5 ways to turn off your smart TV

You just want to turn on the TV and play a video game or use your Apple TV or Roku to watch a favorite show, but any time you have to tinker with the look and feel of your TV, there are ads everywhere. Bar ads show input, ads on the screen where you have the app installed – it feels like they’re everywhere. It’s almost impossible to get a “dumb” TV these days that still has everything like modern features. However, there are ways to interfere with the continued onslaught of ads on your device, and we offer five, sorted by increasing complexity and cost.

Some of these are as simple as showing your laziness, while some involve setting up Linux on a Raspberry Pi. There is an option for every skill and level of commitment, and you can pair more than one of these options together for the most effective scenario. The ultimate goal, however, is to allow you to get the most out of your TV without letting its smart features get in the way.

Not connected to the internet

Tips on how
Tips for how to “dumb” your smart TV

The simplest and easiest way to keep your television from throwing ads at you is to not connect it to the internet. If you never plug it into Ethernet or enter your Wi-Fi credentials, the TV won’t be able to connect to the network. That means no updates, but it also means no ads. You can always plug in temporarily to download an update if your TV manufacturer releases a firmware update that enables an important feature, as both LG and Sony have done with recent TVs. . This is especially worth considering if your TV is equipped with microphones and cameras, as the number is increasing.

Turn off automatic content recognition (ACR)

If you must connect your TV to the Internet, check if your smart TV has a feature called Automatic Content Recognition or ACR. When enabled, ACR will try to identify everything you put on the screen. That includes wireless, cable, streaming, and disc media. This information can then be used to show you dynamic ads related to whatever you’re viewing.

Like so many other features, ACR is the industry standard name that every manufacturer changes on their setup. If you’re setting up your TV for the first time, you’ll have the opportunity to turn the feature off immediately. Consumer Reports has great guide to disable this feature on some of the biggest brands.

Use a set-top box

Roku . Streaming Device
Roku . Streaming Device

Instead of installing apps on your TV, use a digital set-top box like Apple TV, Nvidia Shield, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Sticks, or Roku. Many set-top boxes have ads, but it’s usually just an ad on the home screen, making it easier to ignore. Apple’s offering, notably, no Not there are ads.

As a bonus, popular set-top boxes often have better app support with apps being updated more often, while smart TV apps can end up falling victim to faulty TVs. outdated or not powerful enough to play modern content. The box can do what it’s best at – streaming content – while all your TV has to worry about is displaying the picture.

It’s also worth exploring which TVs will let you set them up without forcing you to use a connected interface. For example, sets that use Google TV OS (not Android TV), like TCL’s Mini-LED R646 TV, will let you choose to use Google TV’s defaults, which are more like the TV interface and have more interfaces. over- the end for Google’s media store. However, you can opt out of the Google TV setup and switch to Basic Mode. That way, the TV’s only ad is one that politely suggests that Google TV might be an interesting one. That allows you to use the television as a silent television.

Get AV . receiver

AV receiver
AV receiver

This is arguably the most efficient option on this list, as it will work with almost any type of television. An audio-video receiver, or home theater receiver, is a receiver that can process your device’s video signal and send the audio out to your speakers. This can be a bit complicated to set up as we have found when we try to buy a receiver that fully supports HDMI 2.1 recent, but it can be done and can be very effective. With the right receiver, you’ll be plugging your devices – Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Switch, set-top boxes – into the receiver, not the television.

You can then switch the input on the receiver while always leaving the TV on the same input. In other words, it minimizes how much you have to deal with the digital interface and instead lets you deal with simple buttons.

Another benefit here is that many modern devices are equipped with HDMI-CEC (Household Electronic Controls), allowing your TV and devices to communicate with each other via HDMI. Turning on PlayStation will turn on your TV. Using the volume button on your Xbox media control will change the receiver volume. You’ll still need to hold the remote for more complex actions, but you shouldn’t touch it as often.

Configure a pile hole

Pi-Hole is a silly and crude-sounding name for a powerful little device. One Pi-Hole is a network level tracker and ad blocker. You put this together and configure it yourself using a DIY computer like a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4. There are tons of tutorials on the internet, so we won’t go into the details here. There are great tutorials on YouTube and lots of it text-based ones available. This is the most complicated option on this list, but it can be the most effective.

Once set up, it protects all other devices on your network from ads and trackers. That includes your computer, your phone, and even built-in devices like TVs and set-top boxes. The Raspberry Pi computer can be purchased for as low as $35 and may require you to purchase some extra items like memory, but even with the accessories it’s still cheaper than most set-top boxes. and any receiver. So if you’re willing to do the work, this option will allow you to continue using your smart TV’s features without being bombarded with ads – the best of both worlds.

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