I wanted to buy a TV a month ago and found that almost all of them are "Smart" nowadays. When I asked for a conventional TV, people ranging from a floor worker at Best Buy to Nikita Danilov at Facebook implied that I was an idiot. Still, I succeeded.
At first, I started looking at what is positioned as "conference room monitor". The NEC E506 is far away the leader, but it's expensive at $800 or so.
Then, I went to Fry's, who advertise quasi-brands like SILO. They had TVs on display, but were out. I was even desperate enough to be upsold to Athyme for $450, but they fortunately were out of that one too.
At that point, I headed to Best Buy, who have an exclusive agreement with Toshiba (h/t Matt Kern on Facebook). I was not happy to support this kind of distasteful arrangement, but very few options remained. There, it was either waiting for delivery, or driving 3 hours to a warehouse store. Considering how much my Jeep burns per mile, I declined.
Finally, I headed to a local Wal-Mart and bought a VISIO for $400 out the door. No fuss, no problem, easy peasy. Should've done that from the start.
P.S. Some people suggested buying a Smart TV and then not plugging it in. It includes not giving it the password for the house WiFi. Unfortunately, it is still problematic, as some of these TVs will associate with any open wireless network by default. An attacker drives by with a passwordless AP, and roots all TVs on the block. Unfortunately, I live an high-tech area where stuff like that happens all the time. When I mentioned it to Nikita, he thought that I was an idiot for sure. It's like a Russian joke about "dropping everything and moving to Uryupinsk."
UPDATE IN 2019: "Taking the smarts out of smart TVs would make them more expensive", according to the interview of Vizio’s CTO Bill Baxter. This quote is money:
So look, it’s not just about data collection. It’s about post-purchase monetization of the TV.