It seems like Apple wants me to spend 200 USD on an Apple TV just to wirelessly mirror my MacBook's display onto my smart tv.
Is there really no way to get around this? I'm not afraid of technical solutions.
No, there are in fact other ways to do this wirelessly. However, the methods I've seen require the installation of software and may be restricted to certain brands of TV.
By way of example, you can install Mirror for Samsung TV to mirror whatever is on your Mac to any Samsung TV produced in the past five or so years.
Likewise, you can do the same with:
The above are only some examples. In all cases you need to have good Wi-Fi for these options to work.