While I have a “smart” TV (2018 model), I do not allow it to connect to the internet. This is because I prefer my TV to behave like a TV traditionally is understood to behave – ie., without spying on me. At the moment, my smart TV is nothing more than a monitor for my Beelink Mini S12 Pro PC (N100 Intel CPU and 16 GB RAM) with the KDE Plasma and Kodi desktop environments (I occasionally use my TV as a monitor for my workstation, but my mini PC earns the vast majority of TV use).

While I recommend using a dedicated Linux computer to power your TV (this can be done relatively cheaply – my Beelink was $179 when I purchased it) instead of a smart TV OS or some proprietary Roku, Amazon, Google, or Apple device, this may not be practical for everyone. Streaming devices or even smart TV operating systems may make sense in some cases (albeit streaming devices are generally the lesser evil here). But even when assessing what I personally consider to be sub-par options, there are different degrees of bad.

On January 15, 2024, Nintendo Life published an article titled Even Your TV Isn’t Safe From Dodgy Mario Clones. I do not like these “your” headlines. My TV is perfectly safe from “dodgy” Mario clones. Speak for yourselves, Nintendo Life. But I digress – I am not writing about Nintendo Life headlines in this article. Instead, let us focus on what the TVs of some Nintendo Life readers are not safe from:

It has been a huge couple of years for Mario. There was the movie, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the Mario RPG and upcoming Thousand-Year Door remakes, an app on the LG TV Content Store, Super Nintendo Wor- wait a second, an LG app? Doesn’t sound very Nintendo-y, does it? That’s because it’s not.

I have an easy, fool-proof method for ensuring that no LG TV owner (insofar as one can own an internet-enabled smart TV) will ever buy a scam game. Let us imagine for a moment that Bob has an LG TV. Bob decides to browse the LG TV Content Store. I have never seen this store, but I assume you can get official streaming apps and the like there. Maybe Bob used it to get Netflix or Hulu or one of those streaming service apps. That is a fair use of the LG TV Content Store for Bob since he is using his LG TV’s operating system. Now from the Nintendo Life article, it appears that there are other kinds of apps available on the store such as knockoff Nintendo games. Bob sees a “Mario” game and is excited for a second: Did Nintendo start producing third party games for smart TVs? But he is unsure. How can he be certain this is really a Nintendo game? I have a solution for Bob.

If you find yourself on the LG TV content store and you are considering buying a game to run on your TV’s operating system, please stop and don’t do that.

Nicholas A. Ferrell

That is a fool-proof tip for never buying a scam game on your LG TV. As a general matter, I would advise against buying any games from a smart TV app store, if you are Bob and you receive a recommendation from Alice. Even assuming arguendo that you can run open source Android apps on an Android-powered TV (I never had an Android-powered TV so I have no idea), I would still advise against running them there. If you want to play games, attach a computer to the TV (laptops work), stream from your phone, or purchase a game console. Please – whatever you do – do not buy games from the LG TV content store. Without having tried said store, I am reasonably confident that hunting for games on it is a poor life-choice.