That is as shut as we’ll get to a dumb TV anytime quickly

A setup screen offering just "basic TV" on a TCL television.
The “Primary TV” choice within the setup of a TCL tv. Phil Nickinson / Digital Developments

On the subject of “sensible TVs,” you’ll usually discover that folk fall into two distinct camps. There are those that say: “Join me to all of the issues!” And there are those that simply desire a show to which they will join different gadgets, like all of our picks for one of the best streaming gadgets.

Neither is essentially the proper route. It’s a matter of desire, and what you’re comfy with. Some people need to restrict the gadgets on their residence networks for privateness causes. Folks simply don’t fear about all of it that a lot. For the previous group, there’s been a little bit of a resurgence within the want for a “dumb TV.” That’s, a tv that lets you join peripherals — like an Apple TV field, or sticks from Roku or Amazon Hearth TV. Or perhaps an over-the-air antenna. However that’s it. There’s no built-in working methods to handle. And no worrying about what kind of knowledge it is perhaps phoning residence.

That’s almost unimaginable to do in 2023. You’ll be hard-pressed to discover a tv that doesn’t have a built-in working system from Roku, Google, Amazon — and even from the producers themselves. LG and Samsung are the large gamers in that area, after all.

However in establishing a brand new TCL TV, I ran throughout one thing that truthfully was a little bit of a shock. The TCL Q6 makes use of Google TV for its working system. And early within the setup course of, you get the choice to go for the complete smash — check in together with your Google account and get every little thing the sensible TV platform has to supply. Or you may go for “primary TV.”

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A setup screen on a TCL TV.
The choice to allow all Google TV options is colourful and crowd pleasing. Phil Nickinson / Digital Developments

It’s attention-grabbing to see how the choices are offered, too. The total Google TV choice is proven with logos and apps and channels. It’s colourful and pretty pleasing to the attention. Why wouldn’t you need that, proper? The essential TV choice, however, kills all of the logos and leaves you with only a monochrome little bit of textual content, highlighting what you do get: dwell TV and exterior gadgets through HDMI.

After that, you’ll nonetheless be offered with the choice to allow a community connection (through Wi-Fi or Ethernet). And also you’ll nonetheless have some phrases and circumstances to conform to, or not. (Some are elective. Some aren’t.) And you’ll decide out of some Google monitoring.

And in spite of everything that, you’re nonetheless not really offered with a dumb TV interface. TCL has its personal dwell information constructed into the OS (along with Google’s personal dwell information, in case you select to log in at first and use that full interface) that’s obtainable even in primary mode. It combines numerous FAST channels (that’s free, ad-supported tv) with an antenna, in case you so select.

So it’s not actually “dumb.” At the very least not till you disconnect your community connection, which you are able to do within the settings. It’s not onerous or something — it simply take just a few clicks with the distant management. It’s not likely what people need, which is an outsized laptop monitor on their wall, with out the outsized value that usually comes with that type of factor.

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However what you get with a comparatively present TCL TV — that choice to make use of the complete Google TV system, or not — most likely is as shut as we’re going to get anytime quickly.