back to article MELTDOWN: Samsung, Sony not-so-smart TVs go titsup for TWO days

Samsung smart TVs have been turned into dumb goggle boxes for the past two days – after the devices have been unable use the internet. Coincidently, Sony smart TVs are also having troubles using the web. A Samsung spokesperson told The Register it is investigating reports that some of its web-connected tellies and Blu-Ray …

"So here are your solutions:"

Are you kidding? It might cover most of here, but we're just scraping the barrel compared to the average Joes out there who don't know IP from cheese.

I've made my views on the "cloud" quite clear here.

Only thing left is to say is I TOLD YOU SO.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: John Tserkezis

"Are you kidding? It might cover most of here, but we're just scraping the barrel compared to the average Joes out there who don't know IP from cheese."

We're a site for professional techies. We're not Samsung's tech support ;-) If you can follow the instructions, great. If not, hammer Sammy – they should be fixing this.

C.

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Re: John Tserkezis

If this was a site for professional techies, there wouldn't be a guide to fix this, as professional techies only connect their TVs to the Internet for security research.

(other than that this site seems to be more aimed at professional salespeople than techies)

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Now working again

My Samsung Blu-ray PVR is now back online - it was still broken last night, so something must have changed in the last few hours. Its DNS config points (as it has always done) to the local gateway (192.168.1.1), which some on other forums have claimed is a problem.

FWIW e1722.g.akamaiedge.net (= www.samsung.com) resolves (for me in the UK) to 184.24.107.225

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Re: John Tserkezis

The solutions suggested in the story don't seem to fix the solution given on that blog page, you need to serve a file on a webserver you control and change your local DNS to make samsung.com point to it.

It's academic now as Samsung have put the XML file back.

That's not a very smart TV if it can't cache that file and goes on strike if it can't find it.

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"I've made my views on the "cloud" quite clear here."

This isn't so much a problem with the "cloud" - from the description given in the story, it's more a problem with crap phoning home and throwing a hissy fit if it's unsuccessful.

But I do agree with you about cloudy crap in general.

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"This isn't so much a problem with the "cloud" - from the description given in the story, it's more a problem with crap phoning home and throwing a hissy fit if it's unsuccessful."

But this is precisly a cloud operation! The TV should be able to work without phoning home first

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Re: John Tserkezis

"That's not a very smart TV if it can't cache that file and goes on strike if it can't find it."

That's not a very smart TV if it has to phone home before allowing the likes of iPlayer or Netflix to work. There's no need at all for that other than data slurping. IMV, no device should be phoning home unless it's to connect to their own app shop or their own apps. It most certainly should not fail to work with 3rd party apps via the users own BB connection, DNS etc. just because "home" isn't answering the phone.

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"But this is precisly a cloud operation! The TV should be able to work without phoning home first"

Only if you take the view that everything on the interwebs is the cloud. I don't - and I therefore certainly don't class "phoning home" as a cloud thing. Although, as this case shows, it is as much of a bloody nuisance.

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Working as designed, just ask Steve Bong!

Actually I'm not even a teensy bit surprised, this is what happens when 20 manufacturers with multiple teams run off in 40+ directions to solve a single marketing bullet-point with no standardisation or harmonisation. It means you end up relying on the manufacturer not changing direction for a decade or so and supporting legacy infrastructure (and we know how much they love doing that).

Case in point, to watch a DVD on a tablet, Samsung produced a great little device, makes a local hotspot as well as supporting wired networks, USB, remote backup to disc, nicely packaged, fairly priced.

Except the ONLY client app you have to use is made by Toshiba(!), unsupported, hasn't had an upgrade in years, and works like a private beta or research project, sometimes you swipe the screen to navigate like a poorly implemented remote control, it handles a tap as an OK, so tapping on a link is actually pressing OK on a different link, the sound levels are consistently 6dB too low, it's a mess. They gave up on it, meaning three best I can hope for is a miserable experience until it dies.

Reminded me to stick to the standards-based stuff, it's why we have them.

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Samsung Ignorant Arrogance

I own a Samsung HomeSync media box. It is a very nice concept, but unusable as a media box. For that, I am happy with a WD Live to stream from my PC. The Samsung box is unusable because of Samsung's ignorant proprietary OS and concept of functionality. I believe that when this TV prob is sorted out, the cause will be the Samsung brain-broke designers.

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Re: Samsung Ignorant Arrogance

I've tried WD Live, but its format support isn't up to snuff and its upscaler is the pits. I'd be more inclined to use one of those newer Pi' 2s to install Kodi (I tried it with the original B, but even with 2.1A backing it up it couldn't seem to remain stable; perhaps the stronger 2 can better handle it).

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I am hoping for a stupid TV to become available.

After following all the problems and issues with so called smart TVs I a waiting for newer stupid TVs to come to the market before replacing my current old stupid TV.

If I want to surf, I have computers, tables and more for such, I do not need that on a TV.

Unfortunately it seems like I will have to wait until someone comes out with reasonable priced 4K monitors that are large enough as TVs just seem to get "smarter and smarter" according to their advertising with no basic TVs available for sale.

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Re: I am hoping for a stupid TV to become available.

Err, just don't plug it onto the interwebs? It'll be as dumb as you like.

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Re: I am hoping for a stupid TV to become available.

I haven't seen one smart TV interface I like and LG and Samsung ones have been caught uploading stuff to the mothership.

Stupid TV (or even monitor) + Android TV stick/box + Kodi FTW. If you use Amazon, Netflix, etc... then minimal gapps as well.

Not an official Google Android TV box though, those probably have the same problem as smart TVs.

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Re: I am hoping for a stupid TV to become available.

But for a more powerful solution (for fancy skins with fancy menus), use a cheap <$150 Intel NUC (with built-in IR) and OpenELEC (Linux+Kodi [previously known as XBMC]). It will play every swinging file you can throw at it (and decode it in hardware if your kit can do it), it can even decode H.265 in software if you are running something a little more beefy.

If you run Windows there are ways (addons) to use Amazon and Netflix too.

I imagine you already know all that Dan55, I was just sharing because I really like Kodi.

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Re: I am hoping for a stupid TV to become available.

Tried this with Blu Ray and got for a film

Please connect the Blu Ray to the internet to authenticate the disc or something like that.

It was a bad move as nearly half an hour later the Samsung Blu Ray was still updating firmware and apps for stuff I have never used before.

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Re: I am hoping for a stupid TV to become available.

I've steen Intel NUCs with Windows andere Intel drivers phone home, they connect to servicegateway.intel.com for some reason. Without the Intel anti theft stuff installed.

You can learn all sorts of interesting things, watching internet traffic of things.

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Anonymous Coward

Turns a Smart TV into a Dumb TV?

What's not to like about this?

Ok so I don't have one of these but I'm not interested in all this internet connectivity from my TV. It is a two-way street as we all know. So my (cough-cough) late night trip to the Hot-Babes channel will be broadcast to the mothership.

I really don't want the world and their dog to know

1) What TV Channels I watch

2) What I record for later viewing.

I see that not being able to reach the Samsung or Sony or LG Motherships as a big win win.

The problem starts when this inability to phone home stops the whole thing from working let alone as a dumb TV.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Turns a Smart TV into a Dumb TV?

The problem starts when this inability to phone home stops the whole thing from working let alone as a dumb TV.

Give it time. I'm sure they're working on eventually having complete control and knowledge of your viewing experience.

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Re: Turns a Smart TV into a Dumb TV?

Agree, my TV manufacturer has no business monitoring my (actually rather benign, but that's my choice) viewing. Less still do they have any business installing dreadful apps like Samsung force onto my phone which through terrible design and lazy programming take clock cycles and memory on my phone even when completely unused in years. These shitty apps grow and proliferate with each generation, meaning I now have to delete stuff I want in order to accommodate stuff I don't. That'll happen to all your smart devices too, give it another year.

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Why would you even fix this?

Seriously is there any reason why you would want your TV-set to phone home? It sounds like a terrible idea to me.

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Re: Why would you even fix this?

What's a terrible idea is buying a TV that insists on resolving the OEM's domain as a "test" that the internet is working, and then assumes the internet is not working if that test fails. YDI.

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Facepalm

Re: Why would you even fix this?

@Christian Berger - "Why would you even fix this?Yeah, why would people who pay for Netflix want to connect to the internet?"

Oh FFS - is it too difficult to understand that some of us have TVs with native iPlayer and Netflix apps (which, by the way has no microphone or camera) which we might actually want to use.

I'll be honest, I don't mind my TV knowing which iPlayer programme I've watched as amazingly, iPlayer already knows that too! (and they know no more about me than the TV)

I know privacy is a big issue but not everything is a privacy issue - this is about a TV seemingly so badly made that to watch YouTube, the TV has to know that it can reach an ip address that has nothing to do with YouTube.

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Re: Why would you even fix this?

I think the problem (on Samsung anyway) is that the Smart TV is a walled garden - it displays a page (which I'm guessing comes from a Samsung web site) of icons that you can select using your remote (including iPlayer and YouTube, but not e.g. 4OD). So if you can't reach 'samsung.com', you're really dead in the water.

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Anonymous Coward

In a word...Feeble..

Really hope this slows the rise of the Smart TV versus availability of basic models. But I doubt it! The mainstream media are fast asleep... As their are on every other tech issue, save for collating how many users Twitter / Facebook added this week.

Ad to that (deliberate pun), Samsung and LG just don't listen to their customers. They've committed themselves to the their plans of having every TV net connected by two years time. Just like the SIM card maker that didn't get hacked, they're hoping this will all blow over quickly!

Ouch!.. Help get the word out folks! .. .. Death to Smart TV's!

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Re: I agree

I will simply not give it my Wifi password and not plug it into a CAT5 cable, so unless they put a SIM and transceiver in my TV it can't ever phone home. They can want it connected all they want, but we decide whether to let it into our data network. Who cares what crappy players they put in their TVs, I would never use it anyway, they never support every codec and usually have menu systems created by morons anyway. Add in privacy issues and the choice becomes clear, just don't use those features.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I agree

The horse has bolted MacGyver!!! Its not in your hands...Its already been shown that LG TV's disable a host of features if you don't let the Smart TV spy on you and report back....

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Re: I agree

My Sony TV works very well, I can watch Netflix and Amazon prime without powering up the PS3 or 4, show photos from my Xperia Z without cables, and get a detailed program view, far superior to the Freeview or Virgin Media offerings.

It can record to USB, I have the PS4's old 500Gb hard drive plugged in at the moment.

It's a great device, convergence is here to stay in our house.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems to be back up now, but thanks for the dnsmasq tip, added in case of future mishaps.

(I guess I should complain about having a single point of failure, but I'm not surprised at all, very smart the TV is not. Still, convenient to be able to use Netflix and HBO Nordic, and few local streaming services, directly from the TV. The interface sucks, but in the case of Netflix, just browse beforehand what you want to watch and add to your playlist, that is readily available from the TV app. As to privacy concerns, if someone finds out I just watched a crappy 80s horror flick, so be it. And no, I don't have a voice-enabled model, they're just plain creepy with the recent discoveries.)

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Storm in a teacup!

Get over it. If you're willing to wear a tin hat and cut yourself off from everything to avoid being snooped on then fair enough, you have a point to be made.

If you have a debit/credit card, a drivers License, utility bills, bus pass/travelcard/oyster card, mortgage, loans or finance of any sort, mobile phone, land line, cctv outside your front door and even step foot into most shops then you're being tailed. You're an idiot if you think otherwise.

Your telly is just one more thing adding to the already massive amounts of data being collected on you. It's too late to lose sleep over it now.

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Stop

Re: Storm in a teacup!

It's not all or nothing, you know. You can choose to opt out of certain things, like mothership-reporting TVs, Facebook, and loyalty cards.

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Big Brother

Re: Storm in a teacup!

Actually, it's closer to all or nothing than you think. If it ain't one thing recording you, it's another, and you have no control over what happens in public streets where it's a free-for-all. Heck, thanks to satellites and aerial photography, they can even take multiple pictures (including infrared) of a mountain retreat miles from any electricity. So no, retreating to the mountains is becoming less viable of an option.

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Re: Storm in a teacup!

What exactly is tin foil hat about not wanting my TV to phone home?

If this is what you fancy, by all means please go on. You can also request your next house to be made of glass. Some of us still do not wish that kind of openness and there is nothing wrong with it.

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It does seem odd that two brands were/are having the issue at the same time. And the reboot the TV advice seems right out the MS Helldesk playbook.

BTW, I'm a techie (not security nor sysadmin) but I won't own a smart TV and nor do I even attempt to give help to friends and relatives who own them. It's bad enough at times with PC help....

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Headmaster

According to sleuths commenting on the outage, the TVs expect to talk to a machine with the IP address 23.66.247.46 to confirm they have a working internet connection.

Well, not really. As the output from host shows, the address resolves to a node in Akamai's Content Distribution Network. These things change according to time and location. Currently I get a different IP according to whether I'm coming in from home or the office (just 3km away). To expect a single address to work, and to keep working, for everybody around the world (or even just in Blighty) is optimistic.

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An alternative to TV

Buy a large goldfish tank - in the long run it may be nearly as expensive as a fancy TV, but it's a lot more soothing to watch.

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Thumb Up

Preferred by 9 out of 10 cats

FYI, the Germans call it 'Katzenfernseher', Cat TV

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Re: Preferred by 9 out of 10 cats

Quite literally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlvxgOa6IbM

There is a longer version also of about 30 mins.

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Unhappy

Re: Preferred by 9 out of 10 cats

Can't be stopped by a Katzenjammer though

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Anonymous Coward

TV Makers should stick to what they know

Make a decent media center type PC and give the TV a nice connection method. Allow customers to choose PC. People good at software can manage it and secure it.

TV will never be smart, just connected as far as I can see so far...

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Anonymous Coward

Missed the obvious

I've been checking signal strength and other settings on the wifi router for two days. Obviously I should have blamed manufacturer from the start.

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Alien

OI! Moderator

Paragraph 6, link to contact samsung .com

href="http://www.sodnpoo.com/posts.xml/spoofing_the_samsung_smart_tv_internet_check.xml" contact code www.samsung.com code to check

Please explain

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Re: OI! Moderator

It's a link to a page where someone tells how he figured out what sort of "phone home" his TV was doing. What's to explain, and why ask a forum moderator?

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" I keep getting the loading thing in the top right & "service The service cannot be accessed at this time" message pls HELP"

I love getting bug reports like this.

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Megaphone

Bingo!

"Samsung is aware that some consumers have reported challenges ...."

Problem, the word is problem, not challenge.

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Re: Bingo!

I think your buzzword dictionary needs updating. I've been hearing the "challenge" thing for probably 15 years. Usually from management as if they're trying to hide the fact that you'll need lots of aspirin and adult beverages to deal with the latest "challenge"... err... asinine idea.

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Smart TVs Suck

My mum got a new Toshiba smart TV recently, and the BBC iPlayer app was incredibly jerky. The novel solution was to get a Roku stick which worked perfectly. The smart TV 'functionality' will never be used again.

Why can they not get things to work correctly out of the factory?

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Bod

Re: Smart TVs Suck

My Samsung woks rather well. As an Amazon Prime subscriber I use Amazon Instant Video a fair bit for the inclusive content, and the HD content is really quite good. A lot of stuff I've watched and won't bother now buying on Blu Ray.

Though I do have a 76mbps connection ;)

Oh and I use the Plex app a lot which talks to my NAS media server. That thankfully worked even though the TV was showing no Internet connection.

the iPlayer app is not the best, but adequate. I prefer iPlayer on Sky HD, especially as it can download the content.

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Re: Smart TVs Suck

But what about the stir fry?

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