When your TV just isn’t smart – Marin Independent Journal


Independent Journal Frankie Frost / Marin

Barry tompkins

I don’t know Ted Lasso personally, but I hate him.

I’m not jealous because he’s the fictional star of what might be the most popular television series in the western world, but because he’s costing me enough money to have Christmas presents from this year consist of a pair of socks and a gift certificate from a dollar store.

It was because of Ted Lasso that my wife and I decided to open the piggy bank to buy a new television. A “smart” TV that will allow us to access Apple TV, the home of Mr. Lasso and his friends.

To be honest, I never really knew our living room TV was stupid. Mind you, I never really asked him to measure the length of the hypotenuse using the Pythagorean theorem, but he responded very well when I turned up the volume knob.

Turns out all my stupid TV can do is display content from an HDTV antenna or cable, or other A / V source. How stupid is that? No, I think so, how stupid is that? HD, I know, means high definition. How much better can my image be than being highly defined?

Well, it turns out HD in today’s world is pretty much like watching a polar bear in a snowstorm. You know there’s a picture in there somewhere, but it’s nondescript.

And, if the TV I have now is “dumb,” by comparison, the first television my family ever had was downright dumb. He was an admiral with a 6-inch screen that almost doubled in size when covered with a picture enhancer that made Howdy Doody feel like he was standing in front of a funhouse mirror. If I had had my “dumb” television today back then, as part of the great inventions, it would have been up there with fire and wheel.

But now he’s in my living room, his chic soundbar barely holding him, waiting for his inevitable unplugging. It was always stupid, I guess, but it gave us hours and hours of “Jeopardy!” every night until – like “Jeopardy!” – we find a new host.

So now the search for the best TV I can find is on. And who knew, aside from having a higher GPA than anything I’ve ever achieved, today’s “smart” TV isn’t just a provider of family video entertainment. Of course not. Most new TVs have a built-in assistant. Alexa lives inside many TVs today and is there 24/7 to help you do whatever you want your TV to do, like educational programming, productivity, physical fitness and mental health. Alexa is there (she must be extremely skinny) to walk you through a wide range of apps. You can just sit in your living room and get directions to the kitchen.

It all gave me this sobering thought: if my new TV can do it all, why does my wife need me? After all, I don’t even need a funhouse mirror to look misshapen. And look what happened to Howdy Doody.

But, fearlessly, we are stepping into the new era of television. Now the question is, which one is smarter? Are we doing OLED, QLED, 8K resolution, LED or HDR?

And what could be better? Is this the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED? Or should you opt for the LG GX OLED? Or maybe the Sony Bravia XR A80J? I just can’t decide which one to buy – is the Q or the O the better LED? I’ve always liked the X’s in titles. But the J’s are nice too.

Now I’m completely confused so I went to my smartphone and asked Siri, “What should I buy? “

She told me to call Alexa.

Barry Tompkins is a longtime sports broadcaster who lives in Marin. Contact him at [email protected]

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