back to article In tribute to Galaxy Note 7, BBC iPlayer support goes up in flames for some Samsung TVs

Owners of some Samsung smart TVs are finding themselves suddenly unable to watch BBC iPlayer on their gear. It's not entirely clear what's caused the tellies to suddenly crap out with the British broadcaster's online stream service. Though, we note, it is potentially fixable in software. On Monday, Samsung UK's support page …

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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Sorry but...

    the software on my Samsung TV is a total POS so to me this is not expected. I bought it in 2016 and it was fine for 3 months. Then an update messed it up totally.

    My so called 'smart' TV is now a totally dumb tv and everything that is shown on its screen comes via one of the HDMI inputs (PVR or Laptop).

    In hindsight, bundling all this functionality inside a TV without a way of updating the hardware is a mistake. It is doomed to gradually fail over time as services like I-Player are unable to work on what in many ways is ancient hardware. TV's are going to be replaced less frequently than phones so why put in services that are going to be obsolete in 1-2 years.

    Oh yes, Marketing. having all those services means more sales to unsuspecting people than a similar model.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Sorry but...

      That's why we did not buy a "smart" TV when the old one broke... dunno, maybe 2015? It has always been a really stupid idea with no real benefit. I would also never connect my fridge to the Internet (or buy a web-connectable fridge in the first place)

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Sorry but...

      Samsung does indeed have a poor history of software management, but you'll face the same problem with any embedded device, such as a PVR. For example, the "smart" software on my 2011 Philips still largely works but the same can't be said of the Blu-Ray player I bought a couple of years later.

      And connecting a laptop is hardly an ideal replacament. Fortunately, screen-sharing from a phone generally works very well: via wifi or USB and something that Samsung does generally get right.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Sorry but...

        Yes but the 'external box' doesn't have to be expensive... a fire TV box, or a small media computer, heck - even a cheap tablet with an HDMI output...

        That's relatively easy to replace.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Sorry but...

          Right, but that means you have get off your arse (OK not with OBMC and I have one here) to control it and you are somewhat dependent upon the developers. Whereas Miracast "just works" assuming the phone supports it. And it's not Channel 4.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sorry but...

            Right, but that means you have get off your arse (OK not with OBMC and I have one here) to control it and you are somewhat dependent upon the developers. Whereas Miracast "just works" assuming the phone supports it. And it's not Channel 4.

            If you don't want to get off your sofa, just get an exterior set with a remote or get a bluetooth keyboard/mouse for a laptop.

            Although Miracast is different from exterior set, they are the same under your use case and concern. I'm sure you already know that

            1) Software that came with the TV is "dependent upon the developers"

            2) Software in the exterior set is also "dependent upon the developers"

            3) Proprietor software you use with the laptop is also "dependent upon the developers" (open-source and your configuration can alter that a bit)

            4) Software in the hardware stick you plug into the TV for Miracast "just works" is also "dependent upon the developers"

            5) Item 1-4 are all just different types of computing device

            1. Peter X

              Re: Sorry but...

              Channel 4

              Lol @channel4. Any time I think I might watch something on 4OD (or whatever it's called now), it complains because it requires Adobe Flash.

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Sorry but...

          Our SMART TV keeps losing the time & breaks YouTube app.

          Rather than keep dicking around with a laptop connected I acquired a HP thin client, bumped up the memory to 8Gb, add a SSD, threw in a Broadcom HD decoder (That were popular in Netbooks) & installed Windows 10 (Added a small fan to help with airflow as it was starting to complain once after a marathon 6 hour TV binge) & hooked up via a DVI - HDMI adaptor.

          Sprayed the case black so it looks nice & not attract the wrath of SWMO. Uses existing Wireless KB\ Trackpad & a mouse.

          Runs quite nicely - Total outlay for the project about $63 CAD.

        3. Chris Evans

          Re: Sorry but...

          Sometimes the facility is not easy to replace. If the wall mounted TV in our breakfast room stops working with the built in iPlayer, etc. we have limited options as we don't want any trailing wires. A FireTV stick doesn't quite offer what we want. Anyone know of a good site that compares the FireTV and its rivals? (For use in the UK)

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Sorry but...

        Not arguing with the software management comment but they do (did?) reasonable customer support if you've registered the box. Way back in 2010 I bought a sammy smart TV and about 2 years later a letter drops throught the door saying it was binned from software support and here's a voucher code for a free sammy 6500 set-top box from big-river-co. (that box died in 2016, the TV is still working)

        My current 6500 box was showing an "Iplayer will stop working on this device on Dec 6" message all the way through November and as it's still working this morning i'm guessing the s/w updated itself.

        I'll be moving to a PI or similar when it eventually dies.

      3. Persona Silver badge

        Re: Sorry but...

        "you'll face the same problem with any embedded device, such as a PVR"

        That's one of the key advantages of YouView. There are two million YouView boxes with all of them running the same core software. As such it's the least likely of any to drop out of support.

        1. tin 2

          Re: Sorry but...

          yeah but then they could change that core software dramatically and make it an absolutely horrible POS to use....

    3. AndyMulhearn

      Re: Sorry but...

      It;'s not just Samsung though. I have a Panasonic TV that is less than five years old and has not seen any kind of software upgrade for any of the built in apps - Netflix, iPlayer, whatever - in that time. We now have an Apple TV which gets updates to all of the required apps regularly...

      In software terms. most of these TVs strike me as being like old landfill Android phones, shipped with a version of software and then never updated.

      Ooops, should have read more before replying, the discussion of alternative poorly supported TVs starts further down.

    4. tony72

      Re: Sorry but...

      I have to say, of the four ways I have of watching iPlayer on my TV - Samsung app, Virgin Tivo box app, HTPC, or cast from phone - the Samsung app is the slickest, and the Samsung UI seems quite slick in general to me. But I haven't owned this TV long enough to comment on things like updates and such. I had no real interest in the"smart" features of the TV when I bought it, but you can't really avoid them these days.

    5. Andy 97

      Re: Sorry but...

      Running Wireshark while your Samsung television is booting is highly enlightening too.

      Much simpler to disconnect IP from the set and buy any HDMI devices (or better still) build one from a late model Raspberry Pi.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    I'm not sure why the BBC would announce a Samsungoclypse

    Instead of calmly telling people how to turn on updates and perhaps pinning a video in iPlayer which shows people how to do this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm not sure why the BBC would announce a Samsungoclypse

      BBC? Does that still exist?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I'm not sure why the BBC would announce a Samsungoclypse

        Are you saying you've missed all the arguments over whether the BBC has a left- or right-wing bias?

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: BBC? Does that still exist?

        now now Boris. We'll have none of that Politicking here thank you very much.

        To all Politicians [see Icon]

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I'm not sure why the BBC would announce a Samsungoclypse

      An iPlayer video they cant watch on their telly? :p

  3. Giles C

    This has always been a problem with the smart tv. At any moment a new requirement (feature) could render it dumb.

    My tv (Panasonic) is smart but if that fails then the PVR, Blu-ray player or Apple TV can take over those functions if required, any of which are easier than replacing a perfectly good display.

    Incidentally if Panasonic’s servers go down you can’t use any of the smart features on the set.....

  4. Oh Homer
    Linux

    DIY

    Save yourself a lot of money and hassle, use any old "dumb" TV, get a Raspberry Pi and install either Android and/or OSMC.

    Not only is your TV now "smart", but it'll stay that way forever, and actually get "smarter" with updates which, unlike standard consumer gear with planned obsolescence kill switches, will continue to be supported.

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      ..."get a Raspberry Pi"...

      ...Is the correct answer. However a small word of caution, the current top-of-the-line model the RPi 4B has some software issues. These will be ironed out in due course I've no doubt, so get one anyway and be prepared for a some issues with high resolution H265. Handbrake is your friend.

    2. Jon Smit

      Re: DIY

      Pray tell the masses how this works? We ain't all nerds.

      1. Jim 48

        Re: DIY

        For the 99% of the population who aren't going to be farting around setting up a tiny computer the actual real answer is to get a Roku/FireStick/Apple TV/whatever all -in-one media device floats your boat.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: DIY

          For the people who are willing and able to hack around, get_iplayer is a better bet while it continues to work and until Boris abolishes the licence fee - and at least you can keep what you watch in anticipation of that eventuality. The iPlayer alternatives for Kodi and the like are sub-functional, to put it kindly.

          Regrettably, none of the alternatives is terribly attractive unless you are a hacker. Most Android TV boxes are awful, Apple TV is a ridiculous price if you just want to run a few streaming apps and I can't bear even to look at the default Amazon interface that screams "buy this, moron" at you constantly. You can lobotomise the Fire Stick with a replacement launcher and access to the Google Play store at which point it is more acceptable, but it's not something many will be prepared to do.

          This isn't the first time the BBC has dropped products - I have a Sony Blu-Ray player that was abanoned about 6 months after I bought it. The BBC also don't seem to offer any actual support for iPlayer - it didn't work on a TV I had which was supposedly compatible, but they just referred me back to the manufacturer who denied any responsibility too. After several weeks of pestering, the BBC finally admitted they knew exactly what I needed to do to rectify the problem but they clearly hadn'tt wanted to set a precedent by actually telling me. Compare that with the care taken over the years to ensure that all those new TV features like colour, teletext and stereo sound were compatible with all the existing TV sets out there. Everyone advertises and sells products on the back of these "features", so how come it's not anyone's responsibility to make them work?

          1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
            Coat

            Vice versa

            Not only compatible but reverse compatible. You could still show monochrome video on a colour TV because the PAL, NTSC, SECAM standards were properly designed. Mono sound didn't stop working when NICAM was introduced as the mono sound carrier was still used.

            The rot set in when they changed the DVB-T modulation parameters in use in the UK, which meant that the original STBs (which had hard coded parameters) could not pick up the new signals.

            That's OK, most of those boxes aren't in use. Let them buy new stuff!

            There has always been a sort of symbiotic relationship between broadcasters and manufacturers. As sales declined due to market saturation new gimmicks were invented. People who wanted these features (colour, teletext, stereo, whatever) had to buy new equipment, giving a fillip to sales.

            The key point, though, is that all the old stuff didn't stop working overnight.

            (Unless you were unlucky enough to have a Baird mechanical TV when the Beeb finally settled on the 405-line system. That didn't matter 'cos they were only soaking the rich!)

            Icon - emptying other folks' wallets.

            1. TWB

              Re: Vice versa

              Analogue signal specs were relatively straightforward as they were designed so that the receiving kit could be cheap and simple.

              Digital TV specs are far more complex and have loads of possible variations/options/choices - the MPEG2 spec I believe is over 800 pages and allows for improvements in coding when the technology comes along.

              Sadly everyone - the online streamers and the broadcasters - are now in a race to keep 'improving stuff' and come out with new stuff - even though to many viewers they cannot tell the difference and really they'd just like to watch TV.

              1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Vice versa

                Only half right. Analogue specs were as complex as they had to be to make the receiving equipment simple and as inexpensive as possible.

                The horrible mess known as serrated synchs allowed your line and field detectors to be based on not much more than a resistor and a capacitor.

                If you looked very closely at a Grade 1 monochrome TV monitor displaying a colour image you could see the dots corresponding to peaks and troughs of the colour subcarrier. The frequency of the subcarrier was chosen very precisely to avoid moire/fringing effects on monochrome displays. It also had to "sit between" the frequency components of line frequency so that it could be stripped out with a comb filter. (Not that cheap tellies ever used anything that complex, usually LPFed everything below 4MHz.)

                4.43361875 MHz is not a "straightforward" choice!

                I'm not saying digital systems are not more complex. For one thing, they have to be able to cope with all the foibles of the legacy, analogue content they have to carry.

                The punters are now treated with disdain. Any technical problem can be solved by obsoleting their old kit and flogging them new stuff. This is a choice, not an essential feature of digital TV.

          2. andy gibson

            Re: DIY

            "Most Android TV boxes are awful"

            They aren't. There have been some brilliant ones over the years, the M8S+, the TZ95, the Mi Box S, all supporting the many free TV and movie APKs or your preferred IPTV of choice.

        2. Gomez Adams

          Re: DIY

          I use a Chromecast dongle for all my Smart-TV-itiy controlled from my Android tablet.

          1. TheOriginalStorm

            Re: DIY

            This. Stress-less VOD using channel apps and a chromecast. Very cheap too.

        3. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: DIY

          "For the 99% of the population who aren't going to be farting around setting up a tiny computer the actual real answer is to..."

          ...set up a different tiny computer.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: DIY

          And watch it follow the same fate as soon as $Vendor can't be arsed to support $Version any more.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: DIY

          For the 99% of the population who aren't going to be farting around setting up a tiny computer the actual real answer is to get a Roku/FireStick/Apple TV/whatever all -in-one media device floats your boat.

          For the 99% of the population who aren't going to be farting around, should be running away from the 1% who are farting. Because it still stink even after they got their media device...

          My coat is behind the stool.

        6. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: DIY

          Pretty much all our living room watching is done on a PS4, but that's a bit of a pricey option for most people. As far as I know though, the last generation of consoles still do just fine, and they're pretty cheap second hand.

        7. Andrew Wilson

          Re: DIY

          To be fair to Amazon, when they withdrew support for the Sony smart TV in our bedroom they emailed and gave me a very deep discount code for a Fire TV stick. Which as they were the last non-niche service it supported was awfully good of them and it gave us back iPlayer support that had expired two years prior...

      2. Oh Homer
        Headmaster

        Re: We ain't all nerds

        No, only about 25 million of us.

        The whole point of getting a RPi or similar, instead of yet another proprietary black box, is that you can be guaranteed to self-support it, and thus continue to actually use it, in theory forever, without having to worry about some third party remotely disabling your legally purchased property by "ending support".

        Of course, I sadly accept that not everyone cares about such trivia as personal freedom and property rights. There's not much I can do to help people who don't want to be helped, who'd rather submit themselves to serfdom than suffer the minor inconvenience of not being terminally lazy.

      3. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        " how this works? "

        Get the official[1] RPi starter kit off Pimoroni or Pi Hut. Get at remote keyboard/track pad gadget[2]. Connect to a spare HDMI socket. Boot off the NOOBS micro SD card. Install Raspbian. Restart into the Raspbian desktop environment (It's more-or-less like Windows XP, but the task bar is at the top). Install the updates. If you get a blank or confused screen add the line "hdmi_safe=1" to config.txt in the root directory of the micro SD card. You'll have to do that on a computer.

        [1] The official stuff is less trouble prone.

        [2] I got one of these: https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Keyboard-Touchpad-Rechargable-Portable/dp/B07DKH911B

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: " how this works? "

          My brother's got a Logitech K400 wireless keyboard+trackpad, and that works really well. It looks like there's quite a few different models out there though (although no left handed models that I've seen).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DIY

      "Save yourself a lot of money and hassle, use any old "dumb" TV"

      The number of "dumb TV's" available for purchase [in the UK] are dwindling to zero, especially if you want one with a "nicer" panel, and monitors the size of a TV generally cost more than a "smart" TV, so no, it's not going to be cheaper to DIY one. Personally, I have a "smart TV", but I have literally never used any of the "smart" functioanlity...

      1. Oh Homer
        Headmaster

        Re: Non-smart TVs dwindling to zero

        What I really meant was "any TV".

        Just don't rely on whatever "smart" features are temporarily available, since clearly in today's market those feature are in fact only temporary. Augment it with something that is actually under your control.

        Of course, the BBC itself is not under your control (the fact that it just arbitrarily ended service for a large segment of its viewers, without even any consultation, proves that beyond all doubt), and it could theoretically just kill the iPlayer service entirely, at which point all the DIY solutions in the world won't help you. But at least you'd be left with equipment you could reconfigure to use alternative services, since presumably there will always be some alternative.

        With a proprietary black box, you won't have that option, you'll just have a very expensive paperweight.

        This is more than just a practical consideration, it's a point of principle, and one with the power to affect positive change. If the majority of consumers vote with their wallet and make it clear that they're no longer prepared to have their legally purchased property remotely deactivated, manufacturers will have no choice but to cede to their demands, or go out of business.

        In practical terms that means open hardware running open source software, and without any "Tivoization" to block your access to that otherwise open source software.

        And not just for TVs, either. I mean everything, from consumer electronics to cars. If it uses software, for any purpose, then it must by right be fully modifiable by the legal owner of that hardware, and that right needs to be protected by law. Anything less is a violation of real property rights, specifically a tortious interference by the abomination known as "intellectual property".

        How realistic it is to expect the great unwashed to actually care about such things is another matter, but the principle is incontrovertible.

    4. Imhotep

      Re: DIY

      This article was my excuse to finally order one, even though I'm happy with our Roku. It'll be something to play with in retirement when the weatber is crap.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Once again, you paid for something but now someone else decides for you

    All this "smart" and "connected" hoopla is cesspool of failure waiting to happen and, when (not if) it does, invariably it's the consumer that is left high and dry.

    I am boycotting anything with "smart" in the name. I intend to be able to use my stuff for the long run.

  6. David Gosnell

    Possible licensing error

    As one affected, been keeping close track of this over the last 24 hours. One recurring theme from those chatting with Samsung seems to allude to a possibly expired licensing agreement. Also suggestion of a working patch in 3 to 4 days, in which regard Samsung were rather unhelpful publishing a new support page that (for now) basically echoed the useless advice message on iPlayer itself. But at least Samsung are on the case.

    1. Stephen Wilkinson

      Re: Possible licensing error

      Mine is one of those affected too and following the upgrade instructions hasn't made any difference.

      As I'm always using iPlayer, it's rather annoying :(

  7. Swordfish1

    My Samsung 3D TV seems to be working all right.

    Yes there's a nag screen before the update and after the update, but my iPlayer stull works

  8. Bonzo_red
    WTF?

    Samsung tablets affected?

    I had downloaded a programme from iPlayer to watch on a flight the other day. Sitting in the plane all I got was a message saying that iPlayer was not available but back home with the wifi back on all was fine. Have the guys at the Beeb included a requirement for a connection to watch downloaded programmes?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Samsung tablets affected?

      A couple of apps (Google assistant specifically, Spotify also) seem to either

      a) Fail to tell you they are not connected to the internet for specific needed tasks "I cannot do that/you don't have that/that service never existed", instead of "connection down, try again later/reconnect". Stupid, stupid programming IMO. (I experience this in Google Assistant when network signal is low/poor)

      b) Fail to reconnect from a sleep/shutdown (seems Spotify does this for me, perhaps iPlayer does it for you?) and thus gets stuck, needs a app or network (wifi/etc) reset to start working again.

      Maybe we just don't have any more ip addresses. LOL.

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Samsung tablets affected?

      You have to have an internet connection to watch. The "download" function just lets you avoid caching.

  9. 0laf Silver badge
    Alert

    Sounds about normal for a 'smart' device. Sell it with as many 'features' as possible then abandon it to die slowly in the wilderness. Sell new 'smart' device...

  10. Pangasinan Philippines

    TV of the future

    It will be a display panel of resolution (HD, 4K, 8K, or whatever in the future).

    PSU box and connections for USB ethernet HDMI (and future), and wireless.

    No speakers.

    Sound will be external devices.

    I have followed TV development from 405 line B/W (vhf) 625 line (BBC2 only) B/W

    Early colour hybrid (band changer) TV with Teletext, all transistor boards with preheated CRT,

    Quick-start CRT sets with wide deflection angle. Wide screen CRT SD, then HD.

    Followed by plasma displays and flat screen LCD (side illuminated)

    Every update was a marketing/sales division dream.

    I saw the future when we had Freeview/Freesat or cable boxes and the TV tuner was never used and the sound came out of my speaker cabinets (vintage 1976).

    That was before built-in digital tuners. Just don't mention digital antennas (antennae).

    1. Tony W

      Re: TV of the future

      The TVOTF will be firmly locked down to make sure you can't show anything unless you're individually identified and/or have paid for it.

      Your eyeballs will be tracked to make sure you actually watch the ads.

      It will stop working one month after the guarantee runs out and be unrepairable.

      None of this will matter much because there won't be anything on that you want to watch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: None of this will matter much because there won't be anything on that you want to watch.

        it won't matter ther's nothing on it that you want to watch, because you'll be "incentivized" to watch (want some FREE! HEALTH! SERVICE! EXTENDED! 3-MONTH! SUBSCRIPTION?!), if not plain forced to. For your own good, they'll say.

  11. Al fazed
    Mushroom

    TV, TV, TV, ???

    I was under the impression that TV watching was a thing of the past anyways, since the birth of the Internet. Think I read this in an article in the Reg recently.

    So BBC have adopted Microsofts attitude to their customers, "we don't give a fuck, this is what we are doing, and this is what you are getting, and it probably won't work for everyone, yeah !" Or did that sound like Apple ? Oracle ? ISOC ?

    I wouldn't mind if the BBC programs were any good anyway.

    I believe they have shot their load after David Attenborough, Top Gear etc jumped ship.

    Even my 90 year old mum reckons that "War of the Worlds" was the worst period drama she's ever seen.

    Now if we really had Smart TVs we could set it to block the BBC .........

    Does anything work anymore ? Is anything worth paying for ? Plastic shite anyway.

    ALF

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: TV, TV, TV, ???

      So its now the BBC's responsibility to be backwardly compatible with the 1000's of TV SKU's produced in the last 10 years?

      I dont think so. Let the update costs come out of the Globo-mega corps not my licence fee.

      Have a bag of fail sir!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: TV, TV, TV, ???

      > I was under the impression that TV watching was a thing of the past anyways

      When people say this I always wonder what they are watching and on what. "I watch Netflix" is what they usually say, which basically means they whats all the reject stuff nobody has ever heard of, a few A rated movies that will be there for a short while (hope you find them before they go), some pretty decent Netflix own stuff that is generally bingeable way too much so you end up watching the entirety of the decent content within a few weeks leaving you to sit there watching your way through Deep Space 9 again till they have a new series of Rick and Morty.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The Beeb broke iPlayer for radio some time ago so I'm not surprised. They're great believers in "If it ain't broke, fix it.".

    1. Macha Morrigan

      Surely "If it ain't broke, break it"?+

    2. Mint Sauce
      Angel

      ITYM: "If it ain't broke, fix it until it is..."

    3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      There is one thing I want from iplayer on my TV. Surround sound.

      The BBC broadcast surround on their HD cannels so why does the iplayer version have only stereo?

      Netflix and Prime video have no issue supplying surround sound via my 2012 TV.

  13. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    So iPlayer doesn't work on Samsung TVs. Yet they still don't support subtitles on Apple TV boxes.

    I know, most people don't care about subtitles and think they're only for deaf people. Well, try watching anything where a doorbell rings and you've got two very barky dogs. That will give you ear damage right away...

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Subtitles

      Also useful for following dialogue in too many "trendy" programmes where the characters mumble incoherently over backing music that is a little too loud.

      A person with hearing shouldn't have to read on screen words to understand what's going on in their own language. Great production values...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the naughty Beeb?

    While I agree with all the comments about the stupidity of smart TVs, and have a dumb TV with a PVR and a Fire TV plugged into it, I'm surprised nobody's pointed out the other guilty party in this debacle.

    Namely, it's the BBC that have broken this, not Samsung. People with Samsung TVs that used to work but no longer do. Why? Because the BBC changed something in their software. It's the BBC's fault this problem occurred IMHO. They should keep existing customers working.

    I have a similar problem with Amazon music. Apparently as of so recently that their support people don't understand the problem, I can no longer download music I have bought. To do so I am required to use the Amazon music app, and they don't support that for my operating system (linux). There no longer appears to be a direct download option. I've paid for something that I can no longer access. I imagine I feel pretty much the same as people who bought one of these Samsung TVs.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: What about the naughty Beeb?

      Exactly! The core function of iPlayer is streaming TV programmes, and that hasn't changed, so there's no need for an update.

      No doubt the BBC has been applying "improvements" to iPlayer's functionality, taking advantage of some shiny feature of recent TVs. Like amateur software developers everywhere, they've been so fixated with new features they forgot about backwards compatibility, disastrous when you're developing for millions of home devices.

      A few months ago I kept finding that when I selected a programme to view, iPlayer seemed to show me a completely unrelated programme, so I went back to the menu and tried again. Turned out that some genius at the BBC had decided that we should all see a trailer before we watch the programme we actually asked for. Sod new features.

      My experience is that iPlayer crashes rather more frequently than other streaming services. Why doesn't the BBC fix that?

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: What about the naughty Beeb?

      > I've paid for something that I can no longer access.

      I remember a bunch of Sonos users having the wonderful experience of waking up to find that their expensive speakers were now useless because the Sonos app was no longer able to run on modern idevices and Sonos were not going to offer a fix (which was to simply compile a 64 bit version of the app).

      The Sonos solutions given to the customers:

      1. Get rid of the old speakers and buy new ones you luddites.

      2. Dont update your phone or ipad.

      3. Go on ebay and by an old idevice that is old enough and use that for Sonos.

      4. Swicth to Android.

      The reason it happened?

      " The app was developed by a third party who have disappeared off the face of the earth taking all the source code with them. We dont have the source, never did and thus can never offer support for the entire range of affected hardware. Buy new speakers."

  15. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Ugh!!!

    Exactly the reason I dropped Panasonic kit. I used to be a fan of their Viera range but dumped them for good when they internally baulked their software so no smart functions would work at all, and when I complained their "customer service" team tried to blame my internet connection as being faulty.

    Not that I actually bother with the BBC these days, so can't comment on iPlayer as I refuse to pay the TV tax or allow the TV to connect to the network. I do have Eurosport player though and Netflix which work quite happily via a locked down Android TV box and the Playstation.

  16. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
    Flame

    Monopoly Abuse

    I've said it before (e.g. here) and I'll say it again. This is the BBC's fault. They should be supplying contents, and leaving it to the market (and healthy competition) to develop and support viewers.

    The iplayer is a blatant abuse of monopoly powers and the BBC's privileged funding model. How do they get away with it?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unspecified "technical requirements."

    oh well, not that I ever let my "smart" samsung telly smarten up. It's as dumb as it was. As to iplayer, well, torrent client + usb stick do what iplayer won't.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

    Do you really still trust the BBC?

    They still pretend that the "Sunday" Strictly results show isn't recorded on Saturday night in order to try to fiddle the viewing figures, going so far as to get Claudia, Twice and the judges to change their clothes to make it look it's "live".

    Do you trust them with anything technical?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Do you really still trust the BBC?

      "to make it look it's "live""

      Isn't it a bit of a giveaway when they have sound bites from the various people at the end... when they're supposed to be on the dance floor hugging and crying?

      I don't watch it, just happens to be what was on before His Dark Materials.

  19. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Why does the BBC need to change something on their side which breaks iPlayer support on these TVs?

    They dropped the flash version of iPlayer ages ago and so all the videos are un-DRM'd H264 steams, even if the Samsung TVs app was a bit buggy and didn't support all the features of the new Iplayer apps for Android/IOS etc it should still allow basic functionality.

    I am just putting it out there get-iplayer ;)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In defence of the Beeb

    I used to work in this industry and can tell you that the BBC do not "deliberately" break anything like this. In fact, most people in the industry actually try to keep things working (surprising though that may sound)

    The code that makes stuff like iPlayer work is quite demanding, particularly when you consider the hardware it's running on. ITV player has the added complexity of adverts and the bonkersly-complex encryption mechanism that they seem to insist on for no reason that I can comprehend (who ever bothered pirating Coronation Street? No? Thought not - it's just a trumped-up mis-placed idea of their own self-worth). Anyway, if you couple that with the fact that telly manufacturers are trying to make their stuff as cheaply as they can get away with (which usually equates to smaller, slower processors and less hardware resources), it really doesn't take much to break the system.

    I can't say for certain, because I don't know, but my guess would be that the BBC want to do something new with iPlayer (add a new feature, fix some issues, I don't know), and that new feature requires some particular resource or resources that the Samsung telly can't provide. It may be that the problem is actually a bug in the Samsung TV that the BBC has been willing to work-around until now, but for whatever reason they can't continue to do so.

    The fact that Samsung are able to issue a software fix suggests it's not an insurmountable problem (yet / until the next time). But, of course, manufacturers don't like going back to fix old products - it costs a lot of money to do so and (probably more importantly) diverts their people away from working on the current products (which can then make them late, etc etc).

    It's crap for the consumer; yes. It's bad PR for Samsung and BBC; yep. It's life, I'm afraid.

    Down-vote as you see fit.

    1. Andy 97

      Re: In defence of the Beeb

      You said nothing illogical.

      Firesticks were on sale a week ago for £19, even with the terrible UI, they are better than ANY (so called) SMATV interface and they can even be side-loaded with more useful APK's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In defence of the Beeb

        I'm not actually a fan of the whole "smart TV" thing - in my opinion, the last telly I worked on was ludicrously complex because of all the "smart" features in it that nobody ever uses; I can't even remember what any of them were now. I don't really consider iPlayer in this catagory though; it's a very handy feature and unlike the other "smart" stuff, it actually gets used.

        As for "firesticks" - that's Amazon isn't it? I'm sure it's wonderful. The next time my mother-in-law has a problem with her telly or her internet, I'll suggest to her she get a Firestick. Oh, and an Amazon subscription. And I'll tell her that if it still doesn't work, not to worry because she can "side load" (I *hate* that phrase, along with the "words" 'foo' and 'bar') it. It's worth a go, just to see the blank look she gives me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In defence of the Beeb

      The BBC have already stated that they are more interested in slurping your data rather than adding new features when they dropped all their radio stations from TuneIn (and by extension most Amazon/HEOS multi-room devices) several months ago:

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/37e4e3f6-fbd2-4c14-8d72-7f7139641582

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/45fa0731-189c-43eb-8e4f-3071b8384895

      The justification that they need your personal data is pathetic given that if you listen on an actual radio in your home or in your car they don't get any feedback either. Oh and the salt in the wound is that they've only blocked these devices for licence payers in the UK and everyone outside of the UK still gets to listen via TuneIn.

      I suspect in this case Samsung have refused to hand over the personal data they hold on iPlayer usage so the BBC are now punishing them to force Samsung to hand over what they want.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dissearing TV apps

    Youtube was unceremoniously removed from our Samsung TV some time last year I think, much to our kids annoyance.

    Was not clear to me at the time whether it was Google's or Samsung's doing.

  22. dch0ar
    Happy

    Chromecast

    Use a Google Chromecast combined with the broadcaster's app on your mobile or tablet to watch the output many TV providers. It costs about £30 and defeats TV obsolescence. All it needs is an HDMI input.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Chromecast

      Does it support surround sound?

  23. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Ironic

    The BBC were quoted, when referring to the imminent demise of the red button service

    "A spokesperson said the service would be stopped in early 2020 as the broadcaster needed to channel resources into “even better internet-based services”.

    Does this mean the BBC are breaking the iPlayer for now but when they get the apprentice person, who currently types stuff into teletext news, transferred across they'll have the resources to fix it again?

  24. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    International right to repair laws are long overdue, in the meantime there's SammyGo:

    https://wiki.samygo.tv/index.php?title=Main_Page

  25. Mmm interesting

    Buy chromecast or similar

    Licensing issues confirmed by Samsung years ago. Licenses purchased in blocks from the BBC and when they release new models they simply stop supporting the old. First in first out. Sacrificed a hdmi port and got a "future proof" chromecast and now just cast from phone. So much faster than using "smart tv" app.

    Samsung's fault not the BBC.

  26. Stuart Moore

    Same happened to my samsung blu ray

    My TV is relatively dumb (has Netflix but nothing else), I got a Samsung blu-ray to give me the smart functionality - a BD-H6500-ZF, bought April 2016. Same thing, they turned off my iPlayer despite me trying software updates. Samsung support said it was the BBCs fault. https://twitter.com/mrstumo/status/1192172108316581888?s=19

    Ended up buying a Roku as the best of a bad bunch. Last time I buy a Samsung

  27. Ian Joyner

    Tribute to Galaxy Note 7

    Where is that in the story? It seems this is bad news about Samsung, maybe BBC does not like Samsung's spyware? But Register seems to try to bury the story in its love affair for this incredibly aggressive Korean Company, 'Sammy'.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teletext

    You could, theoretically at least, have bought a television equipped with Teletext in 1974 and it would still have been fully functional in 2012, with no software, firmware or hardware updates required. That's 'only' Thirty Eight YEARS with forward compatibility.

    Is it really too hard for the beeb to have a formal written and fixed in stone standard for iplayer and keep it usable 'forever' ?

  29. Lee D Silver badge

    Buy dumb TV.

    Buy smart boxes to go into the TV.

    At least then you can change things without having to upgrade / obsolete your TV.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      But I shouldn't have to obsolete the boxes either.

  30. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    Hindsight

    I bought my first house in 2012 and moved in.

    After being pestered to get a TV license the very second I opened the door (not after I acyually moved in several months later) I went to Currys to get a TV.

    I got a LG smart TV. Still works but maybe wont be supported for much longer.

    I wish I could travel back in time and help myself buy that LG 3D TV I REALLY wanted over the smart one but decided to wait a little while because 3D would get cheaper...

    Yes, I like 3D and use it on my other TV often when watching 3D blu-rays, but not on my smart TV that seems to be risking losing its smart marbles any time soon.

  31. ItsMeDammit
    Holmes

    My Samsung smart TV has never worked properly...

    ... but then that's probably because most of the domains it tries to connect to are blocked by my Pi-Hole.

    1. IR

      Re: My Samsung smart TV has never worked properly...

      Mine used to show little ads in the corner of the menu, so I added the ad servers to my router blacklist - now I don't see any. One other good thing is that i can turn off the menu completely in future if all the tv apps get borked and I have to add a smart box.

  32. The Brave Sir Robin

    I'd actually pay extra for a not at all smart TV

    All I want is a nice large screen 4k TV without all the smart crap. Add more HDMI inputs instead.

    Too much abandonware. Seen it with Blu-ray players too.

    Get a dumb TV and just use cheap add-on players such as FireTV etc.Makes far more sense.

  33. TriSuit666

    Samsung have form for putting TV’s on the market with incomplete API functionality, so this is likely the Beeb moving the iPlayer platform to a more DRM footing that the sets affected don’t support (so goodbye get_iplayer). Doesn’t stop me still being angry over the way the iPlayer developers have ballsed up the implementation of UHD functionality, so there’s plenty or ire to smear around here.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Christmas comes early

    Looks like a joint BBC/Samsung xmas gift to Greta Thunberg(not). Creating 1000s of semi obsolete TVs overnight, some of which are only a couple of years old.

    The BBC could choose to not withdraw support. Samsung could choose to update their software in a way that makes it easier for third parties to support their apps. Shame on these orgs for not getting the ecological impact of their short sighted decisions.

  35. parperback parper

    iPlayer still works fine on my 2005 Ferguson FTV21F2, because it uses a Fire TV stick passed through an HDMI to SCART box.

    I don't see why a TV should last any less than 20 years.

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