Tuner Free Displays vs TVs (Be Careful Before You Buy)


What is a Tuner?

A tuner is a built-in component in conventional TV sets that are required to receive over-the-air (OTA) digital broadcasts. Tuners decode the broadcast signals.

What is a Tuner-Free Display?

The new product in town which has no tuner, can’t be called a TV; thus, it’s called a display. Without the tuner, one can’t watch live broadcasts from popular channels like Fox, CBS, PBS, NBC etc. There’s still one way to watch them though and that’s by purchasing a separate tuner and HDMI cable.

Tuner-free displays are an innovation by Vizio. They brought such a product to town in favor of cord-cutters who don’t use an antenna or cable TV. According to a survey, only 10% of the customers watched OTA broadcasts; so, removing the tuner from the TV wouldn’t affect a large population. Rather, the omission of the tuner simplifies setups and usage of the display and gives a better experience to the customer. The product has built-in Google Cast and a marvelous Android-based remote. With the technology advancing day-by-day, having an inbuilt tuner may limit the display’s compatibility in the future.

The Benefits of a Tuner Free Display

Price plays an important role here. For cord cutters who don’t require a tuner, they get a fantastic display at very compelling prices. The company benefits from this cost-cutting too, as the tuner has manufacturing costs along with licensing fees and more taxes on TVs as compared to displays. Displays with a built-in tuner cost at least 20% more. It’s overall a great strategy.

Cord cutters who strictly stream their content online, benefit greatly from the prospect of a simpler, cheaper TV. Cord cutters can save even more by ditching long-term cable contracts. However, any savings need to account for the initial investment in external tuners, antennae and any associated setup costs.

Things to Look For When Shopping

Coaxial Input

The majority of the population still isn’t aware of the concept of tuner-free displays. If you’re looking for TVs and not displays, here are some things that you must check before buying a product:

  • Make sure the product name is mentioned as ‘TV’ and not a display or monitor. Under the law, a TV must contain a tuner.
  • In the pictures of the TV, in the rear panel make sure there’s a coax round connector.
  • In the details given on the TV, make sure there’s an antenna, RF, coax or cable TV input.

If you wanted to buy a TV but bought a display instead due to lack of information, you can use this alternative method to still be able to stream OTA content. Buy an additional tuner that is high definition and has an HDMI output. You’ll have two remote controls due to this.

Before you shop for a new TV remember to read up on what you are getting. A few minutes of research can save you the hassle of getting the wrong product and making a return visit to the electronics store.

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