Re: Connect directly to the Internet?
You haven't used one clearly.
No all homes don't have a single heating characteristic, each home has it's own and can have multiple - depending on the insulation, outside temperature and the rate of heat loss, an open window, a radiator not working.
On a colder day, it might need to start earlier than on a warmer day. It might need to start earlier if one of the radiators is not doing a good job. Or the boiler efficiency has dropped.
Yes you can turn it on earlier so that the worst case it accounted for, and then the thermostat will control the temperature but you are wasting energy this way as you are keeping it warmer for longer before the point on interest.
Similarly a schedule running that takes of your presence, instead of having to manual change it.
So no I don't think your answer is a valid response - you are stating that a wireless thermostat can do the same job, that is not the same as what a system with more inputs is capable of.
That is what the smart is - use more inputs to make more intelligent decsions and fewer to no manual interventions for a better optimised system.
Affordability is a straw man.. I don't get it. Indeed you could have saved money just getting a basic wireless thermostat - you paid for smarts that you don't use - the market will have an equivalent without that.
However none of this means that a basic wireless thermostat is the same thing as a system designed to function with more inputs.
If you don't want "smarts" or the "smarts" are not of individial utility, is a different point. That does not reduce the comparison to equality on an objective basis, only on a subjective one i.e. to you a wireless thermostat and a smart thermostat appears to be the same thing.