Can I Buy a State-of-the-Art Dumb TV?
Q I need a new TV. Here’s what I want: LED-backlit LCD, 55- to 60-inch screen, thin (2 inches or less deep), great picture. I also want it to be truly dumb, with as few Smart features as possible. My research has turned up a new NuVision Lucidium NVU55FX10LS, a 55-inch model that appears to have a good picture. Can you suggest another dumb TV with an equally good picture that might be cheaper? —Dennis A. Fuller / Dallas, TX
A I sympathize with your need to find a TV with great picture quality that’s dumb as opposed to Smart, but that’s a tall order at this point in time. Most TV manufacturers pack their best sets with as many features as possible, with Smart user interfaces usually topping the list. In some cases—LG’s 2013 sets, for example—you can’t even perform basic tasks like switching inputs on the TV without first wading through the Smart UI. Pretty dumb, right?
If you’re intent on finding a set that’s devoid of a Smart UI, Web browser, face-recognizing camera, etc., a few options do exist at the low end of the price range. Samsung’s entry-level UN55FH6030F, for example, is an inexpensive, near-featureless 55-inch model that’s apparently as dumb as a post. You can’t even stream Netflix with it! LG’s affordable LN5400 Series TVs, which come in 55- and 60-inch screen sizes, are also totally brainless, performing no tricks aside from displaying video images conveyed to them through their HDMI and other inputs. Sound & Vision hasn’t reviewed any of these sets yet, however, so I can’t exactly recommend them for picture quality. But since you’re still shopping, I’d suggest checking out some of the 2013 LED-backlit models from manufacturers like Sony and Vizio (my review of Vizio’s 60-inch M Series model will appear on this site shortly) since the Smart UIs on sets from both those manufacturers tend to be less obtrusive than what you find on other similarly-featured TVs.
As for the NuVision Lucidium NVU55FX10LS you mention, Sound&Vision reviewed that TV back in 2011 and found its performance to be, well, just okay. I think you’d probably be better off buying a new LCD set from one of the other manufacturers mentioned above. Besides, NuVision went out of business shortly after our review appeared, so you might find yourself in a tough spot if you ever need to have the set serviced or outfitted with a replacement part.