the smart functions. I have a satellite box that's now around seven years old, a BluRay player that I have never used the smart functions on, a nice AV amplifier that I have never used the smart functions on and even a venerable Laserdisc player.

      It looks like the sat box might be the next thing needing replacing as the one "smart" thing that we do use occasionally is BBC iPlayer and apparently the BBC is about to drop support for the version accessible by this box. The box, although made by a well-regarded and currently trading manufacturer, hasn't had a software update for about five years and I have no confidence at all that it will have an update for iPlayer. Or I could just stick a bigger HDD in it and be more careful about not missing recording a programme.

      Ho hum.

      My children aren't glued to the TV either, they are more than capable of running around outside or digging out the Cluedo or Monopoly if for some reason the school hasn't sent three hours of homework home tonight.

      M.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    TVs are supposed to be dumb

    I am thrilled to see this complete failure of an inane system. There should be no such thing as a "smart" TV.

    A TV is a portal, nothing more. What is on its screen, however, can very well be controlled by an external item connected to it. Thus, instead of trying to put all the hardware into the TV set, which carries risk of increased obsolescence and uncorrectable bugs, keep the TV the dumb screen it's supposed to be, and put the "smart" into the peripherals where they can be maintained, replaced or junked as need be, and will not impact the function of other peripherals if that one doesn't work.

    But of course, doing so means the risk of losing valuable marketing data to people who want the screen and not the phoning home, so it looks like we'll all just have to wait for the vendors to lose money on this shite technology before realizing that nobody wants it implemented like that.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: TVs are supposed to be dumb

      >There should be no such thing as a "smart" TV.

      And you're right - there isn't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TVs are supposed to be dumb

      It's like the HiFi separates vs Amstrad all-yer-need-fer-£99.99 wars all over again.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: TVs are supposed to be dumb

        "It's like the HiFi separates vs Amstrad all-yer-need-fer-£99.99 wars all over again."

        Not quite. With HiFi there was always, and still is, the choice for separates. With TVs it's almost at the point where it's "smart" or nothing. The HiFi thing is more analogous to all-in-one PCs. You can choose to buy something almost un-upgradable and where the whole thing needs to be expensively replaced or you can choose a separate screen and PC.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TV problem?

    Have people tried re-seating their valves?

    - Gramps

    1. Chika

      Re: TV problem?

      Have people tried re-seating their valves?

      Hang on a mo! I still haven't removed the Nipkow Disc yet!

    2. Alister

      Re: TV problem?

      Nah, you have to tweak the cores of the RF coils with a non-conductive twiddly thing...

      1. Gideon 1

        Re: TV problem?

        Try adjusting the spark gap first.

    3. Anonymous Cow Herder

      Re: TV problem?

      Degaussing. To get rid of the magnatism that's stuck inside the telly.

  16. magickmark

    The last TV I brought was from Amazon, its a 39 inch smart TV badged as "Digihome". I was looking for a decent dumb TV with lots of inputs but as this one was only £170 I thought it was worth a punt.

    Turns out it was excellent in most respects, built in sound could be better but then I have it connected to my surround sound system. The smart features work but as I have a Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV stick and a Sky Now TV box the smart features in the TV are rather redundant.Seems to be the way to go, decent TV with lots of inputs and then just use external, easy to change disposable 'smart' devices.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I decided I'd had it with Panasonic when the drive died in the DVD box. Use a commodity component you could replace from eBay? Nope. Nowadays the drive in the Myth box does the job nicely and if it dies it'll only be a few quid.

  18. a_mu

    you only have the TV till 2020 anyway

    From 5 years after purchase,

    do you think they will still be running the servers ?

    do yo think your box will be compatible still ?

    think again,

    Sony box's, after 5 years can not receive iPlayer et all because Sony do not support them after then.

    Will Panasonic be any different ?

    welcome to the world of disposable TV's ..

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: you only have the TV till 2020 anyway

      "welcome to the world of disposable TV's .."

      UK (and EU) consumer law requires that certain items should be expected to work and be fully functional well beyond the guarantee life and you do have grounds to complain and demand a fix. I've lost the link now but there is a government website which lists many items and their life expectancy.

      Outside of the two year guarantee you will be expected to pay labour or demand a pro-rata refund based on it's age depending on if it can be repaired or not. I think TVs have an expected life span of 10 years.

  19. Ru'

    1. Buy a decent tv. It will no doubt be smart; non-smart TVs are often lower quality.

    2. Enjoy the smart facilities while they are supported.

    3. When they are no longer supported buy a little box thing and use the smart facilities on that.

    4. When they are no longer supported buy another little box thing and use the smart facilities on that.

    5. Go to 4.

    Not sure what the issue is. It's not as if the TV stops being a TV suddenly. And not as if the little box things are supported for ever.

    1. Bronek Kozicki
      Pint

      Perhaps some smart engineer at Panasonic decided to actually improve TVs already sold to customers, by simply disabling the "not so smart" part of the device, hence pushing customers to point 3. listed above. Good thinking this man, I wholeheartedly support the move.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Not sure what the issue is. It's not as if the TV stops being a TV suddenly. And not as if the little box things are supported for ever."

      The "issue" is that functions and features you paid for with an expectation that they will work for the lifetime of the TV often stop working even within the legally mandated two year guarantee period and the seller is legally obliged to repair or replace if it's no longer working as described. As mentioned in my other post, a lesser obligation still rests with the seller even after the two year guarantee period

      Disclaimer. I have a dumb TV, 42" and it even does 3D (passive), currently just over 2 years old now and no intentions of replacing it unless it becomes uneconomically repairable. It has RasPi2+Kodi plugged into it.

  20. Flywheel Silver badge

    Kodi box + TV Headend + DVB stick + computer monitor with several HDMI inputs?

  21. Jason Bloomberg
    Facepalm

    Hi-Fi separates and the radiogram all-in-one

    I have some sympathy but not a lot. It's not like we weren't aware of the problems of buying all-in-one 'smart' systems.

    The convenience of integration and packaging is offset against obsolescence as technology changes. One either buys into having to eventually throw the whole lot out when it doesn't do what one wants or buy separates so the obsoleted parts can be upgraded piecemeal.

    If people thought it was somehow going to be different when it came to smart TVs I am not sure what they based that notion on. Any expectation things would work for ever was just that, not a guaranteed promise. Caveat emptor.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yep smart telly's are basically shite. We've got a Panasonic smart telly from last year in our bedroom, we only use it for watching sky so don't use the smart functions (apart from iplayer which is fairly good) But the EPG is SOOOOOOO SLOOOOWWWWWWWWW its a freeview thingy that allows you to go back in time but its painful! Downstairs we have a Pioneer Kuro and only watch Sky on it.

  23. Bronek Kozicki

    I have Panasonic plasma

    ... and it is actually quite good, as far as picture quality and other "core features" are concerned. However I never see its on-screen menus - instead I use home cinema for volume and input selection, Sky box for channel selection, Amazon Fire TV if I want something else etc.

  24. herman Silver badge

    What is this TV thing everyone is moaning about?

  25. Bigdavemc

    Real world problems ?

    Maybe I have a life and my issues are a little more real life than an issue with smart features on a TV, but I find the complaints on here so small that everyone is getting miffed about a server being down.

    If this is all you people have to complain about then can I swap my concerns for yours ?

    I have one question - Did you really buy a TV just because of the smart system in it ?

    If like me, the answer is no, and you bought a TV for the quality of the picture, then this all seems so futile and not worth complaining about. Yes, you do expect to have the services that you have paid for, yes you do expect a company like Panasonic to provide a service, but likewise, how much are you paying for broadband that is under performing or how much are you paying for a mobile phone bill than keeps dropping calls or has poor internet speeds ? Are you as quick to complain about these services ?

    BTW I own a 50CX802 and absolutely love the picture and the features and haven't had use of the use of smart for the last day or two, but am I really that concerned that I'll come on a public forum and give off about it ?

    As far as I can see everything is back up and running and I agree with a previous poster that the IOT is very heavily reliant on servers / hardware / internet etc. There are so any things that can cause an issue or failure.

    To be honest, I would rather have no smart system than one that bombards me with ads.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/06/samsung_investigates_spam_ads_in_smart_tvs/

    Rant over.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Real world problems ?

      El Reg forums are more like a water-cooler replacement for techies than a 'public forum for making complaints'.

      Anyway, we're British (most of us) so we reserve the right to whine and bitch. You only need to worry when we stop >:)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real world problems ?

        Sir Spoon of Britain I shall annoint thee with an upvote of the realm.

        [and now for something completely British...unfortunately]

        As a brit though I must point out that you should be happy with it, theres not that many to go around / theres too many to be worth much these days due to (delete as appropriate):

        1. Immigrants

        2. The Conservatives

        3. The EU

        4. Jeremy Clarkson

        5. The Bank of England keeps printing them / isnt printing enough.

        6. Them spongers on the dole.

        7. They dont make them like they used to.

        8. BT

        9. The NHS

        10. Nigel Farage / UKIP

        11. Arsene Wenger / Luis Van Gaal

        12. Pension companies hoarding them.

        13. Scottish people are tight and dont give them out.

        14. The upvote mines were shut down by Thatcher.

        *spits out his tea*

        Which bastard put the Rooibos bags in with the proper tea...ive fucking warned you about that. There is a difference. I didnt grow up on Yorkshire tea to be given this foreign muck.

        *goes off to whinge at someone else before checking if theres anyone on his lawn*

        Mumble *shuffle*

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon
          Happy

          Re: Real world problems ?

          I thank thee for thy shiny upvote, it is much appreciated kind person.

          I can't quite recall where the tea fields are in Yorkshire, would you be ever so kind and furbish me with a link that identifies the aforementioned tea fields?

          1. Alister

            Re: Real world problems ?

            @Sir

            I can't quite recall where the tea fields are in Yorkshire...

            http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/1515708.new_tea_plantation_in_north_yorkshire/

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon
              Thumb Up

              Re: Real world problems ?

              Well, consider my flabber well and truly ghasted! Who'd-a-thunk-it?

              Although I do note that the story was from 2007 and that it would take 2-3 years for the crop to mature enough to harvest. Considering the financial crash in 2008 does anyone know if these people realised their dream of an *actual* Yorkshire Tea?

              1. Alister

                Re: Real world problems ?

                My google-foo fails to find any further mention of Yorkshire grown tea, although there is a UK plantation at Tregothnan in Cornwall, so sadly it appears the idea didn't bear fruit (or leaves).

              2. Bob Rocket
                Thumb Up

                Re: Real world problems ? - don't know about Yorkshire

                but apparently they grow tea in Cornwall

                https://tregothnan.co.uk/

  26. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And in spite of having a new Panasonic TV

    I was completely unaware of the smart bits falling over.

    Ah yes, that would be because I never use them. I did my best to buy a TV without the gimmicks but this was (a) of decent picture and (b) available in Tesco's when I needed one.

    The only button I use on the TV remote control is the on/off. Everything else, including sound, since I like to hear what I watch, goes through a Humax DTT PVR. And that has smart too, which is also unconnected to the interwebs.

  27. Stevie

    Bah!

    I occasionally see the same yhing on my Sony TV in New York. Infuriating.

  28. cortland

    Makes me glad

    I junked (binned, for you who speak English) my TV in 1997; I hadn't much used it since 1993 anyway. This sort of an article makes me glad I did so, though I'll grant that my library is more expensive than a Smart TV.

    On the other hand, books don't stop working when the Net goes down – or the power goes out.

    1. Stevie

      Re: Makes me glad

      Just as screwed when you suffer the burst (hot) water pipe from hell.

      Ask me how I know this.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are there any stats....

    On Dumb versus Smart as regards servicing? Just curious if the extra tech involved in Smart, means that there’s a higher probability of failure and the need for service sooner than dumb...

    1. Bigdavemc

      Re: Are there any stats....

      I do know that more Sony TV's are bricked than any other company as their TV's do so many updates and if people interrupt them, the TV is knackered.

      This is the joys of having an over complicated smart system in a TV.

      Firefox is much simpler and doesn't require a degree to operate it nor does it take hours to install and several usernames and passwords.

      Dave

  30. Someone_Somewhere

    I wish

    there were a knob on the TV to make it more intelligent - I found one labelled 'brightness' but it doesn't seem to work. :(

    On a serious note though*: where can I get a decent, full HD TV that /isn't/ smart?**

    * just for a change.

    ** I have a computer for the Super Information Drainage Conduit and don't need a TV with any more features than 'does full HD.'

  31. John H Woods
    Joke

    If you want a nice big dumb TV ....

    ... buy a projector ;-)

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