A TV with an interface that doesn't suck
November 21, 2018 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to buy a 55-65 inch TV, and I have some specific things I'm interested in that don't seem to be easily searchable.

I'm in the market for a 55-65 inch TV to replace a similarly sized TV which is then going to replace a much smaller, ancient TV that's near to giving up the ghost.

Both of my current TVs are LGs. I've been very happy with the picture quality. However, the more recent one (~6 years old) has a user interface that drives me nuts.

Put simply: I should be able to change inputs super fast. I shouldn't have to bring up a menu, wait, click a thing, scroll over, etc, to get to a goddamn input change. I'd be thrilled if there was a button on the remote that just jumped between inputs, and the change happened fast (oh, for the days of physical switches ...).

I also do not care about a TV being smart. I use Chromecasts for everything I need and they do what I want. Built-in apps are a waste of my time.

So: what's your recommendation for a 55-65" TV that actually changes inputs quick and easily and has no smarts or at least minimal/easily ignorable smarts?
posted by tocts to Technology (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
i have 2 (older) Samsung tvs, input switching is a button on the remote
posted by askmehow at 5:50 AM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

My solution is outré and expensive but I'm happy with it: a "dumb" LG OLED Wallpaper Digital Signage display, whose one HDMI input is plugged into a Denon HEOS AVR whose input can be selected from its remote app with one touch but also switches automatically to whichever input is active.
posted by nicwolff at 6:14 AM on November 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I just set up a Samsung 8 series last night to replace my 9 year old pre-smart Samsung that kicked the bucket.

The old TV had a full remote with the input button on it; you can cycle with just that button or you can use the Up and Down buttons to choose.

The remote that came with the new one is very minimal. power, directional buttons, "home", volume, and channel, which forces you to go through the 'smart' menu to change input. I have not tried the voice control for switching input.

the good news is that the all of the functions on the old remote work with the new TV. I'm not sure the same holds true with LG, but it could be something to look at in-store if you go to check out TVs.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:26 AM on November 21, 2018

Best answer: Lots of TVs still have a dedicated input changing button and/or a way to change them automatically. (Or an app that allows a single tap input change)

The Vizio 2018 P series is a great value. The reason I like recent Vizio TVs is that you never have to look at the UI if you don't want to. They work very well as a dumb TV that's just smart enough to work with CEC to automatically change inputs to whatever device you turn on.
posted by wierdo at 6:27 AM on November 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do you want a remote with one button for each input, so it’s a single press to go exactly to the one you want? IME those are becoming pretty rare, probably because there are so many inputs on most modern TVs. You might consider a Harmony universal remote, especially if the devices plugged into the TV each have their own remotes.
posted by supercres at 6:41 AM on November 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a 2015 or 2016 65” Samsung and the remote has both an input button where you have to scroll over, and a separate HDMI button that just switches between HDMI ports. I had to buy a replacement remote that works with a lot of Samsung models, so I’d guess this is a pretty standard feature on Samsungs.
posted by catatethebird at 7:27 AM on November 21, 2018

Aslso, there are a number of Samsung remote apps out there, but none of them support my TV, so that’s something to check if you’d like that feature.
posted by catatethebird at 7:28 AM on November 21, 2018

Receivers seem to have better remotes, plug all your devices into a receiver or HDMI switch and forget that part of the tv. I'm speaking from experience with my Denon remote. I couldn't even tell you where my tv remote is, the tv got configured once and everything else is done through the receiver.
posted by TheAdamist at 8:10 AM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Logitech Harmony Remotes have codes for a bunch of hidden functions, including direct input selections, that can be programmed into buttons. It's likely anything you buy would have direct input selection codes that are present in the database. I know my LG does.

Even the cheapest Harmony would work for this purpose.
posted by doomsey at 8:45 AM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Our Vizio is pretty speedy at switching inputs, which was welcome after a Toshiba that was a real dog in that respect. If you turn off the unused inputs (Antenna can't be turned off, weirdly) cyling through the others is basically a button push. I don't even look at the screen most of the time because I know that the gaming input is the next one after the streaming stick.
posted by wnissen at 9:22 AM on November 21, 2018

Best answer: I will n-th the idea of a Harmony remote; I want the same simplicity in how I interact with my TV, and a Vizio + Chromecast + Harmony remote is pretty much the perfect set-up for me. Now I look at the remotes that come with televisions and think they look huge and bulky and confusing.

We have it set up so hitting "power" takes you right to the Chromecast interface, and you can hit one button to switch inputs to the DVD player and another to get to the Vizio "home" apps (which we never, ever use).
posted by iminurmefi at 10:11 AM on November 21, 2018

I used to use a Harmony remote, and I too will second that - when it worked, it worked quite well. Unfortunately, if the TV takes time to go through its software to change inputs, you're stuck with that lag.

Currently, I have our Vizio fenced off as a dumb TV with just one HDMI input, connected to our Denon receiver. The receiver remote has quick input selection buttons - although we only use our Apple TV for now.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:36 AM on November 21, 2018

Best answer: Another vote for Vizio here. Our dumb TV has an input button on the remote that will display a dropdown of all inputs on screen and then you can use arrow buttons to select the one you want. You can also rename the inputs ("Roku" instead of "HDMI2") which makes it really easy to pick the correct one.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:12 PM on November 21, 2018

I also use a Harmony remote, and it's the first (of about 4) universal remotes that actually took over everything and didn't need me to keep batteries in the original remotes. One of them will probably solve all your input problems, and now's exactly the right time to be looking for a deal on one.
posted by krisjohn at 6:12 PM on November 21, 2018

The TV isn’t always to blame for slow switching. There’s a whole protocol negotiation that goes on over HDMI between the TV and whatever is sending the signal. This is often slow and stupid.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:21 PM on November 21, 2018

The quickest input switching is when you don't have to pick up a remote to do it. Most new TVs support HDMI CEC, which lets your devices automatically switch inputs. Like if you're casting from your phone to Chromecast, the TV will switch to the Chromecast from whatever input it's currently on. A lot of TVs also support HDMI ARC, which lets you send audio out of the TV over HDMI to something like a soundbar.

FWIW, I got a 2018 Vizio P-Series that's ready to be opened tomorrow. Whatever TV you get, check the internets for guides to disable as much tracking as possible, up to keeping it online only for firmware updates. I've never had love for the smart OSes... plug in your streamer of choice and go to town.
posted by homesickness at 12:24 PM on November 22, 2018

Response by poster: Ended up going with a 2018 Vizio P-Series 65", yay! It's nice. Old LG has been relocated to a room where input switching is not really a thing. Even older LG relocated to guest bedroom which is a tad absurd, size wise, but for now fine. Tiny old guest TV gone.

The ciiiiircle of life ...
posted by tocts at 3:11 PM on November 30, 2018

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