I was thinking how dumb this sounds - why bother with the "phone home" bit at all? Then I remembered this is exactly how iThings implement WiFi login portal detection - request some Apple URL; if that gets hijacked to a login page, display that before you regard the WiFi connection as "up". They do handle failure more gracefully, though: as I recall, if Apple's URL isn't reachable, it tells you the connection doesn't seem to have working Net access and asks if you want to connect regardless, or try another access point.
So, if Samsung fold, or samsung.com somehow gets taken over (court order, Nokia-style split between the different bits of company, etc) those "smart" TVs become permanently dumb barring a hack like this? Thanks Samsung. At least when other manufacturers fold, you just have to do without support and firmware updates, instead of having the kit brick itself!