What a time to be alive.
Owners of Samsung smart TVs say their swish sets are basically unusable after a bungled firmware update. In fact, the update was so bad, it looks as though it will require people to send or bring their televisions back to base for repair to correct the cockup. Folks on Samsung UK's support forums report that an update …
were the updates MANDATORY?
No, it just nags you about it when you switch it on, and that you cannot disable.
If it was only possible to give old folks a large screen TV without all this "intelligent" guff - all it takes for one of them to press a wrong button and they're in its "entertainment" shite which then takes a carefully prepared script to escape from (because, naturally, it doesn't reset with power cycling because that would be too f*cking easy). On the plus side, that's the one reason that will stop this one from being upgraded: it's not on a network, so also no nagging. I made sure of that.
I could say "this is the last Samsung I will buy" but they're all like that. Big screen, shit contents - an inseparable combination for modern TVs.
Samsung computer monitors don't have this problem.
Annoyingly, that was one of the reasons I decided to buy a Samsung TV. I have been using Samsung monitors for literally decades and in all that time I had exactly *one* a problem a few years ago. It had start problems, so I opened it up and discovered popped elcos (maybe a hangover from the time we had bad electrolytic material). I simply replaced every single one on the principle that what hasn't popped may yet still be thinking about it, and that has worked so well it's the very screen now hanging off my Macbook that I use for working and reading El Reg when at home.
The LCDs on their TVs are impressive, and it does a good job of displaying everything that comes out of the cable TV box but by God, the crud in the non-TV side of things is bad. Mine's offline.
"Do they come in five foot versions? Curved screen? Multiple HDMI inputs?"
Well yes, obviously. For the most part those kinds of things come to monitors before they arrive in TVs, especially when it comes to choice of inputs. You might struggle to find a monitor much more than 50", since you're generally expected to sit closer and not need the really crazy sizes (they do exist, but tend to be billed as conferencing monitors and be somewhat lacking in features), but for the most part a TV is just a monitor with lower refresh rate and less input options.
Don't think I've ever seen a monitor with multiples of the same input, never mind the five HDMI inputs my TV has. A monitor is usually assumed to be a dedicated device, which is why we need KVM switches when we want to share them. It seems the monitors in your locale are rather different to those available in NY.
The flatscreen monitor I recently purchased had one HDMI input and one DVI input.
But I fully believe yours has more, Cuddles.
"That should tell you how bad the shows are in the US."
There are some good shows made in the US. But when the ad breaks are 5 minute long every 10 minutes and there are banner ads over the actual show directly after the ad break, I suppose that might detract from the actual quality of those rare shows.
You're pulling my war wound MachDiamond.
BBC America has so many adverts it even beats The History Channel. I timed it during one Dr Who episode and there was one point where I got seven minutes of show followed by nine minutes of commercials. I only got eight minutes of show after the opening credits had rolled.
And what are these important commercials being rammed down the viewer's optical nerve? Why, adverts for more BBC shows delivered in Jeremy Clarkson Received Pronunciation at volume 11 by some shouty twat. We used to call that Aversion Therapy.
Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan and Netflix make TV bearable. The BBC is intoxicated with adverts much like a pre-teen on Woodpecker, and about as annoying.
"I could say "this is the last Samsung I will buy" but they're all like that. Big screen, shit contents - an inseparable combination for modern TVs."
And yet I've recently managed to buy a perfectly functional modern dumb TV. "Smart" TVs (scare quotes definitely needed) are a bit more common, but it's not at all difficult to find a perfectly good dumb screen with a few inputs for the upgradeable smart devices of your choice (or just an aerial socket if that's the way you roll). They're available from all the major manufacturers, and there will generally be at least a couple of examples high in the results if you just do a general search for "TV" on Amazon.
I've got a dumb 50" Panasonic. I'd hate to have one of their smart tellyboxes, given the pisspoor quality of the menu design on the one I've got. Although for old folks, the remote does have a button market EXIT that will get you out of any menu you've accidentally got yourself into.
If I want smarts, I want them on a separate box, that probably has a shorter lifetime than the screen. Though so far I'm happy with Freeview and a Google Chromecast HDMI-stick thingy.
My friend uses a PS3 as his Blu-ray player - and I pity any Sony users, given how weird the UI is on that thing.
"If it were a Smart TV there might be some opportunity to upgrade that, make it better :)"
That's the false hope people cling to that makes them expose themselves to these issues.
Manufacturers seldom make anything better. Just wait until something REALLY needs fixing and then check if there is a fix for it.
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At least one update has been required for TVs because ITV decided to change the audio encoding method on their DVB-S2 channels to one that was technically legal, but uncommon.
The fact that this hasn't bricked US-market sets does point to it being a regional or UK-only update and if it's the latter I wouldn't be at all surprised to find it wasn't tested.
Quality brutish workmanship
Lets hope this costs Samsung dearly, with people insisting that they come to their homes to fix it and not being bullied in to returning the sets.
Only then might the muppets in charge actually insist on proper testing and having a firmware roll-back feature built in to the system that can be done with just a couple of buttons on the TV itself.
More than that, there are umpteen SoCs these days that can boot off several sources (such as SD card or USB drive) pretty much on their own, starting from zero - it's ridiculously easy to make _unbrickable_ systems with them since no matter how badly one screws up any internal storage, an appropriate update delivered via a service SD or USB socket can bypass it, boot, and fix it; and I expect lots of people would be able to follow simple instructions to "download this, run it on a windows PC, point it at an empty media, remove media, insert into TV, turn TV on"- so why the heck are they not doing things this way...?
Speaking out of experience here - updates to Galaxy 3 Tab and several other models broke the recovery partition and the overall partitioning scheme so no Odin can help you fix it. It works until you decide to wipe the data. Then it bricks WITH THE DATA on it and enters an endless reboot, crash, restart loop.
Their level of software testing is abysmal to non-existent and it is NOT likely to improve any time soon as it is a function of the cultural setup. Superior says, drone does. Welcome to Korea.
" it is NOT likely to improve any time soon as it is a function of the cultural setup. Superior says, drone does"
The way to fix _that_ little conundrum is to arrange some extremely public humiliation for the superior.
As in, an irate customer screaming his tits off at said numpty on national TV (or going viral on Youtube)
It works for both Japanese and Korean companies. Manglement don't like being made fun of on public TV shows and most of the time they've been told everything is all perfectly hunky-dory so the only time they find out it's not is when someone loses their rag in this mind of way.
My 4-5 year old Sammy TV constantly wants to update itself when you turn it on. Is it too intellectually challenging for them to give you an option to update it at shutoff time instead?
When it first came out, it had a really good iOS remote - it did everything. About a year in, they "updated" the iOS to v3 and the only thing it now did was to switch channels and control the volume. Note that searching for "remote Samsung" in the Google Play isn't all that useful either... there were least 2 or 3 _demo_ apps (by Samsung) for a Sammy TV, but no remote apps for them.
The only apps I've ever used on it are the Netflix and YouTube, but I guess they need to update their unremovable bloatware apps.
Sammy decided to yank out the YouTube app about 3 months ago, leaving me with the need to get a Chromecast to watch YouTube. Not really expensive, but running out of HDMI ports with this kinda crap.
Next TV? Next anything electronic? Not a chance in hell to be a Samsung. Too bad, it's actually pretty good except for the software.
What people are failing to understand is the removal of Youtube is down to the Tv's specs. As YouTube gets updated and even more bloated, the older sets don't have the grunt to run it. Blame Google, not the TV manufacturer.
YouTube on my dual-core TV is long gone. YouTube on the octa-core TV is almost usable now. If Updates did not remove YouTube from the older sets, imagine the call center that day and many days after. YOUTUBE WON'T CONNECT. YOUTUBE WON'T LOAD. YOUTUBE LOCKS MY TV UP. ...contact Google sir.
Of course, I will argue that only a moron enables auto-updates on anything. ...especially if the device is functioning properly.
>What people are failing to understand is the removal of Youtube is down to the Tv's specs.
That's not, strictly speaking, true.
The old-style YT app is Flash-based for this TV, believe it or not. Google retired it, but Sammy did not bother replacing it. I find it really hard to believe that, if a $40 Chromecast could 1080p YT in 2015 then Sammy's devs could not possibly fit that functionality onto their $1500 (new) 2013 TV. The cynical (not me!) might suspect they just want you to buy new stuff.
>only a moron enables auto-updates on anything
Thanks! As Win 10 users are well-aware, you don't always have a choice. I don't recall a setting to disable auto-updates, but I'll take a closer look. It does have dialog that allows you to cancel the update, which is what I do every time. Though one time I had to plug in a USB stick to update the firmware after I got too far behind in my updates and it wouldn't connect anymore.
While I don't disagree with reasoning of the "keep TVs dumb" crowd, that doesn't work for everyone: I don't have cable anymore, so it's all either Netflix or my DVDs. And, having an auxiliary PC under Linux or the like to handle the internet seems like a massive electricity drain to my parsimonious energy self as well as paying double for the functionality that's already included on modern TVs.
Who wants to watch YouTube on a tv? The videos are usually such poor quality that they look sketchy on my 6" phone screen, let alone a 40" (or bigger) tv.
I have a Sony DVD/BluRay/Smart box that plugs into my Samsung tv, and that runs Netflix and Amazon Prime (although there's precious little on Amazon that's included in my subscription - whoever heard of paying £80 a year, and then being charged extra to watch films?)
I do DailyLlama.
After a hard day dealing with know-all idiots who think "I think x so everyone should too" I like to relax in the last ten minutes or so before beddy-byes with some dashcam footage of mad Russians driving drunk at a hundred miles per hour on bald tyres that were re-engineered from badly-worn tyres when "new" as they T-bone each other's vehicles, stray into oncoming traffic or best of all just drive off the road into the treeline for no adquately explained reason, all while I have my feet up and sip a nice hot cup of tea.
You, of course, are free not to consume such fare on your TV and I would not dream of telling you otherwise.
@DailyLlama:"Who wants to watch YouTube on a tv?"
You don't have kids, do you? If you did you'd know they're not interested in broadcast TV, and that YouTube is all they watch.
"The videos are usually such poor quality that they look sketchy on my 6" phone screen, let alone a 40" (or bigger) tv."
Umm, you can watch 4K YouTube content these days Grandad.
"You don't have kids, do you? If you did you'd know they're not interested in broadcast TV, and that YouTube is all they watch."
I only have one, and it's pretty much true. We do watch stuff from Amazon and Now TV on the TV occasionally (films). Once every two weeks or so.
Live TV? I only watch F1 every two weeks, if I remember.
I suspect the manufacturers had no choice but to remove the ability to get YouTube because Google either wanted an exorbitant price for the licence or (more likely) wanted them to remove it. Google would probably prefer you watch YouTube on your Smartphone or your PC or your tablet, most likely because they get far more data back from those devices than they do from a SmartTV. It's also likely that there's the lingering threat of legal action if any comment from the Manufacturers over the reasons for removing YouTube serve to show YouTube or Google in a bad light. Hence LG remove YouTube from your Smart TV but don't tell you why. Doubly sad for Samsung as they need to keep sweet with Google or they might lose the YouTube app on their Android phones.
This is of course only speculation, but you got to admit it sounds more likely than Samsung just deciding to remove one of the biggest assets of a Smart TV (the ability to play videos from YouTube) for no reason other than shits & giggles.
Most manufacturers actually don't make their TV's anyway, a lot of them are made by Vestel, there is possibly only a few companies that do still make their own TV's as far as I'm aware and those are Sony, Panasonic (high-end models - lower models are made by Vestel), LG and Samsung.
LG is an interesting one though as LG stands for Lucky Goldstar (even though quite often they use Life's Good). My dad was a TV engineer in the 80's and he was forever repairing Goldstar TV's as they were quite well known as being very poor quality. I think LG has upped it's game a bit and is certainly a lot better than some of the Vestel junk out there, but it's certainly nowhere near as good as some of the high-end non-Vestel Panasonic TV's. (Panasonic is very good as they're original name was Matsushita and as well as the Panasonic name they also owned Technics and National)
They made some *seriously* good gear in the days I was into analogue audio (that's a long time ago).
As a matter of fact, they *still* make the SL1200 (now "G", when I used then it was "Mk II") and it's about the only record player the idiot DJs at a local club venue did NOT manage to destroy in two months or less. Not only was it good quality direct drive, but whoever made that must have thought another war was coming because it was *very* robust.
Good memories :)
"JVC are also part of Matsushita, but Panasonic is supposed to be better"
STOP RIGHT THERE.
In the UK at least, the JVC brand on TVs etc now appears to be an own brand for Dixons/Currys, using the JVC name under licence, presumably for the purpose of misdirecting the purchaser (as was the case with Matsui but people eventually cottoned on)..
This from wondering why iPlayer (and friends) on a mate's "smart" JVC doesn't work (message says "provide me a working Freeview aerial signal or I'm not playing") in the absence of a Freeview signal on the aerial. This mystery led to me doing an RTFM. The FM doesn't explain why the iPlayer needs an aerial signal but it does reveal the fact that the JVC name is licenced to DSG UK for use on TVs etc.
You have been warned - but probably not by the retailers or brand owners.
"LG is an interesting one though as LG stands for Lucky Goldstar"
These days that's LG-Philips. LG hoovered up the dutch company a long time ago.
There are worse things than Vestels around in the murky world of badge-engineered TVs - UMC in Slovakia being one of the larger crapmakers you never heard of, but whose products are ubiquitous.
"At least then you have a smart thing you can control and a leave the TV as the dumb screen it should be."
A couple of years back, I bought a Samsung "Smart" Blu-ray player thinking I could use it to stream as well as play Discs. Then I used the streaming player on the thing...
...and went out and bought a Roku.
I made exactly that decision when I bought our new Samsung last month - it has a power cable and an HDMI to a Raspberry Pi, and that's it. I want my screen to be as dumb as possible.
Having read this article today I am feeling rather smug about that decision.
I made similar choices. Have 5 Samsung screens around the house. Four of them monitors connected to Raspberry Pi or Amazon Fire TV box. The single TV is not a smart TV. Just big plasma screen also connected to TiVo and Amazon Fire TV.
None of the screens are internet connected. All the screens have access to video stored on my NAS.
I record those TV shows I wish to watch and play them avoiding commercials.
I can hardly wait for firmware updates to self driving cars...
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"and a tonne of other stuff as I develop the app!"
That's nice. You really should put that at the top as responsible disclosure, especially as it's payware with a bunch of not-very-good reviews. (https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1098)
Personally I use Anymote as it's the _only_ app which will control my cheap'n'nasty UMC tv and it works with the IR emitter on my Note 4. Although I paid for mine, it's not time limited.
@Dan 55 - I have a Raspberry Pi plugged into my 40-inch not-smart Samsung TV. Taking your comments in order:
- Difficult to watch on the sofa - although I'm of very mature years and need glasses I don't have any difficulty watching the 40-inch screen.
- No remote control - I have a mini wireless keyboard with built in trackpad for the Pi and it works just fine. Ordinary remote for the basic TV functions.
- No 10-foot UI - this is true, but see my first comment; I can read the 40-inch screen just fine, not sure I could cope with a 10-foot high UI. ;-)
10-foot UI (it's a thing) means the distance between you and the TV, not the size of the TV screen
Really? Well I'd never have guessed!
Sorry, it's my fault for not telegraphing my intentions with the joke icon for the benefit of those who can't keep up.
Actually I have quite a few Clients with Sofa-LargeTV-PC combos and yes there are remotes you can get for AV players that can control sound output as well, mind you they have it on large stereos that have their own as well. I have an older 60" that is plugged into a Laptop at the back for the moment while my mother in law is in town so she can stream British TV shows from our main server. Wireless keyboard and mouse for that setup though/.
The bigger problem is that unless you live in or near a REALLY big city, there are no service centers anywhere near you, at least in the US. I kept putting in zip codes further and further away, and as far as I can tell the nearest one is about 250 miles away. And I don't live in a particularly rural area, I imagine further west you might have to 500+ miles.
That's completely unacceptable for something that is 100% their fuckup.
The only service center is almost 1000km from me, on another island. There is a local Samsung presence, in the middle of a local shopping mall, but that's it for the entire South Island and it'd be a seven plus hour drive from the further flung cities. Thankfully our Sammy TV is an older plasma model!
So Samsung expect their customers to lug their 40+" TVs into a service centre...
Oh, if they would pick up the cost of the flight to and from for that I'd reconnect and apply that death patch *right now*.
"Hi boss, I'm afraid I can't come in for a few days, it's something I must have picked up." - it's not even a lie.
These things weigh a ton
No they don't. I bought a Samsung 40" TV earlier this year. According to the specs on Amazon it weighs a grand total of 7.7kg. A quick check shows that my nearest Samsung service centre is the nearest large town. I'd be bloody annoyed if I had to take it there but in the grand scheme of things it's a minor matter.
But I don't want to detract from the criticism of Samsung. I've already complained to them about a couple of spurious service messages I got for a service I don't use. Also that their media streamer always chooses the subtitle track and doesn't offer the option of changing it.
I hope this will "educate" the market properly. A TV does not need to be "smart". A TV is a window that is supposed to show what is sent its way, that's all. You want anything "smart" ? Buy an extension to hook up to it. If the extension gets borked, your TV still does its job. This maddening trend to integrate everything and the kitchen sink is driving me crazy.
As far as I'm concerned, this issue was fatal. TV makers know nothing about how to write code, how to debug it, much less about how to update it properly. A cock-up like this was inevitable and I do hope the lesson will be harsh.
The reality though, is that while you *can buy a dumb tv still, the flagship models from Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony costing several thousand all have smart platforms of varying clunkiness because that's what the market demands for reasons of convenience.
Not everybody wants devices and cables visible everywhere, and the trend is towards the display being on its own with the processing box being separate, connected via near invisible proprietary optical cable.
I learned this a while ago that my HTPC/XBMC/Kodi box is a mystery to everybody else in my house apart from me and if it stops behaving normally, nobody knows how to fix it, and they hate having to use a keyboard and trackpad on the sofa. Unless you live on your own or the TV is in your mancave, most regular people demand stuff that is easy to use and pretty foolproof. You can thank Apple for that. We use a Logitech Harmony Hub and an iPad app which everybody can use without problems.
Quite why a TV with 8 CPU cores runs so damn slowly in browsing the menus is a bit of a mystery until you take into account that Samsung develop the software themselves. Samsung have always been rubbish at Software, hence the worst thing about their phones are the additions they make to Android, the worst thing about their TVs is the Tizen OS developed by them which nobody even wanted on a phone and as for when their assistant Bixby was announced, being worked on by "*thousands* of developers" I just laughed to myself because guess what? That's rubbish as well.
Samsung Update not fully tested and bricks their TVs? Not surprised in the slightest. Samsung marketing always has a nice expensive sheen, with shiny hardware and nice specs, but dig beneath the surface and there are plenty of rough edges, under tested features, naff software and support nightmares waiting to happen. A brickable device that is this expensive in this day and age should tell you everything you need to know.
"my HTPC/XBMC/Kodi box is a mystery to everybody else in my house apart from me and if it stops behaving normally, nobody knows how to fix it, and they hate having to use a keyboard and trackpad on the sofa."
Not got a phone or tablet you can use as a remote control for it? Or plug in a IR device and use a normal remote? Or use the CEC features of the TV to operate it via the TV remote?
I've got a Sony too. Great screen, but the menu system is messy. I'd been hoping the updates would fix the one annoying bug with the TV... if it's been on mute for too long (ten minutes or so), it switches the sound output to the headphones. Un-mute doesn't work. The only way to get the sound back is to turn the TV off and back on again. I've now given up on the "smart" part of the TV and waiting for a bug fix so I've changed the WiFi key without keying it into the TV. My Sky box does everything else I need (until I cancel the contract as that isn't very good value for money with just endless crap and repeats). It will soon be hardly worthwhile owning a TV full stop as there is so little of interest to watch.
"I prefer my TVs dumb. I am using a TV decoder anyway and don't need the TV for anything but display."
I have a 'smart' TV - but it's used as an ordinary TV. I get my TV service via my VirginMedia box, and Netflix either through that or via my Amazon Fire Stick.
If TV makers want to improve their hardware, they should stick to that - the hardware. Do things like adding more/better connectivity - which includes putting certain sockets in more accessible places!
I prefer my TVs dumb. I am using a TV decoder anyway and don't need the TV for anything but display.
Indeed. Purpose-built devices like Roku, Tivo, etc. are vastly superior to the underpowered hardware, crappy interfaces, phone-home surveillance, and low-quality apps that make up a so-called "modern" TV.
And another. My TV is 'smart' but only because I couldn't find a non-smart one... its smarts are limited to turning it on and turning it off, and very occasionally selecting an input other than DVI-1.
All the off air stuff happens through a Humax PVR.
Neither are connected to the network, except on very rare occasions (usually for iPlayer - I don't do Netflix and the like, though of course others' usage patterns will vary.
My TV is slightly thick, OK an early smart one with no applications.
Runs on Linux.
Not networked, no point.
My smart source is a games console, now that has the grunt to handle anything thrown at it, and will also be supported past end of manufacture (because there are over 60 million out there).
That I do not have a Smart TV! I've just got an old regular "dumb" HDTV from around 2006/2007 that does everything and more that a SmartTV can do thanks to being wired into a Linux PC running Kodi :-).
No! Not a "pirate" Kodi box - but a proper machine with Kodi that's been running before these "pirate boxes" became a thing. It started it's life with XBMC.
No pirated material or resources being played here.. No siree! All legitimate material honest!
"A kodi box is no more illegal than a mac, a PC or any other sort of computer. "
You know that. I know that. Lots of people know that. But you wouldn't get that impression from the last year or so's Kodi coverage in the UK media.
It's almost as thought the content rights owners (the football people seem to be particularly prominent lately) are pulling the strings of both the police PR people and the Trading Standards people, both of which are publically-funded groups who ought to have *much* better things to do than to inaccurately badmouth Kodi (e.g. maybe these organisations might consider going after the criminals in charge of the manufacturers of dangerously fire-prone domestic appliances).
I'm not a smart tv or Kodi user. I use a dumb 42 inch panasonic plasma & I get my TV signal from my Sky Digi box and use a,10 inch windows tablet / Chromecast combination for other services) A couple of years ago the only people who ever mentioned Kodi were true AV junkies and techies. The conversation changed when people started selling ' fully loaded' boxes pre configured with the pirates services. I have since heard a very large number of recommendations to cancel Sky / Virgin and just buy the Kodi. I have spoken to a significant number of people since who have done just that on the basis that the cost of the fully loaded Kodi was less than 2 months Sky/Virgin subscriptions. I thing the loss of customers has been noticed and suspect that this is where the pressure has come from to lump all kodi users as pirates.
I have a sony "smart" tv and a recent update messed up it's hdmi-cec, I've spoken to support, I know what it is, the "new" bravia cec link. Useless.
I only have myself to blame, previously I have never used any tv as a "smart" tv preferring to put a computer on one however I wanted 4k netflix...
The thing is now disconnected and I use an xbox one s which I was using for 4k blu-rays only.
A lesson learnt for me.
The most annoying part of all this is that I can't revert the update or download and install the previously working firmware.
If you have a "smart tv" and it's working, disconnect it now.
preferring to put a computer on one however I wanted 4k netflix...
Not being a user of any Netflix client, so this may be a dumb question...
But why do you need to use the TV's 'smart' features for 4k?
Is there something in the netflix client running on a computer that prevents output to the TV at 4k, or is it a computer hardware limitation (not enough grunt) to output 4k?
Because the "media rights owners" (basically, the movie companies, the sports TV rights owners, etc) now dictate what a computer can look like and do, so that they can maximise the value of the content they "own".
DRM? Tick. HDCP? Tick? Windows Vista anti-tilt (and its successors) ? Tick.
And so it goes on.
"Trusted computing" doesn't mean that the computer's owners can trust it, it means that the content rights owners can trust it. And the interests of the two groups are not compatible.
I have a Sony 4k TV and Soundbar, they ARE set to auto update, but have NEVER bricked themselves, despite having several updates in the past 18 months. They DON'T play well together, despite being made by the same company. The sound drops for a few seconds then comes back and the Soundbar doesn't ALWAYS wake up or sync properly. Oh and the TV occasionally spontaneously reboots. Menu system is average, IMHO.
What DOES work wonderfully is an Apple TV4 - power that up and the TV and Soundbar both wake up. Put the Apple to sleep and the TV / Soundbar dutifully switch off - I think this is called compliance to standards.
AS poster above recently updated my smart sony tv, all went well BUT I notice it now uses gracenote stuff in the TV guide and I am sure it is sending back all my viewing habits back to sony slurp central. What they will make of that data I have no idea. PLus obviously samsung do not expet anubody , lest of all Aunty gerty, to lug their tv to a samsung dealer .. it will be done by a sammy engineer at home, unless ppl are tech savvy enough to insert a usb stick and happy to invalidate their Gtee.
I stopped watching TV years ago because it all got so crap and I had more enjoyable things to do with my time.
However, I've still got an old super dumb (analogue only) set permanently plugged into an equally dumb DVD (not blueray) player which does me for the very occasional old film I like to watch.
How dumb can you be?
It's hard to avoid 'smart' TVs these days, even the cheap ones want to spy on you. But as long as you don't give them wifi access they're effectively neutered and only act as displays.
Till they start coming with cell modems built in like cars - which is inevitable, sigh.
Dude, wake up! That's what in-store sales reps think and say, but its total rubbish. Read related Reg articles on this...
How many accounts have there been like the following... The local neighborhood kid comes over one day when the TV owner is out and connects it anyway, sometimes even to his own home Wi-Fi / cellphone network. The owner notices 6 months later etc...
Cheap Smart TV's have also been spotted scanning unprotected Wi-Fi in apartment complexes etc. Think they won't cross that line? Look at Vizio. Million dollar fine versus billion dollar sale. Wild West TV slurp, it just makes good business sense...
The Makers will inevitably suss that out and start demanding Internet access (to phone home all that lovely data about you) or the device will stop working.
My 4K Sony has only been connected to the internet twice in nearly 3 years. They still can't fix the sodding thing from switching itself off after 4 hours despite it being configured not to. A PITA at times.
All the signals it displays come from a Humax FreeSat PVR and even that is not connected to the internet and never will be.
All those wonderful pictures of your kids(from the builtin camera) dancing around in your living room while they watch and dance to Teletubbies etc could be considered Pron if got into the wrong hands. You have been warned. Big Brother is watching you.
Be careful. The TVs may have Whispernet capabilities meaning they can go online even if you don't want them too. And don't bother looking for the secret antenna, as (1) it's well-concealed, and (2) breaking it will brick the TV AND void your warranty on tampering grounds.
I bought a Samsung laptop many years ago (before smartphones existed). I was so disappointed with it (I am usually fairly tolerant) that I have never bought anything made by or with components from that company ever since.
It beats me how they manage to sell so much. It must be marketing, because their kit was, and I dare say still is, complete rubbish from a reliability aspect.
I have a UE49KS7000 and thankfully the recent update didn't brick my TV. It didn't stop some of the apps being a complete pile of crap either though. I'm sick of reinstalling the built in apps for Spotify YouTube and Netflix because they just crash for no apparent reason constantly. This is an expensive purchase, I really do not expect to have to be pissing about this way with a TV. They don't even tell you what these updates are for and they are set to auto install by default. It's a lesson learned but a replacement is a long long way off.
I cannot believe they make those things without a way of forcing a firmware update from a usb stick, which Samsung could courier out to every affected owner. Oh wait, I can believe it. Nothing I’ve seen of Samsung makes me think that Samsung have the first clue about testing, quality assurance or usability.
I have three TVs in the house. All of them are LCD or plasma and of an age which means they don’t have Ethernet ports or WiFi. I use amazon fire sticks, now TV and google chrome cast. If I ever got a new tv I would not connect it to the internet.
Just glad I bought a Panasonic last time rather than a Samsung - I nearly went for Samsung but Panasonic was the only one I could find that did both 4K and 3D in one TV (and let me tell you 3D on a 4K TV set looks amazing!!!).
Although I am a bit concerned in our rental caravan as that is a Samsung. Hope that one is still working as it's going to be an inconvenience if we rent it out and it doesn't work for the people in the caravan, although the one in the caravan is just a cheap non-smart TV Samsung so it should be alright hopefully.
I know why they broke: seems that the fault is a high density 8 pin flash chip similar to a laptop BIOS.
Problem seems to be that the timing is off and inadequate failsafes exist so portions of the memory are written incorrectly.
It was a trade-off between not having to wait for 1 hour+ for a "routine" update and having a bricked TV once in a while, usually it can be recovered but not this time.
Irony: reflashing 8 pin chips is quite simple with the right kit and I am working on a project to repair just this sort of failure using an internal "remote flash" rig that backs up firmware on the fly.
see this, someone else's project.
When the set has been actively broken by the manufacturer, surely you aren't obliged to lift a finger to fix it yourself?
So, you phone customer "support", they tell you to bring it in (many miles away), you insist on a home visit, they say "no". Can you then go to your Credit card on the grounds that the device is no longer functional?
As far as I know there's no precedent yet set in court.
I wish someone would sue Sammie (and others) to get a precedent set, however all the manufacturers would cr*p themselves and likely offer almost any settlement if you were willing to hold on till the morning of the actual court case.
A friend sued sammie a few years back over the way they turned the P6800 Tablet into abandoneware when he'd spent almost two grand (this was in the very early days of a decent Android tab) buying one for himelf, his wife and eldest son.
He sued for the full amount, time costs, an independent engineer report and eight percent interest, I think the complete total came to about £3500.
Sammies lawyers made various offers and filed silly defences, however he just hung on in there and wouldn't settle. When eventually, after about 20 months (sammie had got numerous adjournments), it was due to be heard in court he arrived with his files and paperwork and the lawyers made an offer for the full amount plus costs on the steps of the court so the action would be withdrawn and not heard....so no precedent.
Big firms keep lawyers on retainer just to grind people down.
I also have a Samsung "smart" TV. I bought it around 5 years ago, right around the time that the "smart" part was becoming the default. If there had been a cheaper TV with the same picture quality without the "smart" thing I would have bought that, but nowadays they tend to be cheaper.
Never plugged the network cable in, so I don't get any pushy "update" messages. As such, the TV does what it's supposed to do. Only minor annoyance is the fact that it takes quite long to start up, you can see the samsung logo on it (so the screen is ready) but it is probably trying to phone home - failing every time - and waiting for some response from their puppet masters.
I've a Sony KDL - 40W600E smart TV. The damm thing takes 7 watts on standby and about 45 watts when running. This works out at over 60KWH/year when it isn't doing anything useful for me! I only use it as a monitor on my laptop anyway.
The only time I notice the so called smart features is when it decides to update itself and refuses to let me actually use it during this time. It could at least have updated itself during the standby period. The TV is a pile of junk and I wish I'd never bought it.
 I now have it on a remote power switch which takes 0.2 watts and saves me from looking for the TV remote control as well as the lighting control.
Quote: DON'T BUY SMART APPLIANCES!
You wont have a choice soon as they'll be needed to talk to your new spiffy smart electric meter... so they can shut you down if you :
A forget to pay the bill (somewhat likely)
B. they forgot to build enough power stations(very likely)
Besides if they can see the TV is'nt on, they know you could be doing something subversive ......
like writing an illegal journal in the one spot the televisor cant see..........
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
...and so on...
(...and yes, "choice" being the operative word" here...)
I've long thought that for all sorts of reasons, TVs that are anything more than a "dumb" display, just aren't a good idea at all. We have three in the house, and none of them do much more than show output from what you physically plug into the things.
I learned the hard way about the "obsolescence" issue, from our Sony Blu-ray player (bought 2010). We used it for networked video for a while (iPlayer, Amazon, DLNA, YouTube), until by 2015 none of the services we wanted remained on the player. We still use the Sony, but only for discs - network-video duties are now handled by Roku and Chromecast streamers, which we can ditch and replace in a few years as/when their makers abandon support for the things.
Problem is, of course: if you want a snazzy 60" curved-screen OLED idiot-lantern, you CAN'T get a "dumb" one - AFAIK, they *all* come with the "smart" gubbins loaded on. So much for "sustainability"... here's hoping we can soldier on with the 2010-vintage LG "thick-screen" in the lounge, for a few more years...
My last CRT TV had a couple of over the air updates, but the first few involved an engineer visiting and installing them. Then I received a car with it on, then they managed over the air.
Changes to specification of UK DVB-T broadcasts in early days
$2300 80" Vizio can't find the DNS server half the time on a hard network connection.
~$60 Apple Series 4 TV box? Since it was released, never once a problem.
It's Android. Have low expectations and you won't be left with a $2,300 brick hanging on the wall that requires two people and a rental truck to move.
Unfortunately IoT tat will start to breed and multiply like wascally wabbits, and take over world+dog+outhouse space, all in the name of convenience.
This is Skynet's new master plan.
Once all IoT tat have taken over a lot of space, they all will be bricked, throwing everybody who's relying on IoT tat into confusion, panic and chaos.
Then the Terminators will come.
The wrong amount sucks. Can't see a single reason why a TV needs to do anything other than recognize different sources and allow switching among them. Even the receiver (for those relatively few in the US, at least) could be a separate component. And no excuse for internet connectivity whatsoever — except the delivery of patches that kill the display.
Well, I just connected our caravan TV set to WiFi for the first time (partly because the manual didn't say there was WiFi built in).
Checked out the very slow web browser using wireless keyboard and mouse. Chrome browser said it was out of date so I did a manual update of the TV software.
It is working fine, Chrome doesn't complain any more, and I can watch catch up TV on iPlayer.
There is no (obvious) camera although one of the USB ports says "camera" so I doubt that anyone is storing up spy videos of me lying in bed.
So I am not covinced that the world will end because I occasionally connect my TV to the Internet.
I do note that for a full HD TV with a modern processor and OS it performs very badly compared to my two Android tablets.
"So I am not covinced that the world will end because I occasionally connect my TV to the Internet."
What are the odds that a bad update has come out and not been discovered as being bad, just as you occasionally connect? Not high. That's why you strategy is much better than constantly looking for the latest.
Having always brought Sony in the past, last Christmas I decided to go for a nice new Samsung Smart TV, a decent model too not the cheap rubbish sets they churn out for Black Friday sales etc.
Worst technology purchase of my life.
In terms of picture quality it's great, but the design of the UI and general stability of the software is appalling. It's always hanging, popping up useless messages with no option of "don't tell me again" or crashing apps. I can't say I've noticed this recent update make it any worse it's always been sluggish and unreliable.
Never again, next refresh I'm back to Sony. Probably my last ever Samsung purchase. I have had Samsung phones in the past and also have a microwave and washer/dryer. All of their devices have the same issue. Technically very good but let down by a poor user experience (ultimately bad software).
"Don't install firmware updates and miss out on security patches. Do install updates, and get a bricked telly."
Something is wrong when a TV is vulnerable to internet viruses etc.
Luckily my older Sony LCD TV has no internet connection whatsoever. I have small boxes for that, and I'll keep it like that even when I get a new TV (just won't tell the TV how to connect to my network). Annoyingly the new TVs still only have 3 HDMI inputs (like my ancient Sony), which makes it more tempting to enable some of the built in stuff. I'll get an external switch instead.
Its not just Samsung , An LG software update just a few weeks ago has ruined my brand new 49UH610V TV. The picture has become fuzzy on all channels and the colours dull/hazzy. The Software(firmware) update version 5.30.01 , you can avoid it if your TV is connected ot the internet. everytime you switch on the TV, it asks for the update.
Lg customer services is just reading out of the book answers and not addressing or acknowledging the botched up software update. The UltraK TV screen now looks like an ancient LCD screen from 10 years ago.
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