Smart TVs are everywhere these days. Most of them are based on Android and they collect a whole bunch of data from you. Some of them are even spying on you. Vizio was busted for using 11 million TVs to spy on its customers.
So what to do? You can:
1. If you already own a smart TV ( or don’t want to bother with option #2 ), consider using Pi-Hole and avoid smart TV with incorporated webcams and mics or remote with incporporated mics.
2. Take a look at KDE’s Plasma Bigscreen project.
If the name KDE sounds familiar that’s because it’s a project that started almost 24 years ago and KDE Plasma is the default desktop environment on many Linux distributions. Or maybe you’ve heard of Plasma mobile for Linux-based smartphones such as the PinePhone.
Anyway long story short, KDE Plasma Bigscreen is a new KDE project that turns your “dumb” TV into a smart TV using only open source technologies. All you need is a Raspeberry Pi and an HDMI port on your TV.
With Plasma Bigscreen you will be able to install all sorts of desktop application redesigned for Bigscreen, get voice control support thanks to Mycroft AI ( open source voice assistant ) and you don’t even need a special remote. You can use your regular remote to control your TV.
The good: Plasma Bigscreen is free ( as in beer and freedom )
The not-so-good: Plasma Bigscreen is still in beta phase with no ETA for a stable release.
If you want to learn more about Plasma BigScreen check out the official website. You can also download the beta preview and try it right now.
Also check out a video preview below. Bare in mind that this is still in Beta and according to Aditya Mehra “screen recording on the rpi4 while trying to do a bunch of task for a video isn’t exactly optimized”.