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What is the best Dumb TV without smart features?

There are a few things you need to consider when you’re looking to buy a good dumb TV. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Screen size

The biggest challenge you will face when you’re looking for a good dumb TV is getting a good screen size. You will soon realize that there are not a lot of dumb TVs that come in the latest size standards for home entertainment.

A lot of dumb TVs only have 30-40-inch screens. If this size works for you, then you are in luck. However, in today’s standards, 30-40 inches is not enough screen real estate.

You may want to find something with at least a 50-inch screen. The good news is that they do exist and, according to our research, you can even go up to 65 inches.

If you’re in hurry, here’s our recommendations

Sceptre 65 Inches 4K UHD LED TVSceptre 65 Inches 4K UHD LED TV
  • Bright LED display and sharp contrast
  • 65-inch 4K UHD, HDR and MEMC120
  • HDMI ports, component ports, optical and line audio outputs
Check Price On Amazon
Sceptre 50Sceptre 50″ 4K UHD Ultra Slim LED TV
  • 50-inch screen that supports 4K UHD
  • Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) to stream videos from a smartphone
  • Stunning colors and image contrast
Check Price On Amazon

Input ports

Another thing that turns a regular dumb TV into a good dumb TV is the number of input ports it has. Since your dumb TV relies on external devices for display content, you will want several ports to ensure that you can plug in all your devices.

Having several input ports will allow you to switch between devices without having to physically unplug and plug them. Reaching behind your TV to do this can be very inconvenient.

HDMI ports are what most external devices today use. You will want at least 3 HDMI ports on your dumb TV. Having more HDMI ports will be better, especially if you’re thinking about getting a few more external devices.


When looking for a good dumb TV, people often make the mistake of looking in the monitor category. A monitor may work for you, but there are a couple of reasons why they may not work as well as a TV.

Monitor displays are relatively darker than TV displays. This is because monitors are designed for people who sit up close.

It may not be a problem when you’re watching a movie in a dark room. If you watch with the windows open during the day, however, your monitor won’t be able to produce enough brightness to give you pleasant viewing experience.

Monitors also do not come with a TV tuner. This will be a problem if you’re thinking about watching local channels.

Does a great dumb TV exist in 2020?

The short answer is yes. Although smart TVs are more popular, there are still a few great dumb TVs being manufactured.

You can visit your local electronic shop or search for one online. Below are some of our dumb TV recommendations.

Editor’s recommendations

We’ve put together a shortlist of our top dumb TV picks. Take a moment to review each one so you can make a better decision when you plan to make a purchase.

1. Sceptre 50” 4K UHD (U518CV-UM)

Sceptre 50" 4K UHD Ultra Slim LED TV 3840x2160 MEMC 120, Metal Black 2019 (U518CV-UM)
  • 50” LED 4K UHD TV
  • Superior 4K Picture Enter an unrivaled world of color variation, impressive contrasts, and image...
  • UHD Upscaling Enjoy all your videos with UHD upscaling. With an advanced video chipset, Standard...

Sceptre sells quite a number of dumb TVs as well as smart TVs. This particular one has a large 50-inch screen that supports 4K UHD.

It also comes with Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) that allows you to stream videos from your smartphone. Sceptre also boasts about its stunning colors and image contrast.

2. Sceptre 65 inches 4K LED TV (U658CV-UMC)

Sceptre 65 Inche 4K UHD LED TV 3840x2160 MEMC 120 Ultra Thin HDMI 2.0 Upscaling U658CV-UMC, 2018
  • 65 Inch LED 4K UHD TV
  • High Resolution 3840 x 2160
  • 4x HDMI Input: HDMI 2.0 & HDCP 2.2

If you want to step it up, you can opt for the 65-inch 4K UHD TV from Sceptre. It is going to cost you more, but it also comes with additional features.

It has a bright LED display and a sharp contrast. Its UHD upscaling will enhance your SD or HD videos so they display excellently in 4K. It also comes with HDR and MEMC120 to give you the best viewing experience.

This particular TV also has great connectivity options. HDMI ports, component ports, optical and line audio outputs. You won’t be needing additional ports with this TV.

What is the dumb TV?

When you walk through the video section in an electronic shop, you’re going to find an array of different TVs. Most of the newer ones you will have large high definition screens. And almost all of them are going to be smart TVs.

Smart TVs have taken over the home entertainment industry by storm. To the point where it has become more difficult to find one that does not have smart features. TVs lacking smart features are also called dumb TVs.

Dumb TVs are display screens with a built-in TV tuner. They also come with different input ports where you can input video information from an HDTV antenna, Blu-ray player, etc. The most common input ports are HDMI and AV.

What makes a dumb TV “dumb”? The difference between a dumb TV and a smart TV is that the former does not come with an operating system. It relies on external devices to convert data into video information that it can display.

All televisions that were manufactured before the invention of smart TVs are dumb TVs. Dumb TVs are still being manufactured today for various reasons, although they are less popular.

Smart TVs, on the other hand, are more like smartphones or computers. They come with an operating system and a handful of pre-installed apps. You can connect them directly to the internet and stream videos on YouTube, Netflix, and other popular platforms.

Why do people need a dumb TV without smart features?

As you learn more about what smart TVs offer, you may start to wonder why anyone would want to settle for a dumb TV. Smart TVs are more convenient, and they offer so many useful features.

While the popularity of smart TV increases, there are quite a few people who still prefer dumb TVs. There are a few reasons why you might opt to get a dumb TV. Let’s take a closer look at each of those reasons in more detail.

Security and privacy

When it comes to the internet, security and privacy are huge topics. There have been countless horror stories that resulted from having personal devices connected to the internet. If you’re connected, there is always going to be some sort of risk.

Smart TVs are said to be one of the most vulnerable to hacking and data theft. The FBI has even issued a warning of the risks.

One of the reasons for this is that smart TVs use automatic content recognition or ACR. ACR gathers information about what you watch and sends it back to the manufacturer. With this information, more relative ads can be shown when you’re browsing for something to watch.

Unfortunately, there are times when a third party receives the information captured by ACR. These third parties can do whatever they want with that information.

Many newer smart TVs also come with webcams and microphones. These can be used by hackers to spy on you while you’re watching your favorite show.

Many people are aware of the dangers of this. This is one of the main reasons there are still quite a few people who opt to get dumb TVs instead of TVs with smart features.

Better set-top and stick options

Another reason why people purchase dumb TVs is that they prefer to use other TV stick and set-top devices. These devices don’t cost a lot of money and they often work better than smart TVs.

A few of the more popular ones are the Roku Streaming Stick+ , No products found., Amazon Fire TV Stick , and No products found.. There are many more options in the market to choose from.

These devices connect to your WI-FI and allow you to stream content on popular platforms such as Netflix and YouTube.

All these devices have seamless UI’s and tons of different apps and features. They also come with remote controls that support voice commands.

One feature many people find very useful in these devices is the casting feature. It allows you to use your TV as a larger display for your smartphone. You can play videos, view images, and browse the web on your smartphone and have it cast onto your TV.

You should also remember that technology is advancing a lot quicker than ever before. Your brand-new smart TV will be outdated in just a couple of years. The only way you’re going to be able to keep up with new features and security fixes is to buy a new TV.

You won’t need to replace your dumb TV to stay updated. All you need to do is purchase the latest stick or set-top device. You can get brand-new ones that already come with voice control for an affordable price.

Check out this video to learn more about stick and set-top devices.

4K Streaming Device Round Up 2019: Apple TV vs Chromecast vs Roku vs Fire TV, Which is best for you?

Interface issues on smart TVs

When you use your smartphone or computer, you have two main input sources: pointing and typing. You don’t have either of those in a smart TV interface.

For the most part, you will use your TV’s remote to click through menus and an onscreen keyboard for typing. It will take you quite a number of button presses to type something into your TV’s search service.

Some smart TVs also come with poorly designed interfaces. It will take a lot of time trying to navigate around the interface.

On the other hand, the interfaces that come with newer sticks and set-box devices are more seamless. They also include voice commands and many support keyboard input from your smartphone.

Unreliable apps on smart TVs

App developers today need to work harder when it comes to compatibility. They need to make sure apps work well with smartphones, browsers, stick and set-top devices, smart TVs and more. Unfortunately, smart TVs are often the last priority.

This leaves smart TVs with unreliable apps that may crash or freeze. Older smart TVs may also not be compatible with app updates.


Although smart TVs are the most popular choice, there are still a few reasons why you might opt to get a dumb TV. The good news is that there are still quite a few of them being manufactured.

It may be more challenging to find a good dumb TV, but there’s a good chance a few of them are being sold at your nearest electronics shop. If you want more options, finding them online will be your best bet.

You can check out online shops such as Amazon, BestBuy, Walmart, and Costco. You may also visit manufacturer websites and look through their catalogs. Sceptre, Panasonic and Samsung have a few dumb TV options on their websites.

Last update on 2020-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

3 thoughts on “What is the best Dumb TV without smart features?”

  1. Thanks for this great article on dumb tv’s. The reason you should always choose a dumb tv is because you will get a better quality panel for the same price. With smart tv’s you are paying for all the licenses of the bundles software and operating system, to google, sony, samsung, netflix, app makers and the like. This all adds up to increate the cost of the TV, and when the licenses expire and Sony decide to no longer support your TV’s Operating System, you’re left with virtually a dumb tv anyway. It’s a scam. If enough people seek and but good quality dumb tv’s the makers will make them.

    • The cost of the electronics is actually very low considering Nvidia Shield and Roku’s are all under $100.

      The licenses from Google/Apple and others is actually really paid in information farming.

      My 2 year old Sony Bravia Android TV just got its latest update and still runs Android 8.0.0, not even upgrades to Android 8. Its interface is so clogged up with “Suggestions for you” and other marketing crap, watching streaming services like Netflix or Prime Video or Hulu actually take FOREVER to switch channel, pause/play, search, etc.

      My $79 Nvidia Shield Pro blows it away in performance, and runs a newer Android.

      Dumb TV’s need a comeback.


      Smart TV’s need an option to make it dumb and not complain about no internet when you disconnect them.

      And, finally, there are plenty of “monitors” that have distance viewing brightness in mind, they are sold mostly as IOT/Electric Signage type monitors. They are more expensive though.

  2. “HDMI ports are what most external devices today use. You will want at least 3 HDMI ports on your dumb TV.”

    You can solve this by getting an AV receiver. They have gobs of inputs.

    Plus, it’ll have coax/optical/phono/5.1/component/composite/… inputs for all the other old devices you have sitting around. I bet everyone has at least one non-HDMI audio or video device at home somewhere.

    Plus, this opens the door to drastically improving your audio quality. You talk about optical/line audio as features (HDMI ARC is much better), but you’ll need something to plug it into. Get a receiver.

    “Monitors also do not come with a TV tuner. This will be a problem if you’re thinking about watching local channels.”

    TV tuners are cheap. Get the panel you want. Then, if it doesn’t have a TV tuner, buy one and plug it in. Problem solved! The recommended TVs don’t seem to come with antennas, either, so it’s not like you get free viewing out-of-the-box.

    You rightly say that a “Smart TV” isn’t worth the hassle, and you’re better off getting a “Dumb TV” and whatever set-top box you want. True! But then instead of using this same logic to avoid tying yourself to the built-in input ports, built-in speakers, and built-in tuner, you keep those as requirements of the video panel. Why?


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