back to article Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs

Television production factory LG has saved Darren Cauthon's new year by providing hidden reset instructions to liberate his Google TV from ransomware. The company initially demanded more money than the idiot box was worth to repair the TV and relented offering instructions for resetting the telly after Cauthon took to Twitter …

  1. Silviu C.

    The key is "hidden reset procedure". This should be in the fine manual, not hidden so that LG can charge you for "repairing" your TV.

    LG relented and gave the instructions away for free but only after being named and shamed on Twitter. This alone should make a lot of people put them on the shit-list of openly consumer hostile companies (though I fear it won't).

    It seems that these days, if you want to buy some known brand TV you just can't avoid getting a "smart" one.

    1. getHandle

      Consumer hostile companies

      Are there any that aren't on the list??

      1. Potemkine Silver badge

        Reparability vs. planned obsolescence

        I know one company which made a bet on consumers intelligence and decided to make all its products fixable for 10 years after they are bought..

        It's a risky bet ^^

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      >This alone should make a lot of people put them on the shit-list of openly consumer hostile companies (though I fear it won't).

      LG are on my shitlist, now ... and I have an LG 3d TV, it has never been anywhere near my network, though, and I have never even tried the "smart" functionality ... I use it as a monitor for watching TV/movies, the pi or the game consoles. No way in hell will I allow anyone around here use the smart functionality ... besides, I am sure the smart "functionality" is borken (youtube etc) as I have not bothered updating the firmware.

      1. Why allow people to install software that is not vetted onto a TV ?

      2. Factory reset procedure MUST BE in the manual, WTF ???

      SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network. This certainly is silly, why buy functionality you will not be using and the answer is there were no cost-effective alternatives I could find when I bought it ... like the IoT scales I bought last year, ripped antenna out, safe now.

      Sad thing is, the average punter will use the functionality and get 0wned, sooner or later, because the devs who wrote the "smart" functionality are the same devs who wrote the IoT crap. Pretty sure there are ways to enable telnet with admin/admin login on these things ... for testing, debugging, and diagnostics ... you understand ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

        The problem with that is assumptions.... All it takes is your neighbor's kid to connect the TV while you're out, 6 months later you discover it etc. Plus, how long till we learn that Smart TV's scan nearby Wi-Fi connections? Lots of apartment complexes have unsecured Wi-Fi. Five years ago, I'd have said they won't cross that line. But now corporations act untouchable...

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

          > Plus, how long till we learn that Smart TV's scan nearby Wi-Fi connections?

          Ok, will rip the antennas out of the TV over the weekend, thanks for the hint! Just imagine, some script kiddie neighbour hacks the TV's wifi ...

          Note that I have hidden the remote to the TV, not needed, as we use the set top box and amp, all goes into HDMI1 on the TV.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

            Having access to the network is the BEST thing of a Smart TV.

            But this post is for a forgotten Google TV anyway

        2. Soruk
          Boffin

          Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

          Register the MAC address of your telly in your DHCP configuration, with an out-of-range static allocation, so even if it does get connected it can't communicate.

          (Test it with your phone first)

        3. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

          The word "smart" is a dead giveaway. Some marketing genius figured out that if a product is labeled "smart" instead of "internet connected for the company's benefit", people would buy them. Note that lot of the IoT/IoS crap is now being labeled as "smart"... smart toasters, smart thermostats, etc.

          I'm of the belief that people haven't a clue and buying a "smart" product makes up for their lack on knowledge.

          1. Justin Clift

            Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

            > Note that lot of the IoT/IoS crap is now being labeled as "smart"... smart toasters, smart thermostats, etc.

            Smart Fork ← WTF? ;)

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

              Smart Fork ← WTF? ;)

              Shows that some consumers are a bit forked in the head1 maybe?

              1 Well, what part of your body to you stick your fork into then?

            2. abubasim

              Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

              Hurry up and take advantage of the sale at Amazon.com: was $63.87 but now $63.85!

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: "SmartTV's are fine, as long as you do not give them access to a network"

            Note that lot of the IoT/IoS crap is now being labeled as "smart"... smart toasters, smart thermostats, etc.

            I have a smart toaster. I got it about 10 years ago. I paid a premium for it, name brand and so on.

            Over the course of a few trys I adjusted it's settings to get the toast to the desired level of toastyness. Ever since then it smartly toasts my bread to the same colour, even after all this time. And when it's done it smartly turns itself off, raises the toast so it's partly out of the toaster (and easy to grab), and smartly makes a unique clicking sound to tell me the toast is ready.

            Given what is on the market today, and the longevity [cough] of even expensive products, I think I was very smart in spending a bit extra waaay back then.

            --> Closest thing to the appropriate colour.

      2. Smooth Newt
        Thumb Up

        Re: LG are on my shitlist, now

        They have been on my shitlist since 2013, when El Reg reported that "LG smart TVs silently log owners' viewing habits to the South Korean company's servers and use them to serve targeted ads, one researcher has claimed."

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/20/lg_smart_tv_data_collection/

        Despite LG subsequently releasing patches etc, they hired people who thought this was a good idea right up until the moment that they got caught. Not that I would ever buy a smart TV anyway, for reasons that are becoming increasingly apparent.

        1. messele

          Re: LG are on my shitlist, now

          They have been on my shitlist since 2013, when El Reg reported that "LG smart TVs silently log owners' viewing habits to the South Korean company's servers and use them to serve targeted ads, one researcher has claimed."

          So Google essentially. Got any problems with them or just when it suits?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        1. They aren't. This news is bogus Twitter clickbait. This TV didn't "just get this", it was intentionally put there for FUD purposes. If you understand the hoops they needed to jump through to "get" this, you will know what nonsense it is. It's not a coincidence it happened during the Xmas shutdown for maximum effect.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > 1. They aren't. This news is bogus Twitter clickbait.

          Source?

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Trollface

            > 1. They aren't. This news is bogus Twitter clickbait.

            Source?

            Someone at LG hoping that if they post this to enough forums, people will believe it rather than bothering to check back to the original articles? After all, he said "twitter clickbait" and "fake news" so the original article must have been false, right?

        2. IainWR

          Sorry, may I have that again in English?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > "Factory reset procedure MUST BE in the manual, WTF ???"

        You got a manual? My experience of "smart" TVs these days come with a "panic sheet" that explains how to set it up (1 side of A4), and an "online manual" embedded into the TV, because they're pushed out the door without their final functionality, which is delivered by a > 1GB firmware update 6 months or so after it goes on sale ...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Keep in mind that this a Android TV, LG has since then moved to the great WebOS :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It seems that these days, if you want to buy some known brand TV you just can't avoid getting a "smart" one.

      Yup, and the worst aspect of that is that they are also impossible to avoid by people whose cognitive functions are declining, such as people suffering from Alzheimers. However, not to be outdone by the TV manufacturers I have also come across TV systems in homes and hospitals that inflicted a user interface that would have yielded immediate employment by Microsoft in the days of Windows ME.

      I have no idea who designs these things and who thinks that the inability to lock down such features is a good thing, but they better not introduce themselves to me. Violence may not be acceptable, but after seeing what older people have to go through just to watch TV it sure feels like an acceptable and certainly educational response. It's also fairly idiotic because the "older people" market is a growth segment, evidenced by the ever growing amount of scams in that arena such as pricing retirement homes just above available pension so they gain access to their assets (a scam which is perpetuated internationally).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I have also come across TV systems in homes and hospitals that inflicted a user interface that would have yielded immediate employment by Microsoft in the days of Windows ME."

        As good as that?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I have no idea who designs these things and who thinks that the inability to lock down such features is a good thing"

        Fwiw, I was in a hotel recently where the TV looked familiar, both the enclosure and the behaviour of the innards. It was the hotelised (ie somewhat locked down) version of some Samsung LT series monitor/TV, of which I've had a couple of my very own (one pre-Smart, one allegedly Smart, iirc).

        Doubtless there could have been ways to bypass the lockdown, given time and inclination, but this one was less immediately vulnerable than many others I've seen.

        Related: Any other readers ever watch their home LAN with Wireshark or similar and wish for the days when every piece of traffic was there for a clear reason? Sadly, like wishing that every activity (especially anonymous "services") on a Window box was there for a clear reason, fashion has rendered it a futile wish.

        Happy 2017: the year we learned to love systemd.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          2016 we lost Lemmy (maybe late 2015 but close enough), a couple of the guys from MASH (one in the last week or so), David Bowie, George Michael, and a hell of a lot others. I also lost family members and a couple of friends this year, some who'd been around my whole life.

          I didn't think it could get any worse.....

          Happy 2017: the year we learned to love systemd.

          I guess I was wrong.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Happy Days!

            >>> I didn't think it could get any worse.....

            Happy 2017: the year we learned to love systemd.

            I was one of those people who was happy to see the tech advances open my horizons to the wider world, the thought of instant world connectivity made my knees wobble.

            Now that reality has set in, I spend my time repelling boarders from all the world who want to do me harm. This is not how it was supposed to be!

            I have dug that old Nokia out of the drawer (The battery lasts all week) and removed the battery from the 'Smart' phone that is incapable of obeying a simple command to shut it. My net operates behind a false front and I've taken to using a monitor to watch TV. Now I'm looking for a way to shut my car up. (Having purchased it, I feel it should report to me, not it's maker or the old Bill - or both)

            A 21st century hermit is what this brave new world is making me, and every year is getting worse.

            I miss the 1950's even if I did have to get up and walk to the TV to change (to the other channel). I reasoned that's what kids were for. Today? My remote answers back instead and there isn't a leg to smack! (Joke for the sensitive).

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: Happy Days!

              I was one of those people who was happy to see the tech advances open my horizons to the wider world, the thought of instant world connectivity made my knees wobble.

              Now that reality has set in, I spend my time repelling boarders from all the world who want to do me harm. This is not how it was supposed to be!

              Yes, I remember that wide-eyed excitement at what was coming to the world, the ability to connect anywhere and any time, smart devices that could tell you all sorts about their status or the state of the environment around you or the environment somewhere else (eg how warm/cold your house was), being able to see and control things in your home from your office or hotel. The innovation promised from Microsoft and what that would bring (just slightly before Win95), and a various other OS's (don't know I'd heard of Linux back then) and other software out there. And the way even "closed source" was just so open, alterable, and expandable. Never saw a line of the source code for Dos but I could do a hell of a lot with it, limited by my imagination or patience (some things took a while on those older CPUs).

              But what let the world in unfortunately let the world in. Only, not the world we dreamed or imagined. The ideas of security that would protect us from nastiness were poorly implemented or never came about, the good things to come along were usurped by greed or governments hell-bent on knowing every silent word imagined by every citizen at every moment, the brave new world if connected openess became a prison of closely monitored solitary confinement (look at how many people post everything they do to hundreds or thousands of "followers" on FB/Twitter, yet have no real human contact).

              My phone is basic and dumb, but with excellent battery life (doesn't last a week but then I use my phone as a phone, and talk to real people in real time for a couple of hours a day on average), not rich enough to own a modern car (you could look at finding and removing wireless antennae, or perhaps blocking its MAC off from your router - if it hunts for free WiFi hotspots then maybe you invest in a portable one that (maybe using a Raspberry?) that connects to nothing else, or some sort of WiFi jammer that is fairly localised to the car while the car is running?) and if I do get to buy a new one it'll be customised, even if it means voiding the warranty. My TV was recently given to me and is an LG, but while it can play movies off USB there's no network connectivity to it. I do find several things annoying not least that all it's fancy sound controls can only be used for the super-crap built in speakers, the only usable output is a headphone jack connected to my HT sound, but LG thinks "who the hell would want to alter tone/equaliser controls on a headphone, or have anything to make the sound clearer, and why would any one want to listen to anything BUT our suder-tinny-crapfest-speakers. That said, most stuff I view is not live TV. A computer does all the "smart" I want, and has the benefit of lifetime updates to the OS and software.

              I've never minded getting up to change channel or volume, but I know so many people who would spend 10 minutes looking for the remote instead of 10 seconds manually changing the channel!.

          2. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            @, re: systemd

            Cheer up, there will always be Slackware :-)

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: @, re: systemd

              Cheer up, there will always be Slackware :-)

              Probably one version of Linux I never got around to playing with. Must have a look if it's still around.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: @, re: systemd

                Not just around, Kiwi, it's active. Latest update a week ago (see the Change Logs).

                slackware.com Recommended.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > It seems that these days, if you want to buy some known brand TV you just can't avoid getting a "smart" one.

        I just bought a Samsung. It's dumb as a bag of spanners. Works beautifully with my Mac Mini.

    4. Stevie Silver badge

      Bah!

      "It seems that these days, if you want to buy some known brand TV you just can't avoid getting a "smart" one."

      But one can avoid installing dodgy apps offering an obvious "summat fer nowt" honeytrap.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Bah!

        Or you can prevent this sort of thing ever happening by installing this FREE!!111!!! ANTIVIRUZ SCANUR FOUR TELEVISHUN.

        At the end of the day it doesn't matter how secure or not these things are, there's no defence against a gullible idiot with the admin password...

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        The ITV / Channel 4 etc apps offer stuff for free and are perfectly legitimate. People who aren't familiar with technology won't understand the difference, and if they are on an app store alongside the likes of Channel 4 and BBC which isn't free, they will think they have been vetted and approved by someone.

    5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
      Boffin

      The service mode on many TVs includes adjustments that may produce X-rays, burn the screen, alter very complicated calibrations, start a fire, or damage your hearing/speakers. Some calibrations require unplugging wire harnesses or monitoring test points before starting. The service mode isn't really secret - it's printed in the service manual that you can order.

      The dumb part was LG not having a dedicated reset button on the back of the TV.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Kevin McMurtrie seriously X-rays at vaguely dangerous levels even on a CRT?

        If LG allowed him to install they should have allowed an uninstall, that the ransomware crippled the system is also LG's fault.

        Lastly access to service dialogues would no doubt be logged and be used as a get out clause on manufacturer warranty if it really was possible to damage the equipment

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Kevin McMurtrie seriously X-rays at vaguely dangerous levels even on a CRT?

          If an Android TV is similar to a phone or tablet, then you must EXPLICITLY enable the Developers mode and enable 3rt party apps to be able to install anything outside the official App Market and when you enable it, it gives you a big warning...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      They already are on my "shit list". I have a LG P1 Express laptop that goes into a boot-loop if you try to install a bigger hard drive than its 100GB HDD. (160GB is a no-go for example. I haven't tried a SSD.)

      There's no BIOS updates on their website, and their telephone support responds with: "LG made a laptop?" No idea what I'll do if the existing HDD fails.

      Then there's the ATAPI Flush Buffer = Firmware Erase CD/DVD burner fiasco of a few years ago.

      I've vowed to never buy another LG/Goldstar product as it is clear to me their "technical support" is practically useless, and I don't see it being any better for a television.

      A dumb device like a plain monitor might be okay… but anything "smart" is a no-go for me.

    7. Number6

      It seems that these days, if you want to buy some known brand TV you just can't avoid getting a "smart" one.

      It's getting a lot harder. I managed to get a dumb 50" TV on a clearance sale for $200. It's hooked up to a Linux media centre so the smart element is there, but it's under my control, no microphone and no camera.

    8. veti Silver badge

      I bought a brand-new Panasonic TV about two months ago, and I can assure you it's (almost) as dumb as the programmes it receives.

      Yes, "smart" is coming. For your next TV, I recommend "not giving it your wifi password". The one after that will have its own dedicated cellular connection, and at that point you're probably screwed, but who knows, they might have fixed their security issues by then...

  2. Esme

    Best reason yet

    For not buying supposedly 'smart' TVs.

    1. Mike Lewis

      Re: Best reason yet

      Or yet another reason to avoid LG products.

      1. Planty Bronze badge
        FAIL

        Re: Best reason yet

        LG has been webos for 4 or more years now.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Best reason yet -LG has been webos for 4 or more years now.

          I didn't think that applied to all of their range, and I thought it was 2 years rather than 4.

          Also, are not both UIs based on a Linux which might well be identical under the hood? webOs might not be subject to this particular malware but it will probably have its own vulnerabilities.

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            Re: Best reason yet -LG has been webos for 4 or more years now.

            "Also, are not both UIs based on a Linux which might well be identical under the hood? webOs might not be subject to this particular malware but it will probably have its own vulnerabilities."

            WebOS and Android use a Linux kernel of some kind but are largely different in every other respect. Android doesn't even share its userland with any other Linux dist. It's very unlikely they would share any vulnerability.

            In this case it looks like an older "smart" TV running the Google TV platform which has been pretty much abandoned by everyone, including Google. The newer Android TV is still going, but not on LG devices.

          2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: Best reason yet -LG has been webos for 4 or more years now.

            In the video he says he bought the TV in 2012 or 2013 so it's not the current batch.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Best reason yet

        "Or yet another reason to avoid LG products"

        More a reason to avoid any products with a Google OS.

    2. DaLo

      Re: Best reason yet

      Or best reason not to download an app called "free movies 4ever - legit !!!11"

  3. flearider
    Holmes

    yes dis lg a little but it's whoever downloaded the malwares fault ? just for free streaming films ..nothing is for free

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      The fact that a TV can let you install malware is a great big fail in itself. I want them as appliancey as possible so I don't have to babysit them.

      1. Adam JC

        I'm pretty sure they'd have had to manually circumvent protections in place to acheive this, e.g Androids 'Allow installation from untrusted sources'. This wasn't something they downloaded from the Google Play store... they've likely tried sideloading something on the TV, the punter isn't 100% innocent in this fiasco....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Wouldn't it be funny if LG got to the bottom of what really happened, and then sued HIM for corporate defamation....

          I would like to see this personally, so people might think before they go off and pretend something is what it isn't. I wonder where The Register stand for reporting this, are they legally untouchable???

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Hmm, not an LG employee per chance?

            "Wouldn't it be funny if LG got to the bottom of what really happened, and then sued HIM for corporate defamation...."

            They can try suing him if they can prove it didn't happen but the reality is that the cost and bad publicity involved would cost them a million times any payout they might get.

            LG have been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar before and will continue to pay for their mistakes until long after they actually stop being dicks. Not fair you might say but they had the choice not to abuse their customers and opted to go b*lls deep

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Coat

            I wonder where The Register stand for reporting this, are they legally untouchable???

            I just got back from taking a gander at some local court proceedings. A local journo is up before the beak on charges relating to all the crime he's reported on over the last few years.

            But there was lots of legal wrangling, he's also facing extradition to the US and, frankly, they want him on more serious charges. Seems when he was in school he wrote a paper on the Kennedy assassination, so now they want him for that. Poor guy. Just 28 years old and facing the rest of his life in a US prison.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Does this apply to computers as well?

        How come people LOVE computers to be as open as possible, but want their TVs to be closed?

        The story here is someone was dumb enough to install malware on the TV. Essentially the LG repair fee they were trying to charge should have been thought of as a fine for being dim.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          How come people LOVE computers to be as open as possible, but want their TVs to be closed?

          Because a computer is a general purpose tool and a TV is not, it is merely meant to show TV channels (and streaming services). Next question.

          1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

            I bought my TV partially because it had the smart TV OS I wanted (Android TV), I don't just want a screen. If I can get set top box and screen in one I save space and money. No I don't have a cable box or anything else like that.

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Windows

          >How come people LOVE computers to be as open as possible, but want their TVs to be closed?

          I don't want it to be closed, that is the whole point, it is closed, therefore unreliable. If it were easy to flash custom rom onto a TV (I have not even looked) I would probably try ... something like DD-WRT for TV's would be nice ... if I can control what runs on the TV, I would be happy to enable smart functionality, since I cannot, I will not.

          I know most of you are very happy with closed source-"security through obscurity"-software ... I am not.

          1. billse10

            i like the idea of a DD-WRT for TVs ....

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: i like the idea of a DD-WRT for TVs ...

              You and many other techy types (maybe even me).

              However. the content providers (MPAA and friends, probably including pay providers like Netflix etc) have big pockets and big lawyers and will ensure it can't ever happen.

              Related: Starting shortly before Christmas and still ongoing, my local daily rag (Birmingham Meaning Evil/Evening Mail, afaik owned by Trinity Mirror Group) has had loads of questionable coverage of Kodi (more specifically if yolu dig far enough, it is coverage of questionable Kodi add-ons). Very odd.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Unhappy

        "as appliancey as possible"

        These days that means apps.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          My TV is a screen , nothing more

          Mine is just a screen. Thats all I want it to do. I would have liked it to look after producing sounds , but the shitty speakers it came with mean thats out of the window and had to be outsourced to an old pc speaker setup.

          Thats not to say my system isnt smart , it has a little win7 PC plugged into it , that cost naff all. This in one fell swoop makes the PC a million times "smarter" than any of the big expensive ones.

          I just dont see the point of adding apps like youtube onto a telly menus. Thats what computers are for!

    2. Potemkine Silver badge

      nothing is for free

      Not even the air we breathe?! :OMG:

    3. Kiwi Silver badge

      ..nothing is for free

      Linux, FreeBSD, various browsers, youtube (with various tools), the air you breath, a walk in the local park or along the beach or along your local street, catching a lift with me when I am going in the same general direction at the same general time... To name a very tiny few.

      Lots of things are free.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        "walk in the local park" - paid for out of taxes.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Headmaster

          "walk in the local park" - paid for out of taxes.

          1) Not everybody pays tax.

          2) I live near park land (scrub/bush land) that has nothing done to it ever. There are no ongoing costs whatsoever for anyone. Like anyone I can walk there for free.

          3) By some definitions beaches and river beds are parks. They generally use natural processes to maintain themselves, so cost nothing

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    can't wait for the follow up IoT story...

    Someone's ransomware'd my lightbulbs, thermostat, directional vibrating jeans (a CES 2017 exhibitor claims these will help with "navigation").

    1. Haku

      Re: can't wait for the follow up IoT story...

      This is over 20 years old so you'll have to substitute "usenet" for "facebook"/"bittorrent" and "VCR" for "DVR", but other than that the joke premise still holds water:

      The (Future) Diary of a Mad Digital Homeowner

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: can't wait for the follow up IoT story...

        Thanks for hte diary link. Long time since I last read that.

        Reminds me a bit of Edgar from an old cheesy film from the 80's>...

  5. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    I'll stick to...

    dumb. If I want smart I can add a PC to it easily and be done with that.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: I'll stick to...

      First you need to find a company that still sells 'dumb' TVs...

      1. Haku

        Re: I'll stick to...

        My 40" Blaupunkt I got in the black friday sales is dumb, and the piece of junk can't even display a 24hz hdmi signal properly, it's like looking at 24fps shown on a 60hz refresh. And that's not the worst of it, when it does go into 24hz the resolution is buggered too - the horizontal pixels get merged together so you're looking at a 960x1080 image...

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: I'll stick to...

          >Blaupunkt

          Is a name, that is all ... you get a TV mass produced, pay the owners of the Blaupunkt brand some money and are allowed to put a Blaupunkt sticker onto them ... it is that simple ... like Polaroid ... slightly more expensive than the noname, exact same parts, same specs etc. You pay $1 or $2 more for the "brand" ... to make you feel good.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: I'll stick to...

          Seen those and wondered, now I know why they are so cheap.

          I paid a lot for top end picture processing, good upscaling and good build quality.

          Oh and mine runs a form of Linux and the network is not plugged into it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'll stick to...

        > First you need to find a company that still sells 'dumb' TVs...

        A monitor?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'll stick to... dumb."

      Agree! But its getting harder to find non-smart TV's.

      LG is one of the few TV makers that still offer them...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. larokus

      Re: I'll stick to...

      You can get a pretty powerful little Android 4k box for 40 quid, set the interface the way you prefer, and have virtually zero risk to your shiny expensive "display." Furthermore, some even come with a pin insert factory reset. These boxes use very little power.

      Since most come rooted I might suggest making a new Google account specifically for your TV boxes to alleviate privacy concerns.

      Now we're "smart"

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I'll stick to...

        "Since most come rooted I might suggest making a new Google account specifically for your TV boxes to alleviate privacy concerns."

        I'll stick to the MythTV box. No Google account needed.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll stick to...

      "Smart" gadgets are for those too stupid to use normal gadgets.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: I'll stick to...

        @ Why Me?

        I disagree, "smart" items are only of any use to smart people, the stupid really shouldn't be allowed near them. Of course, smart people try to avoid "smart" devices as far as they can.

  6. herman Silver badge

    I have a smart TV too, but it isn't plugged in to the LAN, which it seems, makes it smarter...

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      Can be connected to the LAN and still be SMART

      My kitchen Panasonic was connected to my LAN for accessing a NAS drive via Twonky, but wasn't connected to the 'net.

      Still maintain there's more to security than the box makers, the individual trying to get something for nothing needs a good kicking too. I get asked frequently from work about this sort of thing, so if it's in the public mindset, how come the associated risks aren't? Seems that some folks are the cause of their own demise

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Can be connected to the LAN and still be SMART

        "so if it's in the public mindset, how come the associated risks aren't?"

        It's in the public mindset because the manufacturers advertise "smart". Do you really think they're going to advertise "that means it can be pwned"?

  7. Colin Bull 1
    Mushroom

    disaster

    Around 6 years ago I was involved in a nightmare because of a Philip's inability to support their hardware.

    The mother in law with dementia had a Philips TV. When installed HDMI was connected to TV. TV defaulted to HDMI when powered on. Sky remote handled everything.

    On her 8oth birthday a group of middle aged men egged on each other to disconect the unused video and DVD players. When powered up the TV now defaulted to a different input. Disaster. Mother in law could only use Sky remote - had no clue about button sequences and switches and spent 15 hours a day in front of the TV, which was now unusable for her. Reading manual, spending hours on phone to Philip's tech support and hours scanning the internet and trying different key sequences still unable to get the TV to revert to original pattern. After 4 days I managed to find a different key sequence that worked on the internet and the world again resorted to normal.

    Must be a better way to give control to users.

    1. The Count
      FAIL

      Re: disaster

      Or you could've just plugged the cables back in they way they were. Doh!!

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Never had this sort of trouble with my old Grundig. Replacing the tubes was a bit of a bother sometimes, though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've with you on that, I download films and transfer them to vhs before I watch them.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        I also transfer to vhs as a step on the route to cellulose acetate.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Recovery mode for a TV

    That alone says that LG are doing it wrong.

    And then there's the spy telly incident.

    Unfortunately Samsung and Vizio are just as bad.

    1. Doc Ock
      Big Brother

      Re: Recovery mode for a TV

      Everything spies on us these days, the Prisoner is more relevant today that it was in 1967.

      Be seeing you.

  10. Uplink

    Which keys again?

    So is it channel down or volume down? The guy reads "channel down" and then says "volume down" when he goes to the TV.

    I don't have one of these, but I SO HATE IT WHEN THE INTERNET DOES THIS!

  11. Disk0
    Coat

    With the TV powered off,

    How is anything going to happen while the TV is powered off? Stand-by is probably the mode we are looking for.

    Also:

    "With the TV powered off,

    open a window and firmly shove the apparatus outwards to see how smart it is in dealing with gravity and impact on the pavement.

    FTFY

    1. TWB

      Re: With the TV powered off,

      Upvote for this:

      "How is anything going to happen while the TV is powered off? Stand-by is probably the mode we are looking for."

      Like you, I wish people would use the correct terminology - "powered off" to me me means "without any power applied, connected etc"

      1. Justin S.

        Get off my lawn!

        "Like you, I wish people would use the correct terminology - 'powered off' to me me means 'without any power applied, connected etc'"

        Some of us oldtimers remember when the on/off switch/button physically disconnected the device from power-- and we write/speak accordingly.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Get off my lawn!

          Effin' A to that. The younguns have no idea what "powered off" means these days. I had to unplug my previous Media Box when not in use - powering it down had no influence on its temperature, clearly indicating that it was still functioning full tilt.

          Since common sense has gone the way of the dodo, there should be a law : powered OFF means NO CURRENT APPLIED.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Get off my lawn!

            My windows 10 work pc has an item on the srat menu called power \ shut down , and when i click it the pc appears to switch off .

            I'm not sure though i think its just pretending , in order to show off how quick it can "boot" up.

            pstools say its been awake for weeks!

            1. Boothy

              Re: Get off my lawn!

              Quote: "My windows 10 work pc has an item on the srat menu called power \ shut down , and when i click it the pc appears to switch off .

              I'm not sure though i think its just pretending , in order to show off how quick it can "boot" up.

              pstools say its been awake for weeks!"

              Win 10 shut down is some form of hybrid hibernate. It shuts down apps, but as far as I know the OS itself is basically hibernated. It only gets a real full shutdown, when re-booting after updates etc.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Get off my lawn!

                "Win 10 shut down is some form of hybrid hibernate."

                Correct, although allegedly it's user configurable somewhere I forget.

                It's not well known though, as a recent Win10 update revealed - lots of people lost their Internet connectivity and a genuine shutdown/reboott restored the connectivity (ie a Win10 "restart") but selecting Win10 "shut down" and then power on again didn't fix it.

                Words don't seem to mean much these days.

              2. Steve 114

                Re: Get off my lawn!

                So go to 'Choose what the power button does', then 'Change settings that are currently unavailable' and turn OFF 'Fast start-up'. Then it doesn't part-hibernate, and takes only a few seconds longer to boot. Power pack still lights the motherboard, though.

                1. Boothy

                  Re: Get off my lawn!

                  Quote: "So go to 'Choose what the power button does', then 'Change settings that are currently unavailable' and turn OFF 'Fast start-up'. Then it doesn't part-hibernate, and takes only a few seconds longer to boot. Power pack still lights the motherboard, though."

                  Yup, what Steve said.

                  Also not recommended to use Fast start-up on an SSD, as it increases the writes to the drive quite a bit, (dumping GBs of memory to the SSD on every shutdown) and it's not really needed on an SSD anyway (you might shave a couple of seconds on boot).

                  And unless you want to use hibernate, doing a 'powercfg /h off' from the CMD, gets rid of the old hibernate file, so saves a bit of space too. (Turning fast startup off, and even turning off hibernate in Windows settings, doesn't seems to actually switch it off fully and leaves the hiberfil.sys file behind, which can be several GB in size!).

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Linux

                    Re: Get off my lawn!

                    (Turning fast startup off, and even turning off hibernate in Windows settings, doesn't seems to actually switch it off fully and leaves the hiberfil.sys file behind, which can be several GB in size!).

                    I remember a great many years ago, IIRC when HDD's were still measured in Mb or maybe low Gb (like 1GB=$600NZ second hand), I got sick of all the stuff that Windows was caching. I'd managed to inhereit an absolute shitload of RAM - a whopping 16GB and I had a MB that could take that much, so I set up a hee-uge 4MB Ramdisk parition to let Windows cache to, with the benefit that when I turned off the machine, all of it's temp etc files went (actually I think it was temp files filling the HDD, not so much caching).

                    What happened? Every time I shut Windows down said files were copied back to the HDD, and on start up were copied back to the ram drive. Operating performance was barely noticeable increased, but start up and shutdown each had several minutes added to them.

                    tl;dr Don't be too surprised if Windows insists on creating multi-GB hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys files, and re-creating them no matter how unnecessary or what efforts you go to.

          2. AndrueC Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Get off my lawn!

            Since common sense has gone the way of the dodo, there should be a law : powered OFF means NO CURRENT APPLIED.

            Agreed. Will put it on the list right below 'fibre broadband'.

          3. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

            Re: Get off my lawn!

            "powered OFF means NO CURRENT APPLIED"

            Not so long ago the politicians here in UK were getting concerned about the standby power consumption of appliances, that it was destroying the environment, and legislation was clearly necessary. The obvious cheap solution for a manufacturer is to change the label on the 'Standby' switch to 'Off', thus sidestepping legal limits on standby power. (I considered using the joke icon here, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was true in some cases).

            1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

              Reboot the house!

              "Not so long ago the politicians here in UK were getting concerned about the standby power consumption of appliances, that it was destroying the environment, and legislation was clearly necessary."

              One idly wonders if this reveals the real purpose of "smart meters".

              "No 47 Acacia Avenue using too much juice while owners not present. Reboot house."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Get off my lawn!

          And replacing said switch when pressing it made "bzzzzzzt" noises and blue sparks but nothing much else.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Get off my lawn!

          Some of us oldtimers remember when the on/off switch/button physically disconnected the device from power-- and we write/speak accordingly.

          Back in my TV repair days we came across an interesting beastie. Was quite warm even when the physical power switch had been turned off. Some sort of weird no-name cheap Chinese brand (probably whatever proceeded "Goldstar"), so we had a look inside (wasn't in the shop for a fault that would require opening it up).

          Now Sony had a TV that'd been out for nearly 20 years by that point. The tubes on those ones were great because so long as it was attached to live mains, the tube heater elements were energised - preventing the stresses of heating/cooling/heating as the device was turned on and off. For a minuscule power cost the life of the TV (and especially the tube) was greatly improved.

          This weird TV seemed to be along similar lines, only when you used the switch to turn it off, instead of cutting off the power from the thing the switch acted between the power supply and the rest of the TV's circuits, and switched over to a couple of ballast resistors. I think the TV may've drawn more current when "off" than when actually on!

          That was in 1990/91. Stupid designs were being made in TV's even back then.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Get off my lawn!

            ...so long as it was attached to live mains, the tube heater elements were energised...

            I should've mentioned that AFAICR the heater elements had a separate transformer (or tap off the secondary side of the mains transformer), and in the OFF state that was the only circuit that had power.

  12. elaar

    I hate LG.

    As someone previously mentioned, you had the spying incident, which was swiftly removed after it made the headlines. Although we'll have to take their word for it because from that point all all packets to LG were encrypted.

    The digitizer on my LG phone recently packed up.

    My 2 year old LG washing machine broke down, and the "Smart Diagnostic" fails to work as advertised.

    I'll never buy an LG product again.

  13. SteveCo

    Depends if the TV turns itself on with these two buttons. It sounds similar to android-type safe boots. Press a key, hold it, press power, system boots into safe mode. This might be similar. Granted, the instructions should probably read "press and hold settings, press vol down, tv will boot to same mode...". Or maybe you need to press the power button with both the other buttons held down? Who knows.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        In my experience, programmers are perfectly capable of writing clear instructions (perhaps because that is their day job) but they are usually kept away from the writing of the manual because that's customer-facing and "everyone knows" that you shouldn't let techies talk to customers.

        Consequently, the manual is written by someone who doesn't understand the product and who believes that details are scary.

      2. Steve Graham

        ...unable to write clear instructions...

        Not only that, programmers and engineers design consumer technology which is perfectly simple for programmers and engineers to operate. Normal people (I do know some) are not a consideration.

        1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

          Re: ...unable to write clear instructions...

          "programmers and engineers design consumer technology which is perfectly simple for programmers and engineers to operate"

          As an engineer (and a semi-competent programmer) myself, I'm not sure I'd agree. I find the controls provided for operating many modern appliances totally mystifying.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        " all programmers (and I am guilty) are unable to write clear instructions ...they find it hard to understand just how clueless are the majority of users."

        If you're withholding the clues of course the users are going to be clueless.

  14. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    "smart" things - helping companies make more money...

    give me a dumb thing instead, kthanxbai.

  15. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    No smarts thanks. Gimme TAS* anytime

    *TAS: Thick as Shit

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: No smarts thanks. Gimme TAS* anytime

      I prefer DAAR in professional/polite environs; Dumb As A Rock.

      Same difference though. Cheapy Celcius (same as the Polaroid/Blaupunkt tellys - basic 1080p panel with no smart tat added on) 37" panel for Chromecasting podcasts to via Youtube/Twitch/etc.

      It's not even got an aerial plugged in - I've not watched broadcast telly in years and don't think I've missed much as a result. In short, it's a big, cheap monitor and little more.

      The (live) smart telly interfaces I've used at other peoples homes have, er, not exactly inspired me with confidence.

      Steven R

  16. Terry 6 Silver badge

    nor known to its customer support technicians.

    This seems to be more and more an issue all over the place. 1st line support are usually well meaning, and some even have good tech skills. But too often their own employers seem to think it's OK to keep them in the dark about, for example, known faults. Instead they make them take users on a run through the usual scripts. Scripts which are never going to work in this situation....... And Virgin are my candidate for the worst of the bunch, though from the sounds of this LG could give them a run for their ( or our) money.

  17. stu 4
    Boffin

    LG p1sh and while we're at it - fecking 'trumotion'

    yup - mine is connected to my mac mini in the living room - that's all it's used for - mac.

    However, thanks to no netflix app on osx and no DD5.1 on browsers I was occasionally driven to using the 'smart' LG bit to use netflix and get 5.1

    However I soon found that every month or so when it decided to update its software and/or randomly whenever it felt like it would forget my login again... so after already waiting the eternity it takes the fecker to load up, to then be presented with having to enter my username and password again using the fecking remote I disconnected it from my network and it can truly get itself to feck.

    This also has the added advantage of not getting pop ups every couple of weeks asking to let it upgrade it's sofware... POS.

    If anyone has a solution to getting netflix 5.1 on a mac (does wine work with netflix app and digital audio ?) then please tell (I've even tried windoze on vmware but digital out doesn't work on vmware.. plus even using windoze for 5 mins is 5 mins too much frankly).

    And while we are ranting about modern tvs - I was up with the family over xmas and watching a great film with my sister on her new Samsung (Captain Fantastic) - having watched it already on my own TV I wondered why it looked terrible on her's... sort of like a cheap mexican soap opera.

    Having learned my lesson in past visits, I decided not to suggest there's TV was setup wrong (having had my head bitten off on previous occasions when I mentioned that people were not actually 4 feet tall with big wide bodies - and that they had it set up in 4:3 expanded mode.... and was told 'they liked it that way' - leave it alone)...

    But when I got home I looked around and sure enough, enabling 'trumotion' on my LG (this is playing movies on my mac of course not that it matters) and sure enough , I too could enjoy a wonderful film made to look like it was shot on a 500 quid video camera...

    And note - this wonderful 'feature' is ON by default on most TVs (I explicitly remember turning all this sh1t off when I got mine).

    https://www.cnet.com/uk/news/what-is-the-soap-opera-effect/

    So the TV manufacturing FWs have done it again - having screwed up the early 2000s with years of selling 16/9 TVs to the unwashed public who at that time only had access to 4/3 content and squashing the world (with a significant percentage of said unwashed thinking that was what widescreen did....), they have done it again, and created a default ON feature which reduces all multi million dollar films and dramas to look like they were shot in the 1980s on video cameras.... utter utter a$holes.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: LG p1sh and while we're at it - fecking 'trumotion'

      Netflix on a browser doesn't do 5.1.

      The Mac App store has a Netflix app but I think it's just a Safari wrapper with the same problem.

      You could try another VM like Virtual Box or maybe Boot Camp to use the Windows 8 Netflix app?

    2. King Jack
      Headmaster

      Re: LG p1sh and while we're at it - fecking 'trumotion'

      @stu please learn to spell fucking swear words. We are adults here and will not melt if somebody says 'shit'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: LG p1sh and while we're at it - fecking 'trumotion'

        "@stu please learn to spell fucking swear words. We are adults here and will not melt if somebody says 'shit'."

        I will politely disagree. Due to its ability to slip past "naughty words" filters enforced by various online forums, I will argue that "fecking" has been adopted as a milder form of the original.

        Which means I can reserve the original word for cases where something stronger is called for.

        Language evolves.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: LG p1sh and while we're at it - fecking 'trumotion'

          "Feck" is not a synonym of "fuck". It's an Irish colloquialism roughly equivalent to "defenestrate", although the look on my parents' faces when my Irish girlfriend uses the term confirms that this is not understood widely outside of Ireland.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: LG p1sh and while we're at it - fecking 'trumotion'

        @stu please learn to spell fucking swear words. We are adults here and will not melt if somebody says 'shit'.

        Nor do we need someone to throw a childish tanty when someone tries to be a bit more polite..

  18. Alex Walsh

    There's a similar issue with Amazon Kindles and WiFi. Some Kindles just lose the ability to connect to WiFi for no discernible reason but a factory reset sorts them out. So far, so good. However there is another Kindle issue that sees factory reset fail to work, leaving you with a Kindle that you can't reset or connect to WiFi. There's a hidden routine that lets you reset a Kindle via a password but Amazon Customer Support don't ever give this out.

    1. ISP

      Happened to mine, cure was to pin protect the kindle then enter the stunningly hard to find secret password "resetmyknindle" which forces a factory rest.

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201175110

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Factory Reset

    There's a reason LG wanted to hide the factory reset, which is that it allows you to bugger up more of the TV. You could dump the system, modify it, change features - and let's face it, if this became widespread that you could install some poxy hacked around OS from xda-developers.com people would still expect LG to support the TV.

    There's also similar button holding tricks for Samsung, Panasonic and Sony TVs... some of which are quite fruitful, they let you (for example) remove the channel locks on a hotel TV, or upgrade your TV with features it didn't have but the next model up did such as USB recording.

    I see this all the time with phones, people download some "modded ROM" thinking they're some elite hacker dude, it screws the phone up and they can't get it back to stock. "Waaaaah" they cry, "my phone is broken and you won't fix it". Nope, your phone is broken because you overclocked it, upped the charging rate, installed a Chinese modem on a UK phone or whatever.

    I can't believe that someone "accidentally" installed a "GET FR33 M0VIEZ HERE!!!11" app. What most likely happened is they hunted it down, turned off the sideloading protection manually, installed it and screwed themselves over. On Android TV you CANNOT install an app from untrusted sources without ticking the box and understanding the warning, and even then it's a manual process from USB.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Factory Reset

      All a factory reset needs to do is to reset data which can change by zeroing it or taking it from a backup and then start up as normal, preferably by allowing the user to stick a paperclip in a little hole round the back labelled 'RESET'. Don't mix it up with anything else.

      LG, therefore, are arseholes if they want to charge customers for the privilege when it's their own fault that the telly can install malware from the browser in the first place.

      If their tellies must have a browser it should be sandboxed to within an inch of its life and not allow apks to be downloaded at all.

      1. ISP

        Re: Factory Reset

        My Android tv has a Factory reset option in th menu. Settings -> TV -> Storage and Reset -> Factory data reset.

        I also recently had to reset the system cache after an android update made the wifi eat the battery, on may handset this involves arcane means to get into the bootloader. On mine, hold power and volume down until the phone resets. Not all manufacturers are brain dead.

        I'm not likely to be installing endless apps on the tv but being able to run Plex and Kodi natively without a stick or external box has reduced the complexity of my av stand further.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Factory Reset

          The menu is useless if it's ransomware that stops you getting to it.

          Stopping the browser downloading apks wohldn't affect sideloading via USB.

          1. ISP

            Re: Factory Reset

            "The menu is useless if it's ransomware that stops you getting to it."

            In which case the documented procedure (available on the web sire, and in a youtube video) is to perform a full power off/on by removing the plug, press up arrow on the remote and tap the set's physical power button. This forces a reset.

            Took me all of five minutes to find that.

            If you're going to sideload apks via USB then that's a risk you knowingly took yourself.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Factory Reset

              I'm not quite sure if you're arguing for or against TV openness.

              I'm arguing against it, especially if it's surf the web and click until it's installed, but allowing apks to be installed only by USB might be a compromise. Wifey would have to be pretty determined to screw up the telly.

  20. TheProf
    Angel

    True Story

    I've got a SONY TV and if I try to log into FaceBook it crashes.

    Now if that isn't smart I don't know what is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: True Story

      "I've got a SONY TV and if I try to log into FaceBook it crashes."

      I've got a Sony "smart" TV and I've no idea what Facebook is, but if I tune the TV in to the VintageTV channel on Freeview, which used to have some decent music on it (nominally channel 241 maybe, but actually delivered over the Interweb), it never gets there because the TV crashes, requiring a reboot to fix. It's sort of appropriate: Vintage TV channel crashes not quite current TV box. Other channels may have had the same effect too, if I'd bothered trying.

  21. AndGregor
    Paris Hilton

    Customer Service Call Recording

    'Let me check the status of your TV, hmm it would appear that you have switched it on, tsk tsk. Sir / Madam, if you check your small print that action alleviates us of any support responsibilities. Now let's go through a two hour script to make us both feel better.'

  22. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "wife downloaded an app to the TV promising free movies"

    sigh.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember when LG Smart TVs phoned home with USB file-names...?

    After being found out, the first thing LG did was claim that the webpage was invalid.

    But sysadmins pointed out that every URL was likely logged by LG Server's anyway.

    Along of course with everyone's USB file-names supplied via URL parameter etc.

    ================================

    So I agree the best option is to avoid Smart, as most people don't even really need it.

    But the bitter pill is, unlike Samsung, LG still actually sell a range of non-smart TV's...

    Whereas Samsung stubbornly wants in on the Facebook / Google Ad-slinging game...

  24. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "With the TV powered off..."

    But presumably plugged in.

    Somewhere in the world, somebody's grandpa is trying to make this work with the TV unplugged.

  25. DrXym Silver badge

    Bitrot

    I'm in an apartment at the moment with a Samsung "smart" TV. Half of the apps don't work on it any more and the rest are so janky I don't see why I'd want to use them or have them baked into the TV.

    I think I'd prefer a plain old dumb TV, and if they want to be "smart" they can stick a DLNA client and Chromecast into it. That's more or less all anyone wants or needs any way.

  26. Chris Gray 1
    Meh

    Saved by no support!

    In my old place I used to be able to see/hear the TV from the kitchen and dining room. So, when planning a move to this new place, that was a consideration. The only solution that seemed acceptable was to have a TV that could receive over WiFi to show me the evening news. So, a friend and I picked up the cheapest 40" TV with WiFi that we could find in Walmart. It was a Philips smart TV. Little did I know that it didn't actually have a browser, so I couldn't do what I wanted anyway. But, we were able to trace out enough of the ancient in-wall cable to provide it with an input, so that was OK - the local cable company had a sale on cable terminals the day I went looking - about CDN $60 to purchase.

    But, I have played with the WiFi connection and its "smartness". After moving my router to give enough signal, the built-in YouTube works OK, and a friend tried his NetFlix account and that works fine too. However "NetTV" shows nothing. The web tells me that Philips does not support an app store for Canada (where I am). So, I'm saved from malware by the manufacturer (presumeably Chinese) not supporting me!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I wanted my bloody TV to be smart...

    I'd hook it up to a freaking Playstation 3, that has Netflix and Youtube.

    Which I just did, and it's fucking brilliant.

    Blu-Rays, Windows streaming from my desktop, Netflix, Youtube... without a single dodgy piece of software in between the lot of them. And if the desktop gets borked, I just unplug it, and carry on.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: If I wanted my bloody TV to be smart...

      I do the same, but got a PS4 as well.

      A boy has also worked out how to avoid malware sites, he goes there first on his Vita and looks for web page errors.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ugh

    Id argue that streaming services are plenty cheap enough these days. However, since subs based services generally only put out shit movies for the included price I'd say Hollywood is still doing everything it can to ensure piracy.

    Paying for new movies I understand...but Prime takes the piss charging for old stuff like the original Star Trek for example.

    I mean come on, surely its made its money back over the 5 decades its existed.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Ugh

      "Id argue that streaming services are plenty cheap enough these days."

      It soon mounts up when the stuff you want to watch is on three different streaming services and there's little else on any of the services you want to watch. So-called streaming TVOD services have used the same trick as the cable companies. A little of what you want padded out with loads of shite that almost no-one would ever pay to watch. If they were really streaming TVOD services then you'd get to choose what to watch and what to pay for. and the crap would soon disappear. The downside is that good but niche would also have to find new ways of getting to market.

  29. d3vy Silver badge

    Wait.. Hold power and volume down buttons.

    Isnt that the standard way to get to the factory reset on prety much EVERY android tablet/Phone?

    I'd never have thought of trying that on a TV but it makes perfect sense that it would work :)

    1. Luiz Abdala

      re: Power and Volume Down

      Well, the first smart TVs I've ever witnessed on a shop were Samsung's. With full Android and Google Buttons, including Play Store™, right in front.

      So, yes, they are über-sized smartphones without the phone part. Nothing would prevent hooking them to a landline or have a 4G chip on it, and make the TV pause/mute the streaming when someone calls you.

  30. Herby Silver badge

    All this "smart TV" makes me wonder...

    That I have made a very correct decision to keep the 5 CRT based 3:4 aspect ratio TV's in my house. Boy are they DUMB. About the only "smart" stuff they have is which channels they work on, and since my two SAT receivers have modulators to nice channels, we don't worry about much.

    This has worked fine for me for quite a few years.

    UGH, the "other TV" is a Visio huge one. It might even be "smart" (it does access my WiFi router). The problem is that in some respects it is quite DUMB as well. When it receives a letterbox picture "over the air" it should sense it and zoom up the active part of the picture to the whole wide screen (where I could see all the pixels of the 360x640 picture) and let it go at that. But nope, it postage stamps it in the center of the screen. When will the manufacturers actually listen and make things "simple".

    Yes, I know it takes a LOT of work to make things "simple". Probably more than people are willing to do. (*SIGH*).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: All this "smart TV" makes me wonder...

      "That I have made a very correct decision to keep the 5 CRT based 3:4 aspect ratio TV's in my house."

      Yeah but when you have a knock a hole through into the neighbours living room for the back the tube neck on the new 60" monster TV, it's can cause a bit of disruption.

  31. Patrick Marino

    Sony smart TV

    I bought my first smart TV in July. Sony 75 inch XBR 4K. Looks amazing. Runs Android. I can't believe how often I have to reboot the TV to get it to work. Probably every week, or at least twice a month. YouTube and pbskids stops working. The voice search stops working. Changing inputs from hdmi1 to hdmi2 starts to take 10 seconds. Only a 5 minute reboot clears it up.

    I can't wait to see what car manufacturer thinks it's a good idea to use Android.

  32. Robert Baker
    IT Angle

    Don't call it the "Internet of Things"

    Instead, call it the "Infrastructure-Dependent Internet of Things" — much more appropriate initialism.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised this gets press

    Given it's obvious staged nature, but the Amazon Alexa going mental and spewing filth infringement of the kid got buried.

    https://youtu.be/r5p0gqCIEa8

    Funny old world full of hidden agendas....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LG hide features in service modes

    I was able to 'upgrade' my TV to be able to play video from the USB 'service' socket simply by the use of an IR remote. Range of TVs, some priced with 'multimedia' capability, others not. Bought the 'not', turned out it was there all along....

  35. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    I want my TV to be a TV.

  36. andyUK

    So I watch the video for 10 minutes only for the end to be cut off!! I dont believe him now...

  37. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Power on while holding the reset key. That seems familiar. ;)

  38. comBOY
    Stop

    What a bunch of I'm-so-edgy

    Reportedly, this guy deliberately messed with the firmware in order to sideload a piracy app. I don't know if that is true, but hardly anybody is questioning his innocence.

    Which is logical, as this is great fodder for people who like to feel edgy (even though you can brick a "dumb" TV as well by messing with the firmware) and great clickbait for news outlets.

    Oh and then "Why did LG hesitate so much to give him the reset procedure? Why isn't it public? CONSPIRACY TO CHARGE FOR REPAIR!" The standard reset procedure IS public! It's in the menu! But the menu wasn't accessible because the TV was bricked, of course. So the only way to reset it was through the technician's menu. You know why TV manufacturers don't publicize how to get into the technician's menu? Because it lets you brick your TV even further without warnings! (And that was the case in the "dumb" era too)

    But rave on. Get an old "dumb" TV and enjoy the set-top box mess and shitty picture quality.

    Oh and burn LG at the stake while you're at it. I agree with the person above (downvoted into oblivion of course) that LG should investigate and maybe sue this guy and all these news outlets. But it looks like LG are letting themselves being trampled over. They aren't good at marketing, which is a shame as they make great products nowadays.

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