Best Dumb TVs in 2023

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Updated January 26, 2023

In the era of smart technology, dumb TVs are still widely available. In fact, they’re considered the best TVs among customers who prefer a little less complicated TV experience. The best dumb TV sets generally offer basic features, such as a remote control, HDMI ports to connect external devices, and a small to medium screen size.

For those concerned with security, dumb TVs are considered more secure and reliable than smart TVs since you can’t connect them to the internet. Instead, you’ll have to subscribe to a cable service plan to consume visual content.

Keep reading our buying guide to learn everything you need to know about dumb TVs and how they could give you some peace of mind in an internet-dominated time.

Top Dumb TVs

 #1  LG 24LJ4540-WU 24-Inch TV


WHY WE LIKE IT: This TV has a compact design that’s suitable for dorm rooms and apartments. It features an advanced backlighting method that delivers bright visuals with natural colors.

  • Extremely bright display
  • Excellent colors
  • HDMI and USB ports
  • Low HD resolution

With its simplistic design, the LG 24LJ4540-WU 24-inch design will appeal to people who want to enjoy traditional cable. It has an LED-backlit display that produces vibrant pictures that stand out. This TV comes with a sturdy stand that offers excellent support, and it has a Triple XD Engine that processes images smoothly for great performance. It produces natural vibrant colors that will appeal to movie lovers and gamers. However, this unit’s maximum resolution of 720p is on the low side.

This model has an RF port for an antenna and an HDMI port for connecting computers and consoles. It has a 60Hz refresh rate that’s ideal for movies. This TV comes with two 3W built-in stereo speakers that offer audio playback, and the TV is quite compact, fitting easily on small TV stands in dorm rooms and apartments. An included full-service remote control enables operating this TV easily. With a USB port, this display connects to thumb drives and external drives. The display quality can also perform well enough in a bright space, like the best TV for bright rooms.

 #2  Sansui ES24Z1 24-Inch TV


WHY WE LIKE IT: This TV features a number of ports that facilitate connecting to a wide variety of devices. It has slim bezels, providing an immersive viewing experience.

  • Immersive slim bezels
  • Huge selection of ports
  • Dolby Audio
  • Too small for some living rooms

The Sansui ES24Z1 24-inch TV boasts a number of modern features that will appeal to movie buffs. This TV has an HD 720p display that offers vibrant imagery. It has wide 178-degree viewing angles, delivering excellent pictures in all corners of the living room. Featuring a compact design, this TV is ideal for dorm rooms, apartments, and small homes. It has HDMI and VGA inputs for connecting older and modern computers. However, this display is too small for the typical living room.

A VESA interface on this TV enables hassle-free wall mounting. This TV comes with high-quality stands that offer stability. It has slim bezels on both sides to provide an immersive viewing experience. Users who want to display media files can mount USB drives via the TV’s USB ports. This model also features an AV IN port for connecting DVD players and other devices. A remote control enables operating this device easily. This model supports Dolby Audio, providing a rich auditory experience.

 #3  Komodo by Sceptre 50-Inch TV


WHY WE LIKE IT: With a gigantic screen, this television is suitable for living rooms, home theaters, and game rooms. It boasts MHL tech for connecting to smartphones and MEMC 120 tech for producing smooth videos.

  • Ultra-thin bezels
  • Large 50-inch screen
  • DTS SRS TruSurround HD
  • So-so built-in speakers

Users who need a large screen will be pleased with the Komodo by Sceptre 50-inch TV. This device boasts Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation (MEMC) 120 tech that provides smooth visuals that will appeal to movie lovers and gaming enthusiasts. This monitor supports Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) technology, allowing users to share content from smartphones in high definition. Although this monitor has built-in speakers, they don’t get very loud and lack bass.

It has a USB port for attaching flash drives and external storage drives. This TV has remarkably thin bezels that offer visual appeal and provide a hypnotic viewing experience. DTS SRS TruSurround technology delivers high-fidelity audio with deep bass and smooth treble. This computer has an HDMI port for connecting to computers and gaming consoles, and it has conveniently located controls that allow navigating through the OSD menu easily. A VESA mounting interface allows fixing this device on the wall.

 #4  RCA Clearview 15-Inch TV


WHY WE LIKE IT: This TV has a compact design, providing outstanding portability. It has a transparent polycarbonate shell that protects the interior components and provides visual appeal.

  • Incredibly lightweight, portable design
  • VGA, HDMI, and AV IN inputs
  • Visually pleasing polycarbonate shell
  • Mediocre sound
  • Too small for living rooms

Users seeking a compact TV for travel or for outfitting a bedroom should consider the RCA Clearview 15-inch TV. This television has a 720p display that delivers outstanding picture quality. It has a 60Hz refresh rate that is ideal for movies and working with text. We like the see-through polycarbonate shell of this TV that provides protection against knocks and impacts. This TV is suitable for bedrooms, dorm rooms, and apartments. However, it’s too small for families.

The TV has both VGA and HDMI ports, enabling users to connect to a wide variety of computers and gaming consoles. It comes with a full-function remote that simplifies navigating and changing settings. This remote features a unique clear design that matches the TV’s polycarbonate shell. Equipped with an AV IN port, this TV is compatible with a number of DVD players. It has a transparent chassis, enabling users to view the interior components.

 #5  Caixun EC24T1H 24-Inch TV


WHY WE LIKE IT: This TV has a compact design that’s ideal for bedrooms and dorm rooms. It has a selection of useful ports that simplify connecting to computers, video game consoles, and DVD players.

  • Huge collection of ports
  • Dolby audio
  • LED backlighting tech
  • Mediocre refresh rate

The Caixun EC24T1H 24-inch monitor impresses with its superb colors and detailed imagery. This TV has an HD 1366 x 768 display that offers fairly vibrant images. With 178-degree viewing angles, this screen produces consistent colors and lighting when viewed from various directions. It supports Dolby Audio, producing a spatial sound that will bring movies and gameplay to life. However, this television’s 60Hz refresh rate is not suitable for professional gaming.

This TV has a 100mm x 100mm VESA interface that allows mounting this device on the wall or on a third-party TV stand. It boasts a wide variety of inputs, including VGA and HDMI, connecting easily to newer and older computers. An AV IN port provides compatibility with DVD players and similar devices, while a USB port accommodates storage drives. This television comes with remote control, offering hassle-free management. It has vibrant colors and boasts LED backlighting tech, providing very bright images.

 #6  Norcent N24-HD1 24-Inch TV


WHY WE LIKE IT: This television has a range of connectivity options that simplify connecting to computers and consoles. It has a Triple XD Engine that provides flawless, stutter-free playback and produces vivid, vibrant images.

  • Brilliant imagery
  • Built-in RF port for cable TV
  • VGA, USB, and HDMI ports
  • Poor quality sound

This Norcent N24-HD1 24-inch TV has a 720p display that is ideal for movies and gaming. This TV is ideal for people seeking a model for the bedroom or dorm room. It comes with remote control with comprehensive controls for simple operation. This television runs on a Triple XD Engine that offers outstanding image processing for flawless performance. It boasts a full-range sound system with 3W dual channel speakers for audio playback, although the speakers don’t get very loud.

The TV comes with dual stands that provide stability, preventing the TV from tipping over. It has VGA, USB, and HDMI ports, providing connectivity with everything from laptops and desktops to video game consoles and storage drives. This model has a built-in digital TV tuner interface for connecting to cable. Featuring LED backlighting tech, this television offers bright visuals and saves energy. It has a high contrast ratio, displaying deep black colors accurately.

Beginner’s Guide to Dumb TVs

What is a Dumb TV?

A dumb TV is a television that doesn’t feature built-in internet or any other kind of smart features. Before the advent of smart TVs, they were the only type of television on the market, but today, you’re limited to only a few models.

With that said, if you’re after a dumb TV, you’ll want to know when do these TVs go on sale and when is the best time to buy a TV. You want to get in on the good sales, especially if you’re just shopping for a great 32-inch TV for gaming. Even if you’re just after a strong TV antenna, you’ll want to get these at a discount.

As mentioned, they offer the most basic features a TV could provide, which is better than an old CRT TV any day. But at the same time, you’ll be protected from personalized ads, third-party selling of your data, and continuous monitoring of what, when, and how you consume content. This way, you can have a solid TV experience without worrying about these additional privacy complications.

Dumb TV vs Other TVs

With smart TVs becoming a standard offering today, the market has almost completely phased out older, non-smart models. Dumb TVs, unlike smart ones, rely on cable service providers or an external streaming device, like Fire TV or Chromecast, to stream content rather than having an operating system and built-in streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube. But, they can be placed practically anywhere, so if you want to know if a wall mount vs TV stand is best, our guide can help you.

Since you can connect them to any app or platform on the internet, Smart TVs have completely altered how we consume content. In contrast, dumb TVs don’t connect to the internet and are still in demand by people who want to enjoy their TV experience in an old-fashioned way. This means they want nothing to do with unwelcome tracking and extra features like voice control, app-based remote control, and 4K resolution.

There’s no denying that you’ll get superior features with a smart TV, like the best Android TVs, but some people just don’t prefer the extra bells and whistles of smart technology. Moreover, you can always attach a Roku streaming stick or Fire TV if you want to stream content.

Before moving on, if you have trouble with your TV now and need help, check out our info guides to TV DIY. These include how to improve a TV signal, how to fix dead pixels on a TV, and how to fix black spots on a TV screen.

How a Dumb TV Works

Though most people dismiss dumb TVs as items of the past, they haven’t completely fallen by the wayside. These TVs are less complicated options as compared to their newer and smarter alternatives.

Since they lack smart functionality and cannot be connected to the internet, you’ll have to subscribe to a package provided by a cable service provider. Moreover, if you’re wondering, “How do I cast to my TV even though it’s dumb?” just know you’ll need an external streaming device to accomplish this.

Some people find dumb TVs more convenient than dealing with smart TVs’ convoluted operating systems and interfaces. Plus, security and privacy risks are real. Internet-equipped devices use Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) to keep a tab on what you’re watching. Additionally, they have integrated cameras, giving enough room for hackers to spy on you.

Surfing through channels on a dumb TV is a straightforward affair as it requires just using the remote control to enter a number to view your favorite cable TV shows or local channels. Conversely, many smart TVs are riddled with poor interfaces requiring multiple button presses to type a single word.

With dumb TVs, you don’t risk exposing conversations with a mic-enabled system, as every aspect of watching TV is discreet. Plus, you’ll never run into glitches with a dumb TV unless there’s an issue from your cable provider’s end. Dumb TVs aren’t associated with content providers like YouTube and Hulu, but if you want to consume online content shows from a streaming service, you can attach a streaming device or connect your laptop to one of the HDMI ports.

Why should you buy a Dumb TV?

As the advancement of technology makes our lives easier with smarter alternatives, why do people still want to opt for televisions with fewer capabilities? The answer is simple—more technology doesn’t always equate to simpler living. It can bring unnecessary complications that people don’t want to deal with, making non-smart or dumb versions a better choice.

Are Dumb TVs Worth Buying?

  • You Prefer a Reliable TV Set: Since dumb TVs don’t have an underlying operating system that can crash at any time, they are considered a reliable option compared to Smart TVs. But, you can connect a VCR to a TV like this for easy video playing.
  • You’re Concerned About Security: You can’t connect dumb TVs to the internet, which means these devices don’t have access to other devices on your home networks, nor do they have cameras or mics for hackers to spy and snoop in on your conversations. This way, your private data is always protected, and you don’t become a victim of personalized ads. If you already have a smart TV, you can dumb it down by not connecting it to the internet.
  • You Like the Simplicity of Dumb TVs: You may just want to stick with what you already know instead of jumping in on a trend where everybody’s learning how to operate Smart TVs. Note that the learning curve for Smart TVs can feel steep for some people, proving unnecessary if you just want to watch a simple TV show.

Why a Dumb TV May Not Be for You

  • You Prefer 4K Screen Resolution and Advanced Display Technology: Chances are you’ll find a dumb TV that offers only 1080p or 720p resolution. If the screen resolution is your priority and you want a 4K TV, countless smart TV options like the best Hisense TV are available on the market. Similarly, you won’t find any OLED and QLED dumb TVs in the market.
  • Smart TV Features Appeal to You: Features like web browsing, gaming, voice control, and scrolling on social media may be reason enough for you to upgrade to a smart TV. And you can do that by following our guide on how to make a TV a smart TV. However, if you just want Bluetooth capabilities, you can follow our guide on how to add Bluetooth to a TV.

How Long Will a Dumb TV Last?

The lifespan of a dumb TV depends on how frequently it’s used, how well it’s maintained, its quality, and above all, its display technology—LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED.

An LCD TV packs around 50,000 to 60,000 hours of viewing and can last for nearly two decades, but it’ll mostly stop functioning after a decade due to other reasons.

An LED TV offers between 40,000 and 100,000 hours of viewing at maximum or near-maximum brightness. Even with heavy viewing, these TVs will work properly for at least 5 to 7 years, and over a decade with moderate or low usage. But beyond that period, you’ll notice a decrease in picture quality.

OLED TVs perform better than LED displays but have a limited lifespan. After about 7 to 10 years of use at optimal settings, you may see a notable decrease in performance and image quality.

Lastly, QLEDs (Quantum light-emitting diodes) offer exceptional picture quality even after years of extensive use. At optimal settings, these TVs will last you between 7 to 10 years, or even longer.

To increase the lifespan of your TV, turn it off when you’re not watching anything instead of keeping it on standby mode. Additionally, a well-ventilated stand that provides approximately four inches of space between the TV and the walls will go a long way in ensuring your TV doesn’t overheat and get damaged.

Ash and dust can also reduce your TV’s lifespan, so you must regularly clean it to prevent unwanted build-ups. And remember that the higher your TV’s brightness, the more power it will use, so adjust your brightness accordingly to ensure it lasts longer.

How to Choose the Best Dumb TV

Now that you’ve decided to opt for a dumb TV, there are several factors, such as resolution, display technology, budget, and more, to consider. Let’s look at these below.

Dumb TV Key Factors

  • What Display Technology Do You Want?

There are four common display technologies in the market — LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED. Most dumb TVs in the market currently will feature either an LCD or LED display.

LCD is short for liquid crystal display, and these displays utilize fluorescent tubes to produce light and brighten the picture. These TVs are low on cost, but the picture quality on these is among the lowest.

LED (light-emitting diode) also depends on a liquid crystal display, but it uses light-emitting diodes to produce lights. This technology leads to superior picture quality and sharper images than standard LCDs.

Next, you have OLED TVs that use organic LEDs instead of backlighting. Each OLED subpixel creates its own light. These displays achieve a state of absolute black which is not attainable with LED displays.

Lastly, QLED (Quantum-dot LED) displays have traditional LCD panels that are lit by LEDs. A quantum dot layer fills the gap between the LCD panel and the backlight to create more saturated colors, but it’s not backlight-free like OLED displays. QLED displays are significantly brighter than OLEDs and are an excellent choice for sunny spaces that receive a lot of ambient light. But in terms of picture quality and realism, OLEDs usually perform better.

  • What Screen Resolution Do You Prefer?

Resolution is the number of pixels that compose a picture on the TV screen. The greater the pixel count, the higher the quality and sharpness of the visuals onscreen.

At HD resolution (720p), you have 921,600 pixels, which increases to 2 million with Full HD (1080p). But with 4K, the pixels bump up to 8 million, which means all the visuals will have incredible clarity despite the size of the display.

You’ll not find dumb TVs with 4K resolution in the market, so your options are limited to HD and Full HD resolution instead of the 4K resolution that most smart TVs offer today.

  • How Many HDMI Ports Do You Require?

The number of ports you need depends on how many devices you plan to connect to it. You’ll need HDMI ports to connect the sound system and your game consoles, like the PS5 and Nintendo Switch, if you’re into gaming. You should get a TV with as many HDMI ports as you will need, but this isn’t always possible. If you need more than a TV can offer, you can check out how to add HDMI ports to your TV. You may also want to check if the TV has a USB port for connecting external hard drives.

  • What About Screen Size?

When it comes to the screen size of a dumb TV, you’re limited once again. There are no 75- or 85-inch TVs in the market without smart features.

With dumb TVs, you’re looking at sizes between 23 inches and 55 inches. You should also determine screen size based on how close you sit to the TV. A general rule to follow is that the distance between you and the TV must be three times more than the screen’s height.

  • What’s Your Budget?

Dumb TVs are usually budget-friendly and fall between the price range of $150 to $400. Though you’ll have to settle for a small screen at low price points, on the upper end, you’ll generally find features like an LED display, a larger screen size (55 inches), integrated speakers, and Full HD resolution, depending on the brand.

Lesser-known brands manufacture most non-smart or dumb TVs, but that doesn’t make them inferior in any way. If you decide that you want smart functionality in the future, you can check out our LG smart TV upgrader review instead of having to buy a whole new TV.

Best Dumb TV FAQs

Which TV is best: smart or non-smart?

This ultimately depends on your preferences. When it comes to display size and screen resolution, smart TVs take the crown. But they also come with additional security issues when connected to the internet. Non-smart TVs are less complex and require a cable service provider to stream content.

Can you still buy a TV that is not smart?

Yes, many lesser-known TV manufacturers like Seiki and Spectre still sell dumb TVs, but your options might be limited since smart TVs have taken over.

Do smart TVs have hidden cameras?

Smart TVs are usually equipped with built-in cameras as they offer facial recognition and video chat features. If you feel these cameras are an unnecessary add-on, you have an option to disable them.

Does LG make a dumb TV?

Yes, LG manufactures a 32 inch LED HD TV with a screen resolution of 720p and includes LG’s Wide Color Enhancer Technology. Since it’s smaller in size, it’ll make for a splendid addition to a bedroom.

Is Netflix free on a smart TV?

Similar to your smartphone, the Netflix app is free to download on a smart TV, but you’ll have to pay the subscription fee to stream content from it.
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