back to article Now Samsung's spying smart TVs insert ADS in YOUR OWN movies

Samsung Electronics says it is not deliberately inserting ads into peoples' privately owned films following complaints from Australians. Sammy said the adverts appeared due to an "error", and has announced an investigation. It emerged that embedded ads were appearing in the company's video streaming app, after users took to …

  1. Electron Shepherd

    Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

    What they said:

    "This seems to be caused by an error, and we are currently conducting a full and thorough investigation into the cause as our top priority."

    "This situation has so far been reported only in Australia."

    What they meant

    "This was actually caused by our marketing department conducting a subtle survey to gauge reaction to making it mandatory for all content viewed on a Samsung device to include adverts."

    "We're still negotiating our fees with Pepsi in other regions."

    1. ravenviz
      WTF?

      Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

      Why don't they have a telly where you can opt out of all adverts.

      The End.

      1. Electron Shepherd

        Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

        I know one couple who record all programs they want to watch on ITV, Channel 4 and so on, and then play them back later. The reason? So they can simply fast-forward through all the commercials.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

          Doesn't everyone do that? I rarely watch anything live on channels with adverts now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Doesn't everyone do that?

            Good lord no old chap! If you restrict your viewing to that provided by the British Broadcasting Corporation there are no in-show ads, what what! Wouldn't sully my eyes with those dreadful commercial channels!!

            1. getHandle

              Re: Doesn't everyone do that?

              Except that the BBC's own adverts seem to take up just as much time as commercial ad breaks!

            2. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Doesn't everyone do that?

              BBC

              Ermmm 80% of my viewing is BBC, the rest C4 Film 4 and the like.

              ITV is the Downton Abbey, Doc Martin & Benidorm channel, yes really my entire ITV viewing is those 3.

        2. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

          The old brain thing might be playing tricks here - I've had it for quite a number of years now, but I seem to remember owning a video recorder which could detect the ad break markers inserted into networked programmes to warn local tv station operators that there was a break coming up and they needed to get their local ads ready to run. It had the option to pause recording when the 10 second marker came on and restart when the 'ok, break over, back tothe programme in 10..' signal came on (for those old enough to remember, these signals were accompanied by a hatched symbol in the top right corner of the screen). I also heard that, in the early days, C4's Prestel(Ceefax? Oracle?) service for setting up a recording did a similar trick with commercial breaks, but that they were 'encouraged' to discontinue the practice.

          Not sure whether that was true though.

          1. fruitoftheloon
            Thumb Up

            @Divided: Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

            Divided,

            Yup I spotted that too...

            Cheers,

            J

        3. ravenviz
          Mushroom

          Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

          You think you have it bad in UK, adverts in US are distracting as Hell, ever wondered why TV shows seem to start for a few minutes and then the opening credits come up? In US that's the gap for an ad break. And wonder what all those fade-to-blacks are? More ad breaks. And more often than not, the ads they do show are repeated in each break, annoying as Hell. IMO it makes US TV more or less unwatchable, how are you supposed to 'get into' a show with all the stops and restarts?!!!!11

          Regards,

          Annoyed of Surrey (now only watching HBO when in America)

    2. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

      Re: Don't think it's a mistake, myself...

      I don't think so either

      \\insert self serving PSA\\

      I think some money changed hands first

      \\insert application cover letter and duplicate copies of personal resume\\

      If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter and make a fortune with my exciting new.............

  2. Oh Matron!

    Is it me….

    Or does it appear than Samsung are conducting a self imploding exercise of Microsoft proportions?

    1. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Up

      @Oh Matron: Re: Is it me….

      OM,

      I was thinking that as well funnily enough. I was considering replacing our Sharp Aquos with a nice Samsung thingy...

      Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

      As own goals go it is pretty spectacular.

      J.

      1. AbelSoul
        Facepalm

        Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

        Samsung intrusiveness is pushing you towards..... Sony?

        Sweet sufferin' badgerbaws.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

          Samsung intrusiveness is pushing you towards..... Sony?

          Funnily enough this is not as paradoxical as it seems. They got burned early and badly so on the overall they have been pretty well behaved on both the home entertainment and mobile front as of late.

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

            They got burned early and badly so on the overall they have been pretty well behaved on both the home entertainment and mobile front as of late.

            .. or they found people that were better at hiding what they are doing ..

            1. Mark 65

              Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

              It's a piece of piss to filter what internet interactions your TV can have from a whitelist to none-for-you-sonny.

              1. fruitoftheloon
                Thumb Down

                @Mark65: Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

                Mark65,

                It may be a piece of piss for you and a fair amount of our fellow commentards, I guarantee that 99.999% of 'smart tv' users wouldn't have a bloody clue what a whitelist is, nor how to implement one in the first place (me included out of interest!)...

                I spy an opportunity eh?

                J.

                1. Mark 65

                  Re: @Mark65: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

                  @fruitoftheloon: Well the general trick is that if you don't understand what it is up to or you know it is up to something but not how to prevent it you either:

                  1. Let it be and suffer the consequences

                  2. Don't connect it to the internet.

                  There's definite potential for something like an inline device that filters out certain connections rather than needing to make adjustments at the router (although that's the place if you want to fill your house with the Internet of Tat).

                  1. fruitoftheloon
                    Happy

                    Mark65: Re: @Mark65: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

                    Mark,

                    Quite, as I mentioned, the (potentially) new tv will only be plumbed into the av amp.

                    On a personal note, I have less than zero interest in the whole IoT puffery business, others' mileage will no doubt vary.

                    We will be changing over to enormo-speedy BT fibre broadband shortly, then I will checkout options for whitelisting, all helpful and constructive suggestions from fellow commantards will be much appreciated...

                    Cheers,

                    J.

        2. fruitoftheloon

          @Abelsoul: Re: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

          Abelsoul,

          Indeed it is!!

          I must also add that the potentially new googlebox will be connected to a nice Onkyo av amp, which in turn is plugged into both a PS3 (running PlayTV) and a Mint 15 based PC for interwebs and xbmc duties.

          Hence there is no f'ing way any tv I own will be connected to the interwebs...

          Cheers,

          J.

          1. Slions

            Re: @Abelsoul: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

            You actually have five boxes under your TV?

            1. fruitoftheloon

              @Silons: Re: @Abelsoul: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

              Silons,

              Err no:

              - av amp

              - ps3

              - xbox

              - media pc

              - sacd

              Yes I know that is five, but they are all hidden some distance from the gogglebox itself.

              Cheers,

              J

              1. ravenviz
                Coat

                Re: @Silons: @Abelsoul: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

                I have a new invention: Cupboard 1.0

                Although admittedly some of the proposed features have been shelved.

            2. Tom 35 Silver badge

              Re: @Abelsoul: Sony : 1 - Samsung : 0

              I have 7, including a Laser Disc player. So what.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Is it me….

      Unlike Microsoft, you can't accuse them of not listening to their customers.

  3. Valeyard

    more advertising

    it seems that every piece of technology or service is being developed as a new way to show adverts lately

    1. IglooDude

      Re: more advertising

      Going back to... the first television show? The first AM radio broadcast?

      They're just getting more clever and insidious (and one might add, annoying) about how they do that, but sending out interesting content in order to advertise stuff has been around for quite a while.

      1. GregC

        Re: more advertising

        sending out interesting content in order to advertise stuff has been around for quite a while.

        If the majority of advertising content was actually interesting then perhaps fewer people would object to it so much. The vast majority of ads seem to me to be inane pap designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: more advertising

        Going back to... the first television show?

        The first television show was a pre-war BBC broadcast from Ally Pally, so the answer is 'No'. It wouldn't have included advertising.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: more advertising

          I believe the US had the first TV station, in 1928.

          The BBC was the first 'hi-definition' service, in 1936.

          1. Little Mouse

            Re: more advertising

            A repeat of Top Gear was the first EVER TV show - "in the World" </Clarkson voice>.

      3. Neoc

        Re: more advertising

        Except in those cases you were receiving the product (the TV show) for free in return for having to watch those ads. If I paid for my TV set, there is no moral or financial requirements (on my part) for me to have to suffer through ads because it makes more profits for the TV maker.

        1. solo

          Re: If I paid for my TV set

          +100 if I could...

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: more advertising

      "it seems that every piece of technology or service is being developed as a new way to show adverts lately"

      Very true, however I wonder how much of that is a function of 'evil capitalist marketeers' and how much of that is simply economic/market pressure caused by people being less and less willing to pay for stuff in the age of internet.

      The number of users of 'free' services of Google, FB etc seem to indicate that a vast majority* of modern consumers are happy enough with getting services/products that are fully or partially subsidised by ads

      *El Reg readers and especially commentards** are absolutely atypical in this regard

      ** lovingly, of course :)

      1. KroSha
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: 'evil capitalist marketeers'

        First read this as "evil capitalist meerkats" and all the subsequent lines were read with a Russian accent.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: more advertising

      Indeed. IMHO this is giving the right answer to the question: "Why do we need voice recognition on the server side". At least I do not have any questions any more

    4. Mer Ner
      Mushroom

      Re: more advertising

      Before you know it there will be advertising companies advertising the methods they use to advertise to consumers... Adception. How deep will it go?

      1. Anomalous Cowturd
        Joke

        Re: How deep will it go?

        It's turtles all the way down.

        :o)

    5. Alistair Silver badge
      Coat

      @ Valeyard Re: more advertising

      I'm sorry, I couldn't read your post - there was an ad there for this marketing firm on Madison avenue.....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come back SONY all is forgiven.

    miss your portable tellies:(

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Come back SONY all is forgiven.

      What do you mean come back?

    2. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: Come back SONY all is forgiven.

      Eh?

      Care to expand on this, it appears to lack a point?

      1. moiety

        Re: Come back SONY all is forgiven.

        Speak for yourself. I definitely haven't forgiven Sony. Samsung have now added themselves to my shitlist as well.

        I have a smart-ish TV - it's never seen the internet and never will.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Come back SONY all is forgiven.

        If me - where did Sony TVs go?

        They never stopped selling them. hence my question.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before Smart TVs

    report back to home what illegal downloads you've been watching.

    In othe news, House of Cards series 3 is released 27th Feb

    1. FunkyEric

      Re: How long before Smart TVs

      Or they refuse to work unless they are connected to the internet.....

      1. Smooth Newt
        Thumb Up

        Re: How long before Smart TVs

        Glad I didn't buy one.

        A dumb one with a small computer connected to it does me just fine. I choose what it runs, and it doesn't use the Internet except when I say it can.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How long before Smart TVs

          Or just set up your own DNS server. Redirect anything you don't want your TV to get to to 127.0.0.1.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: How long before Smart TVs

      I believe LG was caught reporting filenames from USB sticks and from shared directories on the LAN back to the mothership so they already do.

  6. Ragequit

    I'm guessing...

    they are inserting the ads via the video codec itself. It would make sense that third party apps would be effected then. So basically the "error" is a design flaw in which they didn't consider that more than just their internal apps are dependent on the codec. Either that or they really were stupid enough to think people would accept it.

    (Oh, I guess this article doesn't mention the 3rd party angle. I read that elsewhere.)

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII
      Mushroom

      Re: I'm guessing...

      It'd be much simpler to just switch inputs (or a PiP overlay) than actually monkey with the codec. The mealy-mouted apology is pretty telling, pretty hard for adverts to accidentally find their way into a video stream unless the functionality to do so is already baked into the firmware.

      Incidentally, Samsung's european head of "product innovation" departed for Pepsi last year. Coincidence?

      http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/samsung-exec-moves-pepsico-innovation-role/295056/

      Disclaimer: please don't read too much of that page... it features large levels of bovine excrement buzzwords without a shred of self awareness. I'll leave this excerpt and a bottle of brain bleach.

      Mr. Mansfield's duties will extend beyond liquid innovations to include equipment and packaging concepts, Mr. Jakeman said, noting that he will lead a much "more holistic innovation agenda." For instance, he will work closely with Mauro Porcini, who in 2012 became PepsiCo's first chief design officer. "We don't want to 'ghettoize' innovation at PepsiCo. We don't want to create innovation departments, we want to create innovation cultures," Mr. Jakeman said

      1. John G Imrie

        liquid innovations

        I think he's taking the piss!

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: liquid innovations

          "I think he's taking the piss!"

          Indeed, closely followed by someone who bottles and then sells it.

    2. Sarah Balfour

      Re: I'm guessing...

      AFFECTED!

      Effect is a NOUN, rarely a verb

      Affect is a VERB, rarely a noun.

      Don't forget that 'soaps' were originally soap-powder ads. Wonder how long it was before they forgot about the product and started slagging each other off/shagging their best mate's missus (sister/brother/cousin/granny/cat/dog).

  7. WylieCoyoteUK
    Childcatcher

    What else are they inserting?

    I thought that it was just coincidence that Benedict Cumberbatch was in everything.

  8. Tikimon Silver badge
    FAIL

    Things labeled "smart" usually are not

    I see the word "smart' as a huge red flag for tech devices. It means some combination of:

    Spying - unwanted, unacceptable, crappy business model

    Predictive behavior - wrong every time, see above on spying

    Front door for hackers

    Front door for government surveillance

    Nothing smart about any of that, unless you're a government, hacker, or advertiser.

    1. tony2heads

      re: next disaster will be:

      Perhaps its an acronym:

      Spying

      Manipulative

      Advertising

      Rotten

      Television

  9. jzlondon

    I'd be selling Samsung stock if I owned any. Which I don't.

  10. Montague Wanktrollop

    meanwhile in other news...

    BT and Sky have splurged gazillions on the rights to broadcast near permanent TV advertising sprinkled sparingly with live football.

    Do adverts actually work? Do we see something like Pepsi and have an urge to buy a Pepsi?

    No.

    Maybe that's why they are advertising everything everywhere. Attrition. Someone, somewhere will buy it eventually.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: meanwhile in other news...

      It's oversaturation.

      I never watch TV myself, caught an ad-break at a friends house last night, found myself tempted by a couple of ads, I suspected it was because I hadn't been exposed to them in a while.

      If they spent less on quantity and more on quality they might see better returns.

      But maybe that's just me.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: meanwhile in other news...

        Oversaturation is not just you. YT seems to serve up a limited number of ads in entirely unrelated videos. So after seeing a Twix in a shop, I'm reminded of the f'ng annoying 2-brothers, one factory ad that interrupted my viewing pleasure. It's a demonstration of ad nauseum and probably not the positive feedback they were hoping for.

        Other ads are just dumb. So the tech & cookies should let an ad server know what platform I'm browsing from. So why throw me an ad for a console game, not a PC game I could potentially click & buy there and then? Other circles of hell should be reserved for ad flingers who think it's ok to unmute an ad.

        All Samsung is doing is taking that kind of idiocy to it's logical conclusion. The display's purpose is to sell you stuff.

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Do adverts actually work?

      No, of course not. It's just a fun way for corporations to get rid of all that pesky money.

      1. moiety

        Re: Do adverts actually work?

        It's mostly all deductible, so it might be a way of handing some wedge to their mates instead of the tax office.

    3. Vic

      Re: meanwhile in other news...

      Do we see something like Pepsi and have an urge to buy a Pepsi?

      No.

      Yes.

      You and I might not like it, but it is a simple fact that, for many types of product, TV exposure correlates directly to sales. Hence "Hi, I'm Barry Scott" </spit>

      Vic.

  11. J 3
    Mushroom

    WTF!

    Nevermind the "mistake". What shocks me is that the capability exists in the first place!

    I could always say "no Samsung telly for me", but what good would that do, when all other makers are probably following in their footsteps soon, if they haven't already?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: WTF!

      The only meaningful solution seems to be to buy an HDMI dongle — Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, whatever. But that's based on the premise that surely Samsung wouldn't interrupt content without knowing what it is? Surely?

      1. Fazal Majid

        Re: WTF!

        If the ability to show ads was implemented in the H.264/H.265 codecs themselves, HDMI is not a panacea.

        I've been looking for firewall rules to block Samsung voice control and ad servers, but can't find anything. There's got to be an opportunity in syndicating blacklist, as AdBlock does, although for IoT I think the default mode should be whitelisting with transparent parodying.

        1. Long John Brass Silver badge

          Re: WTF!

          Setup another DHCP pool that allocates the IP address of the devices to a new subnet with a bogus default route; You can assign em based on the MAC address. If the device can't route out of your network, it can't talk back to the mothership

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: WTF!

            "If the device can't route out of your network, it can't talk back to the mothership"

            Network inaccessible. Shutting down now. If this problem continues, contact your nearest <PEPSI!!> approved service centre quoting <PEPSI!!!> status code 666.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF!

        Credits to milos they hijack the HDMI stream anyway... Then EVERYONE ELSE will, AND will backport it to any other TV within their reach, which basically leaves you with a decision: eat it or beat it (and go without TV, even prerecorded TV).

  12. Empty1

    Similar happened late last year in the UK with trailers and things uncontrollably appearing a few minutes after switch on. It look some weeks before Samsung support admitted something wrong and it quienly went away.

  13. M_W
    FAIL

    LG do it too

    Every time you open the full screen smart menu on a recent LG TV, it seems to auto-play a trailer or advert for some crap - like Wuaki TV or some other bobbins. Thus why I've set all my regularly used Smart tools in the quick menu so I can avoid the ads.

    1. a well wisher

      Re: LG do it too

      "I've set all my regularly used Smart tools in the quick menu so I can avoid the ads."

      That sound like an LG fail ( from their point of view) too - allowing the end user to control / dismiss the Ads - what ever next !

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: LG do it too

      That would be unfit for purpose and I demand a refund

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We are aware of a situation that has caused some Smart TV users"

    ... have noticed that we are monitoring them. This will stop forthwith to revert to the stealth readings we were doing before until the market accepts less covert surveillance and we can carpet-bomb them with ads for 30 minutes followed by 10 minutes of whatever crap they thought they wanted to watch.

  15. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    When I insisted that I didnt want a 'smart' TV just a regular one I was often asked why. The answer is because I am not stupid.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      Mine is just pre smart TV, but it has a ethernet port! And it looks like I was right.

      But it has a good panel, a good picture processing engine for I to P, just enough HDMI and I can use a console for the Smart gubbins as they get updated a lot more, Smart TV, what do you need apart from I Player and friends, and web browsing?

      Well both online consoles have I player, both have internet (even if crap on older one) and the newest allows me to kick off a web browse mid game, Destiny players understand.

      My worry is the market will change from

      crap panel no extras -> crap panel some extras -> good panel some extras -> good panel all the toys

      to

      crap panel no extras -> crap panel some extras -> crap panel smart -> good panel smart

  16. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Boffin

    Slightly misleading title

    (not that it diminishes the arrogance of Samsung)

    I doubt the ad was "inserted" into the video stream. More like the users picture (i.e. film) was minimised, and the TVs picture (the ad(s)) was maximised. Although I would be curious to know if the TV managed to pause the film. I know HDMI is full duplex, so in theory a TV could tell a media player to pause.

    I know my LG TV can switch my TiVo on.

  17. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Joke

    Surprised they haven't already worked out it's not popular

    They should have the data to back it up, it's just sat on three different servers...

    - Advert server pushes out advert.

    - Analytics picks up viewers pressing the stop button at the time the advert goes out plus a couple of seconds.

    - Microphone picks up surprised voices and swear words shortly after that.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was watching my *special private film* when this Pepsi ad showed up!

    Argh . It put me right off my stroke..

    1. John G Imrie
      Happy

      Special private film

      I have a film of the rowing competition at the London Olympics as well.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    There is a fix for this problem: Buy a different brand TV.

  20. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Register Pot, meet Samsung Kettle

    As has been happening more and more lately, this article was partially obscured by an ad (served by Google, allegedly) that could not be closed. The little 'X' box just swapped out the ad for a "tell us why you don't like this", but clicking "ad covers page" just restored the previous state.

    Tend to the beam in thine own eye, Reg.

    1. Oldgroaner

      Re: Register Pot, meet Samsung Kettle

      What are these ads whereof you all speak? I don't see them. Why do you expose yourself to them?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Register Pot, meet Samsung Kettle

        I'm on an iPad and can't find a way to block these ads, so some of us *are* suffering...

    2. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Register Pot, meet Samsung Kettle

      That sounds like a possible bug report. Forwarded to ad ops.

      If you see this again and have the inclination - screenshot / OS and browser would be helpful - webmaster@theregister.co.uk, thanks.

      Also in case it is simply a badly behaved ad, the advertiser's name will help us block it via Google.

  21. Christian Berger Silver badge

    This is why we need free software and open bootloaders

    If the software on those devices was free and the bootloader open, we'd have a version where this "feature" was patched out by now. And most likely we'd have versions without all those "features" hardware manufacturers want to shove down our throats.

    1. linicks
      Thumb Up

      Re: This is why we need free software and open bootloaders

      Dead right - much like Merlin is doing with the ASUS routers.

      http://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/download

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: This is why we need free software and open bootloaders

        I honestly don't understand by router manufacturers of cheap routers don't just install OpenWRT on them.

        1. Riku

          Re: This is why we need free software and open bootloaders

          Because, China...?

  22. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Just wait...

    ... I can forsee a time in the not too distant future where programme makers include greenscreen hoardings in the background of their productions which can then be used to send tailored, targetted adverts directly to you!

    You might see it and get an advert for Product A whilst your neighbour gets an ad for Product B...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just wait...

      Technically, they don't need to green screen, they can insert a Pepsi bottle over a coke bottle already.

      BTW, had El Reg contacted PepsiCo for comment?

  23. Rick Giles
    Linux

    Fucking ads...

    Between ABP, NoScript, Ghostery and running my on private DNS at home with a blackhole list a mile long for everything either ad related or googley-tracking I hate like hell to be off my network, or worse yet, on someone else PC and have to close a thousand pop-ups and see annoying ads on youtube and the like.

  24. Bob Dole (tm)

    Tired of Samsung

    I own 2 Samsung TVs, 2 Samsung blu-ray players and a Samsung sound bar.

    One of the TVs has to be turned off and back on after starting to play ANYTHING coming from the blu-ray player in order to get the sound to resync. Doesn't matter if it's amazon, netflix or a regular DVD.

    The other is tied into the sound bar. The TV remote doesn't control the sound on the sound bar.

    The remotes on both TVs feature a helpful "home" button which is right next to the play button. Never mind that they each have about 6 zillion buttons on them when they only really need about 5 or 6. If you accidentally press the home button (same size, just below the play) then it instantly kicks you back to the home screen. This means that if you were watching amazon or netflix you have to restart that app, wait for it to load, go search for the movie you were watching and hit play again. One of the remotes "helpfully" has *some* of the buttons back lit. Unfortunately it's not any of the buttons you are likely to press and the back light is so dim you may as well just turn on the regular lights to see what you are doing.

    I bought a fairly expensive logitech remote to replace them. However that thing would shut down the power to EVERYTHING and turn it back on when you tried to switch from Netflix to Amazon or back again. At the time there was no way to stop this as Logitech thought that was what everyone would want to do. Dumb.

    I'm unimpressed to say the least.

    You'd think tech purchased from the same vendor would work well together. It doesn't. They frequently need rebooted and I'm pretty sure samsung pushes an update down at least once a week. The updates don't install during the overnight hours when you aren't trying to watch a show. Instead it waits until you are trying to start the TV and "helpfully" tells you that you can watch regular cable until everything reinstalls. I don't have regular cable. Amazon and Netflix are fine. So this means that at least once a week it takes about 10 minutes from the moment I push the power button until I can start watching a show. Oh and those Amazon and Netflix apps have to be "reinstalled" weekly as well.

    Pieces of shit. They really need to do some real product testing.

    When the first one finally stops working I think I'm going to toss everything with a Samsung logo into the bulk trash pile and pick a new vendor. /rant.

    1. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

      Re: Tired of Samsung

      Same here, my Samsung TV won't play many common types of media files including: DivX, XVID, anything from Apple even if its been fully paid for.

      It won't even display JPEGs with some size/resolution combinations so this makes it totally useless IMHO.

      Did I mention that the Freeview has never worked out of the box despite two firmware updates, no signal detected whatsoever despite this being an advertised feature.

      The remote often takes a full 20 seconds to switch modes and the HDMI won't work with RaspPi or my recent Samsung laptop unless the lead is plugged in one specific way round.

      The even better feature with these 22LE models is that the power supply can fail with no warning resulting in a flashing white light or solid red.

      1. Mark Allen

        Re: Tired of Samsung

        It is this kind of buggy firmware, combined with this advertising, that clearly shows that no one at Samsung uses a Samsung TV at home.

        When a product is created, the people who come up with the ideas should be forced to actually use the device they designed.

        I am rather relived to have a 2012 Panasonic TV. No adverts. On the 2011 models they stuck adverts on the EPG. The fact they disappeared in the following year showed that someone was listening to feedback from customers.

        Broken features are always annoying. And we all know that firmware updates get abandoned a year after sales as they move to a new model.

        Us geeks are lucky - we can swap to software solutions like Kodi/XBMC. The average home user just suffers all this crud.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Tired of Samsung

        "Did I mention that the Freeview has never worked out of the box despite two firmware updates, no signal detected whatsoever despite this being an advertised feature."

        That's a slamdunk for a "not fit for advertised purpose" return.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Tired of Samsung

          I am glad my Sony and Pioneer gear is all OK.

          My Sony games consoles work fine with my Sony TV and receiver.

          My Pioneer DVD player works well with my Sony TV and receiver.

          Only rules I obeyed were.

          Sony TV must have a W in its name

          Amp must have won various awards

          DVD player must have won various awards

          All of it pretty old except the PS4

      3. Vic

        Re: Tired of Samsung

        my Samsung TV won't play many common types of media files including: DivX, XVID, anything from Apple even if its been fully paid for.

        Really?

        I have a Samsung DumbTV[1]. It plays everything I've thrown at it.

        I wouldn't go buying one of these "Smart"[2] TVs, though. On the one occasion I tried to plug a wireless adaptor into my telly, it refused to use it. And that's probably for the best...

        Vic.

        [1] The UE40H5000, in case you're interested.

        [2] Ha!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Tired of Samsung

      "You'd think tech purchased from the same vendor would work well together"

      You're assuming that the development teams in the vendor talk to each other. They don't.

  25. Slions

    Not so smart those TVs after all

    Never liked the idea of smart TV. If I ever need a new one I'll be looking at one that's really stupid, Philips maybe? I do like that ambilight thing too :)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    adblock for tv

    minus whitelists. Simples.

    and just you wait for that message when you turn your telly on: "Greeting! You have 37 critical, 3245 important and 4533310 optional updates to download. Click here to sign up to our ueber-hyper-up-to-100Mb broadband connection to download them in just under 3 hours! Yes, it's true!!!! This truly amazing, unique and exclusive one-time offer expires in 5... 4.... And stop frowning and fumbling for the remote, me is voice-activated, all-ears type for your viewing pleasure...

  27. linicks
    WTF?

    Right!

    I have a Samsung freeviewPlus+ box (not a smart TV), and configured to connect to allow Wifey to watch iPlayer and stuff.

    But it hammers my local LAN somewhat in ARP requests all the time - about 80 a minute.

    After reading all this (and the listening TV story), I just configured it to use wired which it doesn't have, so it is now not on my LAN/Internet whenever we turn it on. LAN traffic stops.

    OK, maybe me being paranoid, but with a blackbox you don't know what is going on.

    I showed my Wife how to set it back to wireless on/off so she can watch iPlayer whenever, but no way am I leaving it connected all the time.

    The Internet of 'all things' is getting silly, stupid and DANGEROUS.

  28. Proud Father
    WTF?

    Outrageous!

    That's fucking outrageous!

    The TV is fully paid for and owned by the end user (usually), not ad supported!

    The facility to do this shouldn't even exist! I will certainly pay very close attention the legal crap next time I need a new TV.

    1. Mark Allen

      Re: Outrageous!

      THIS is what I don't get. I paid good money for my TV and I thought I owned the hardware. So why do I have to suffer adverts? NO other device would do that to you. Imagine buying a car and every time you turned on the radio there were adverts from Ford? Or there was a salesman installed in the boot?

      The only logical way I could see adverts as making sense on a bit of TV Hardware is if you had a choice. So if you had a choice of saving of a few hundred quid on the TV by seeing adverts, then I'd understand.

      WHERE is the benefit to the customer? What is the positive reason for adverts?

      I really do feel sorry for the future generations who will not be allowed to have a thought of their own...

    2. linicks

      Re: Outrageous!

      Almost. I always thought about this. In the UK you have to buy a TV licence (and the gear to watch TV) - but there are still adverts on all but 4 channels(?).

      On the Internet, everybody has to pay to be connected - yet a lot of sites serve adverts even though you have paid the right to be on the Internet.

      I DON'T WANT ADVERTS as I have already paid for my due to watch TV, or surf the INTERNET.

      If channels want to do adverts then the first page you should hit is (in big bold letters) THIS SITE SERVES ADVERTS - DO YOU WANT TO PROCEED? [yes/NO]

      Also TV sets should have a 'refuse' BBC channels option so that the TV licence can be avoided.

      OK, many arguments on this, but as it stands, the consumer has no choice but to pay to watch adverts/intrusive material.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Outrageous!

        Not quite. Regarding the Internet part at least. You have paid for Internet access, a connection. You have not paid for 1. Access to content on the World-Wide Web, (the foremost service transported via the Internet) and B. All that content you are reading/watching on the WWW, via the Internet has to be created by someone who needs to get paid, (unless you're content reading/watching all the amateur content - insert obligatory pr0n joke here...). See El Reg for example, particularly definition of "freetard".

        The alternative is every site you visit bills your ISP and the fee for each site gets added to your bill. This is how utility billing works (at least here in the UK). I pay an access fee to the water/power line provider and I pay another use-based fee to the water/energy producer which may be an entirely different company.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When buying a TV why not Insist on a basic model otherwise your Smart TV just belongs to advertisers

    We ain't seen nothing yet! It seems hard to believe after all Smart TV's cost more, require more fiddling about with, and yet they primarily exist to serve advertisers not consumers!

    Why don't people insist on buying basic models and a cheap netbook instead to take back control?

    This shitty behaviour from corps like Samsung and LG should come as no surprise. They've been watching Facebook and Google from the sidelines for years, and they're envious as hell....

    "Why are we breaking our backs making hardware, when we should just be slinging Ads? Yes that's it. We'll be the new conduits to Advertisers in real-time.... Spying on all your family and friends, tracking each individual's habits and usurping Google / Facebook at their own game!"

    Fight back people. Just say no to Smart TV's!!

  30. swampdog

    Samsung (little old lady)

    I hope my mother doesn't see this in 't papers. I'm already having enough hassle with her deciding to buy a new TV because it's gone all mono on her.

    She's already convinced the smart phone we gave her is monitoring her because one of her idiot friends told her it might. Of course it fucking is. That's why we gave her it. She lives on her own in the middle of nowhere & we want to know she's alive.

    Thanks idiot friend. Perhaps I should sit your nursing exam while you sit my next It exam.

  31. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Another Lesson In How To Abuse Your Customers, Brought To You By Samsung

    The Spirit of the Age of bad biznizz is consistently demonstrated by Samsung. Abuse Thy Customer. Samsung is going to be one of the poster children of this age, teaching the world how to destroy a company from the inside by hating on their customers.

    Well done Samsung. The ages will remember you... as screwing yourself into oblivion. :-P

  32. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Facepalm

    Rolfe meow

    ROTFLMAO

    The usual assortment of comments from those who are outraged that the thing they think they own does things they don't want it to do - irony from the tech sector we all work in - interspersed with desktop support monkeys bragging about how they spend more time blocking the adverts than if they just ignored them.

    I too run a custom firmware on my ISP router that black holes traffic I have not explicitly white listed and my own DNS server that has bogus entries for about 18,000,000 host names that I used to meticulously maintain in the hosts file of the 6 computers I have in my house for me and my imaginary wife.

    I also have a massive collection of ad blocking software which causes my computer to run like the infected spawn of a Symantec Trial Edition.

    Not really, I just ignore adverts.

  33. John Tserkezis

    There's a "fix".

    Found this on <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/samsung-smarttvs-are-inserting-ads-into-movies-2015-2>

    It says "Users can disable the ads by pressing “Menu” on their Samsung Remote, scrolling to Smart Hub, then to Terms & Policy, and then to Yahoo Privacy Policy. From there, users need to scroll down and toggle an option that says “I disagree with the Yahoo Privacy Notice” to opt out."

    That's generous of them, not only that, it's in a logical intuative place that anyone can get to easily. </scarcasm alert>

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: There's a "fix".

      > It says "Users can disable the ads by pressing “Menu” ....

      Such a setup in the UK would be ruled illegal.

      Privacy policies are related to the way your personal information is handled _only_ and it's been ruled that riders saying "you must accept our adverts" as part of the policy is not allowed.

      I'd imagine the ACCC would jump in on this pretty hard if someone points it out to them.

  34. Riku

    I get the industrial versions

    No tuner, no speakers, no soon-to-be-obsolete-with-next-year's-model proprietary "smart" crapola.

    I can plug in whatever video source I want, HTPC, Apple TV, Tivo, Sky, Virgin, Chromecast, whatever and these always stay up to date, never get dumped when a new version of the telly comes out (I'm looking at you Panasonic...)

    Then there's the potential for adding to home automation control by a real honest-to-goodness serial port or Ethernet and if I want a specific kind of input module (like DisplayPort), I can buy it as an accessory module and plug it in.

    The units designed for video-walls also have wafer-thin bezels and no sodding lit logo (admittedly mosty of these can be switched off today).

    They cost a premium over the retail kit, but I prefer the flexibility (and without the added perv-ware built-in to the retail units these days).

  35. Dave Oldham

    History Repeats

    I remember reading an article (15 years ago?) that stated that Philips were working on a TV that prevented you from switching channels or switching the TV off when the adverts came on. This was even before I knew anyone with a flat panel TV. I wonder what happened?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: History Repeats

      Simple. They quickly learned it was a non-starter. Too close to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Not to mention the electricity implications.

      What I'm curious about is if TV/Monitor makers will take the next step and make compulsory ads on every viewing screen they make, such that they appear no matter what you watch or do, live or prerecorded, video or not, so that about the only way to avoid them is to basically stop watching anything: even your work. Scary thought, and it makes me wonder how one would escape such a regime if made compulsory and built directly into the device's display circuitry.

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