My secondhand LG smart TV seems ad-free.
But the big advantage of buying secondhand I found is all the activated accounts left on it - been watching free films for 18 months! :-)
A Register reader triggered a kerfuffle for Samsung after asking the electronics biz if he could disable large and intrusive adverts splattered across his new smart TV's programme guide. Ross McKillop bought the telly from UK retailer John Lewis but felt distinctly undersold when he turned it on to find the internet-connected …
Just wait till you are forced to have the next LG WebOS update - I'm sure they will fix that.
And while it may be ad-free for now, you should check your firewall for how much encrypted data it is exchanging with LG servers, which will include your viewing habits. Although at least as a second-hand TV, the tracking cookies are someone else's.
It could be worse - soon they'll be putting cameras in all the telescreens, connected to an AI surveillance system to see if you're really watching, monitor your sentiment, and they'll be always-on, complete with Alexa/Bixby/Google etc..
"A sticky square cut from a Post-It note over the camera lens works great."
....unless they are using the camera as a light sensor. I use two layers of cellotape on my mobe so light gets through but the image would be the same as a whole tub of Vaseline on the lens.
I chucked the TV years ago and certainly wouldn't plug one into the internet. I am putting a TV in the bedroom but it will be fed media from a media box so I can watch things I get online away from the computer.
I abandoned TV completely some years back and since have settled in a lifestyle where it would be an inconvenience anyway. Seems I made the right choice.
P.S. it was possibly accelerated by seeing mum totally addicted to all the soaps.
P.P.S coat because I'd rather go out for a walk.
I've done much the same with the one smart TV in this house. It has access to the LAN so that it can see any local media servers which I may have running.
Not that that's particularly useful since the media which I exported from VDR and which I'm serving via minidlna it doesn't cope with all that well, often dropping audio at any point where I happen to have cut out adverts…
I have two smart TVs, one is connected to a Hotbird receiver so can't communicate anything.
The other is only connected to a terrestrial antenna and really only gets turned on to see the midnight clock on New Years Eve.
I wouldn't touch Samsung with a bargepole, had one of their phones a few years back, full of their pre-loaded rubbish, fortunately it was crushed under some steel we were putting together and I replaced it with a better phone.
I have too, when my left me I happily boxed up the big flatscreen (non smart) I bought her to game on and put it in her car for her.
Apart from finding myself switching it off most evenings despite having all you can eat Virgin Cable at the time I object on Scottish political bases to paying the BBC tax to be serially lied to both by commission and omission.
I tried Netflix online recently but cancelled after finding no time or motivation to watch things. I have too much to do, too much to read both online and off. There aren’t enough hours in the day in fact.
I got rid of my TV when my long term partner left me. I'd come home and stick the TV on, cook my dinner, play some music or radio but with the TV on silent in the background. After a week or so I realised the TV was superfluous so I gave it away - not to her!
The loss of it and her left a gap in my routine that felt painful for weeks but other parts of life expanded to conquer the vacuum.
I worked in a tech company which named it's servers after Star Trek characters, and I didn't know any of the TNG ones so I misspelt my Sisko as Cisco. "Don't you have cable or satellite?" "I don't have TV." "I don't believe you!" "Feel free to visit anytime." "What century is your cottage in?" "Well, it's coal powered but I have radio so maybe 1920s?"
The surprising thing was how hostile people were when I said I didn't have a TV, as if I was falsely claiming that to seem superior. It wasn't that, over the past eight years I've barely moved from the couch and have binge-watched everything I missed in the previous decades. Let me be your TV guru, watching nonsense so you don't have to. There are three tech-influenced programmes worth catching up on - Silicon Valley, Start Up and Mr Robot. But only when you need a break from all that reading and living.
Danny, I'm sorry for the loss of your partner.
I had many 'discussions' with the TV licensing bods who didn't believe I didn't have a telly. I collected all the paperwork, sent it registered post to the then head and said I didn't believe she (I think it was a she?) had paid her taxes correctly, and I would like to come to check. Never heard another word.
"The surprising thing was how hostile people were when I said I didn't have a TV"
I don't know why. Last week I plugged in my satellite receiver for the first time since last Christmas for Doctor Who (but I'm not sure if I'll continue, three episode rule...). I watch that on a computer monitor with a CVBS to VGA gizmo as the TV packed up ages ago.
Otherwise, if I feel like watching something, it's Netflix on a tablet.
Indeed the very idea of sitting down at a specific time to watch something on a specific channel seems rather antiquated. Instead, if I feel like an episode of Cowboy Bebop before bed, I'll just stream it.
Television? Something from my childhood, that...
Opted out of crap TV about 18 years ago, it's been blissful!
Many times people ask with astonished tones "how do you keep up with news?" They admit, though, that I am no less up-to-date on news than they are, then scratch their heads when *they* are stumped about items I ask them about.
The amount of junk and crap I avoid inserting into my mind seems staggering.
A side benefit is restricting the fight with Ads to just computers and smartphones, one less front in the war on crapola!
I like watching TV, not a lot, but enough, enough for me to consider the licence fee worthwhile.
OK this adds up to about 4 hours or so a week. But do like also to watch the news.
I mainly use the TV for PS4.
ITV is pants.
But I do set timers for the decent BCB2 and BBC4 stuff.
"how do you keep up with news?"
With a good curated news site online, it's much faster to do that than watch what the celebrities are up to on the TV news so you don't miss the weather report. I can skim through the headlines very quickly to see if there is anything that might affect me. Even the BBC web site is moderately good for that. Anything really big is going to be front page everywhere. I know I'm old now as I don't recognized half the names of "famous" people anymore. Influencers? wretch. I'd rather watch Mary Berry cooking something tasty.
> information about "your TV viewing history" including "information about the networks, channels, websites visited, and programs viewed on your Samsung Smart TV and the amount of time spent viewing them".
Can you opt out of that stuff? I would have thought you should be able to. If not, are there not implications regarding GDPR?
As for the ads, being able to block them is one thing, but it doesn't mean you'll get the screen real estate back for your own use. :-(
Don't connect it to the internet and you're opted out.
The "smart" features in a TV are useless anyway since they won't keep updating the apps for as long as you have it (unless it is a poor quality product that only lasts a few years) and won't have everything you want so you'll need some sort of set top for streaming anyway.
> having a dumb panel and using something else for the smart bits, which ideally can be user upgraded/repaired/replaced for longevity, is the better way forward.
Of course, your TV watching habits will now be logged and monetized by Roku (or whoever) instead of Samsung.
If you switch your TV to direct-to-air or watch a DVD then they probably can't log that, but it seems that's less and less of how content is consumed today.
Of course, your TV watching habits will now be logged and monetized by Roku (or whoever) instead of Samsung
That gives you a choice though. Own other Apple gear and either trust that they aren't logging and monetizing your viewing habits since they aren't selling third party ads, then Apple TV is for.
Own an Android phone or are so deep into the Google ecosystem that you figure more data can't hurt you at this point, then Android TV is for you.
Already buy everything from TVs to toilet paper at Amazon and figure them knowing what you watch can't screw you any worse, then Fire TV is your choice.
Want something that's not one of the big players so at least your data is spread around, then Roku it is.
More importantly, it gives you control. If Samsung abuses the customer relationship on your TV then you have to lump it, or buy a new TV. If one of the above does the same with your set top it is a much easier/cheaper decision to dump it for a new one.
"TV's that don't start up if they can't phone home..."
My Samsung TV does that. Couple of years old. No more Samsung for me. Shame really, I've bought Samsung monitors and then TV/monitors since the days of the Samsung SyncMaster ten or so years ago.
Whilst you may be correct this is only for a very small subset of customers. The majority of people buying consumer electronics (and increasingly white goods) simply don't give a stuff about the adverts or what information is being sent back, either to the manufacturer or anyone else.
Does anyone seriously believe that all these "Alexa" and "Google Assistant" enables bits of tat are not sending a constant stream of data back home. It is how these companies make money.
So much is wrapped up in the clause "allow diagnostic data to be collected to improve your experience" it is not true.
They wait for some way, any way, to get online (an open hotspot or something, maybe a wardriver), quickly send it up during the open window, and the company can then sell it to advertisers, who are always hungry for demographics.
I suspect the tech will become more and more pervasive, as well as as better and better able to get around such privacy attempts as "covering the camera" (imagine the lens is smack in the middle of the screen--remember new phone tech?), to the point that attempting to preserve your privacy will make you stand out...and draw the attention of MIB.
My mum is a Which subscriber and they raved about Samsung as having great picture quality, sound etc. I said to her that was lovely but I had an issue with them on other points such as spying and advertising etc. I wondered out loud why Which didn't seem to use those.
Yeah, our LG smart TV effectively became a dumb TV a few years back when the the apps (Youtube etc) didn't get updated to work with new protocols. The Sky Q box does all the "smart" functionality now and rendered the Fire TV stick and Chromecast somewhat redundant.
'Not connecting it' is not really an option if, for example, you've bought a UHD device, if all your existing devices, cables etc are not UHD - only by streaming from the apps of the device will you get a UHD source.
However, I've been generally happy with Panasonic screens for the last 10-15 years - they tried ads but they never really went anywhere, I'm glad to say,
But for my eventual next purchase, I *will* be saying that whichever TV is ad-free gets an automatic boost in my considerations. This sh*t needs to stop.
I think you'll find that quality 1080p content upscaled on a quality 4K TV is quite difficult to tell apart from native 4K content. In fact, in the US where some small amount of sports is made available in 4K on certain cable/satellite providers the majority of it is actually produced in 1080p and upscaled. That was made public a year or two AFTER those first 4K broadcasts that the 4K early adopters were raving about.
Anyway, if native 4K content matters to you then you shouldn't object to buying a 4K capable set top, which are available for well under $100. You don't need a special cable, just about any HDMI cable that works for HD will work for 4K and new cables marked "4K" (meaningless marketing) cost almost nothing.
I'm planning to buy an LG OLED at some point - my Panny plasma just keeps working and looking great so I always think "eh, maybe next year" and already decided with the supply chain issues limiting potential holiday/closeout discounts it won't be this year either. I just hope LG doesn't infest their OLEDs with this ad crap when I finally take the plunge!
Can you opt out of that stuff? I would have thought you should be able to. If not, are there not implications regarding GDPR?
I think the best opt-out is the one the reader has chosen. Deny ad spammers access to money. If the Samsung's own ads gloss over this issue, might also be worth reporting them to the ASA for misrepresenting their products and deceiving customers.
Oh.. And pi-holes. Now I'm wondering how hard it'd be to modify it to generate spurious traffic in an attempt to poison & devalue data companies are trying to slurp.
Instead of trying to modify pi-hole it'd be simpler to have it log dropped packets somewhere and then have a simple program randomize the payload and wait a random length of time* before sending on to ad-central.
*traffic analysis of arrival times also generates data useful to them.
If you add a seconds USB-Ethernet adapter to your Pi(Hole) you can also use it as a router/firewall and set up some filter rules to do that, it would be amusing to put a random delay on the packets and replay them randomly, years later in big bunches.
From some simple Wiresharking, seems like a lot of the slurpers encrypt their traffic. It's times like this that I wish I had the patience to code though. Thinking..
PiHole goes to Google's "I feel lucky" link to get a random web page
Filter out the Google request
Visit random web page with source address of TV
Have random timer
Snag is if the slurping is done between TV and slurpers, you'd need to somehow spoof that so it looks like the TV is visiting the sites, not the PiHole.. So it may be simpler to hack the TV and add the randomisation there.
Seems we're living in strange days though if we have to jailbreak a TV just to retain a semblance of privacy.
I think that it is mean not to send the data on to Samsung in a timely fashion.
Instead of letting them pile up on your server, how about, every now and then (Friday at 12:00?) selecting some that look important (use you best judgement) and then email them to Samsung?
Base64, rot13 (after all, they probably think that "their" data needs to be encrypted) and with the urgent flag set, of course. I'm sure a few quick web searches will result in the proper recipient - head of marketing, CEO - bonus points if you can manage to find a "board members" or "all staff" address.
If it's logging anything about me it's 'Always watches HDMI 1' :D
Now Sky probably has a sizeable dossier on me but if it means they and their partners keep churning out stuff I like I don't care. I never watch live TV so I don't care if they target adverts - I never see them anyway :)
"If it's logging anything about me it's 'Always watches HDMI 1'
Don't be so sure. Vizio sets will fingerprint the video that's being displayed to figure out what you're watching. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if they're all doing this now. No internet connection is about the only option left, and how long before the set won't even boot up without connectivity?
On my Youview box, which is connected to my LG Smart TV, if I disconnect the internet connection, it goes really slow, puts up an on-screen error and refuses to load up much of the content, including the EPG (it does eventually, but it's annoying to use). Other than that, it's far superior to my 2020 Smart TV to use
GDPR was designed in a Keynesian way of thinking - that is to create jobs for various agencies helping with "compliance".
GDPR has never had in mind protecting anything. In fact it has made the abuse much easier - now companies get a legal basis for processing the data from users giving consent mindlessly clicking popups, whereas in the past they had no consent so they operated in a gray area.
EU also got their bone too - it's impossible to be fully compliant with this legislation, so they have a tool to close any service in the future that will not be aligned with the EU direction.
Interesting about all those down-votes. Does the EU have their own 50 Cent Army. Or just useful idiots.
All that GDPR has done is balkanized the web almost as effectively as the Great Firewall of China. For the first time since 1993 I now have to fire up a VPN with an end point outside Europe in order to view many website in North America when in Europe. At least half of US local news outlets for example block EU access due to GDPR.
And it seems none of the down-voters are aware of just how the Federal Interior Ministry in Germany has been using GDPR to enforce very intrusive censorship on all online opinion they dont find acceptable. Not the only ones, just the most blatant.
And if you think you have any "rights" under GDPR then look at where the most flagrant abusers of online privacy are EU domiciled. Ireland. Which has a sad joke enforcement record. The agency may now have a small Dublin office but for UK readers would you trust any online regulatory agency that was put in some run down small town in the ars* end of nowhere because it was a big wig cabinet ministers constituency. Just think the quality of people you could recruit to work there. At a fraction of the private sector pay. Total losers.
Because thats how you GDPR "rights" are being "protected". You have none.
Wasn't there a ruling (many moons ago) that MS Windows licence was unenforceable as you had to open the product seal before you read that "opening the seal implies acceptance of the licence"? Isn't this a similar situation - you have to open and install the unit before finding that you are implicitly accepting the terms of data collection? That (in cookie terms) would certainly be illegal as you are not being given the clear option to decide what data can be collected before it is collected.
However that is one of two points here which have been muddled, data collection is one part (not the primary target of the article), the second being advertising on the (in my experience) Freeview EPG. Now, as the EPG is part of the Freeview service which declares itself free to all users, isn't this advert injection unfairly "charging" some users with additional advertising overhead? Interesting to hear Freeview's take on this ... or perhaps they also take a cut ...
However, are UKians still protected by the GDPR?
Yes. The GDPR was implemented in the UK by the 2018 Data Protection act.
If that link still contains two hundred and fifteen main articles and 20 Schedules that are written in a manner contrary to practically every other law on our statue books then yes, the GDPR is still implemented in UK Law.
All other UK laws are written as follows (computer misuse act used as a familiar example):-
"A person is guilty of an offence if— " defines if you committed an offence. Then after this section is "A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—" which explains the possible punishments that can be dished out by both a magistrate dishing out the punishment and a crown court judge.
This meets the requirements under our criminal justice system of "Actus reus" which is such a long standing legal requirement that it's still expressed in Latin which essentially means "committed an offence" and "Mens rea", meaning "Knowingly intended to commit that offence", thereby recognising a legal distinction between malicious and deliberate pre planned crime, and incompetent prats.
It's reasonably clear and comprehensible to anybody who can read English who can follow basic logic.
And then let's look at the GDPR:-
It looks like incomprehensible gibberish by comparison, failing to define what an offence is, what defences are and what the punishment is for said offences. This is possibly the barristers ideal dream, as the prosecution and defence both get to argue with the Judge over what the law should mean, because it doesn't actually clearly define it.
> The GDPR was implemented in the UK by the 2018 Data Protection act.
Wrong! The GDPR is a EU Regulation not a Directive and so it immediately came into effect on 25/05/2018 in all EU member countries (unlike a Directive where each country would have to create a local law to bring it into effect).
The UK DPA 2018 is a separate law in parallel with GDPR, in fact if you look at the link you posted it mentions this in the Introduction section:
"Part 2 supplements the GDPR (see Chapter 2) and applies a broadly equivalent regime to certain types of processing to which the GDPR does not apply (see Chapter 3)."
> the GDPR is still implemented in UK Law.
As part of Brexit the GDPR was replaced by the "UK GDPR" which at present is basically the same law except they basically crossed out everywhere it said "EU" and replaced it with "UK". You can find the red-lined version here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/969514/20201102_-_GDPR_-__MASTER__Keeling_Schedule__with_changes_highlighted__V4.pdf
The UK government has made noises about changing the UK GDPR in various way so that in future it may differ substantially from the GDPR (aka EU GDPR for clarity).
In EU legal theory EU regulations became law in every country in the EU when enacted and EU court rulings are superior to law passed by it's member states. This is a ruling made by the EU courts, however it is not based on any treaty that member states have signed, meaning that the legal basis of this is technically known as Ultra Vires, which effectively means "beyond your authority" when translated to English.
Most self respecting nations have Constitutions which tend to define separation of powers; generally that laws are written by parliaments and enforced by courts. This tends to mean that regardless of the EU theory that their laws are supreme in practice they do actually get transposed and agreed by national parliaments so that the courts can interpret them.
Hence the 2018 DPA is a law that you can enforce in British courts (which as you note provides protections above and beyond the requirements of the GDPR) and the GDPR is not.
They should be paying you.
But unwanted adverts are not just present on 'technologies'. A few years back I bought a flight case for my location recording work. It arrived with one side panel entirely filled with the supplier's logo. When I pointed out that I would want to promote my service on my kit, not theirs, the response was silence. So I sent them a contract specifying that I would advertise their brand on my kit for specified monthly fee. That got a response of 'you must be joking'. I pointed out I wasn't and deleted them from my supplier list.
Fortunately, careful application of solvent and a scotch pad removed their logo. It's a pity there's no comparable fix in the electronic domain.
Why do you think the TVs are so cheap these days?
As for opting out, it's becoming less of an option, as some TVs will constantly nag you without a connection. What next, whispernets? Internal ads in the ROMs so they can pester you offline, too?
"Why do you think the TVs are so cheap these days?"
They're not. They are just generating bigger profits and a regular income stream. Everyone is jumping ship from the "sell and item" bandwaon onto the "x As A Service, regular income stream" bandwagon, whether that be subscriptions, rentals or data hoovering.
Eventually, the data hoovering bubble will burst as all these advertisers eventually realise they really don't actually need all this fine grained data on a "per individual" basis.
> I don't think that people obsessed with collecting data will ever decide they have gotten enough.
Indeed, marketing droids (at least the ones I've met) are extremely prone to magical thinking: Everything which promises to increase their turnover will be used, no matter if it actually works or not. Logic has nothing to do with it.
And there is the deep satisfaction of tapping into a new source of revenue: Even if it's just $1 a year, they can't let that slip, they live to hunt down the slightest profit.
>> "Why do you think the TVs are so cheap these days?"
> They're not.
I think I both agree and disagree. They are cheap from a direct-cost perspective, thanks both to manufacturing improvements (who can remember the last time they bought a display with dead pixels?) to some vicious competition which has driven profit margins down to virtually zero.
And even then, we've arguably long since hit "good enough" in terms of both quality and screen size; see the almost desperate way in which TV companies have jumped on various bandwagons (3D displays, curved screens, 4K, etc) and then dropped them when it became clear that the market wasn't actually all that interested.
TVs are now a commodity - one which uses standardised parts and standardised interfaces to do standardised things. And that makes it very hard to make any significant profits from them.
On the other hand, the manufacturing companies have to make their money from somewhere. And that is where all this integrated advertising and tracking stuff comes in, since it's all a small but recurring/ongoing revenue stream.
Personally, I prefer to use the TV as a dumb display, and hook in various standalone devices for my media consumption. And that's what I'll keep doing.
"Personally, I prefer to use the TV as a dumb display, and hook in various standalone devices for my media consumption. And that's what I'll keep doing."
They're finding ways to monetize that, too. Probably see a return of whispernets and powerline networks, too, so they'll be able to phone home just by being plugged in.
Don't even need to go that far. My apartment building has about 30 WAP points active. All closed. But - the TV can just sit there brute forcing the passwords, for years, if need be. That's if the standard cracking tools don't work. And it only needs one open Wifi point for it to stumble upon. Oh - and suppose one my neighbours has a TV with the same brand of TV that I have. Parses a list of Mac addresses - bingo, it now has the password for that access point.
Remember, the UI is just a suggestion as to what you want it to do. Not what it is actually doing in the background.
Thank her noodly goodness there is so little out there that is worth watching that I feel the need to do it.
> the TV can just sit there brute forcing the passwords, for years, if need be. That's if the standard cracking tools don't work. And it only needs one open Wifi point for it to stumble upon.
In many TVs you can disable WiFi and Bluetooth in their super-secret "service menu". I have done so.
Of course it is possible that this may not actually/fully disable the WiFi and Bluetooth - there's always the option of disconnecting either their antennas and/or removing the Wifi/Bluetooth modules from the TV circuit board if you are that worried...
> They're finding ways to monetize that, too. Probably see a return of whispernets and powerline networks, too, so they'll be able to phone home just by being plugged in.
I'd be impressed if anything managed to connect to a powerline network, given that I don't actually own any powerline devices...
TBH, that sounds suspiciously like black-hat behaviour at best and tin-foil paranoia at worst.
In the first instance, that'd require the TV to have built-in powerline functionality as a "just in case" scenario. Which'd chew even further into the aforementioned razor-thin profit margins on the hardware, and which probably would never even break even on the data-selling front.
(E.g. let's say that adding powerline functionality to a TV costs $1. The company sells 1 million TVs, of which 10,000 successfully fall back to the powerline connectivity feature.
Let's say the company makes $0.50 per year from selling your TVs data. Those 10,000 TVs are therefore earning them approx. $5000 per year. Which means it'll take 20 year to recoup the extra $1 million it cost to add this functionality to the hardware...)
And in the second instance, the company building the TV would be opening themselves up to a huge can of legal worms, if their device is found to be silently connecting to any network it can find, without permission, whether that's via powerline or some form of wifi snooping/cracking tool.
I mean, I've no doubt that there's already plenty of similar Internet Of Things hacks dreamed up by black-hat hackers.
But built into the hardware by the manufacturer? There'd be a dozen class-action lawsuits thrown at them within minutes of the first white-hat hacker noticing something odd going on.
Yes! Exactly what I do with my Samsung telly. Use it as a "monitor" and with 3 Hdmi inputs I can plug in Win PC, Youview Box and Llinux PC. Throw a bag full of Adblock gear in the PC mix, and hey presto a perfect recipe for AD free, nag free viewing.
Until the police comes kicking down your door because you obviously have something to hide: Kiddie p0rn, terrorist propaganda, you're clearly into something monstrous, perverted and illegal. If you didn't, you wouldn't be afraid to let everybody know about it, would you.
Somebody think of the children already: Leave your devices wide open to innocent marketing!
> Personally, I prefer to use the TV as a dumb display, and hook in various standalone devices for my media consumption. And that's what I'll keep doing.
I'm sure it's only a question of time before they will require an Internet connection to function. Cf. HP printers, Adobe software, etc.
> I'm sure it's only a question of time before they will require an Internet connection to function. Cf. HP printers, Adobe software, etc.
Adobe is separate to this; they've simply moved to a subscription model, rather than demanding that you have an internet connection so that they can snoop on your preferred drawing techniques.
One thing which may help is the fact that TVs and PC monitors have been converging for a while, thanks to everything becoming just a digital input. And the "business" market for tech is always going to be larger than the "consumer" market, and be far less tolerant of this type of shenannigans.
Admittedly, that still leaves us with a mess, especially for people who don't have the time/knowledge/budget to go shopping for stuff which isn't riddled with spyware and adware!
You can block DOT and DOH (and DOQ) traffic as easily as blocking vanilla DNS queries. Just redirect traffic for those well known and fixed destination port numbers to the bit bucket. Or configure the spying TV to query a locally run DNS server which might not give the spyware the answer they want.
I don't think you've quite grasped the point of DoH and DoT have you?
I have. It seems you've not.
If you don't want DOT traffic to the outside world, block anything from your network going to port 853. For DOH traffic, block stuff going to port 443. Though that will cause huge amounts of web-related unhappiness. The mechanism for blocking traffic to these ports is no different to blocking regular DNS on port 53. As was previously explained.
You can also block DOT traffic by nuking any application/dns-message elements in the incoming HTML spewing from some web or DOT server. Though that obviously would be done with some sort of web proxy/filter rather than by port blocking.
I'm fighting off a need to launch into a rant on this one.
I like a certain certain brand - name begins with a T and ends in -land. They're just very good and look nice. The company logo was discreet.
But then a few years back they started selling these advertising hoardings. Sweatshirts with the company name in big letters across the front. That sort of thing.
I stopped buying until they started selling normal stuff again.
I have used another, famous S-brand of 'shoeware'. I remember when they entered that segment, years ago, and I always knew they're just imposters, but they (or their parent giants) had enough money to buy some decent designers, engineers, etc, etc, and even though their overall... stand sounded quite cheesy, their shoes/boots were comfortable. I tried their climbing boots once, because they gave them away cheaply, and despite their weight, they were remarkably comfortable. I still have them, though no use for them. I then wore their shoes, likewise, comfy, and lasting longer than other brands, so I kept buying them, a pair every 5 years or so (yeah, not their best customer!), until a few years ago they decided to go BIG! BRAND! NAME! IN! CONTRASTIVE! COLOUR! ALL-OVER-THE-UPPER! - all over their shoe range. I struggled on for a couple of years, as I managed to find one of their last black range shoes, but it seemed like the end of the road for our mutually beneficial business-customer relationship. Until I discovered they do a... military range. In black. With _very_ discreet black-on-black logo. And reputadly better quality than their sports range (I'd agree now, having used them regularly for over 3 years now). And they're as comfy as before, so now I'm covered. The only annoying aspect is that now I'm paying 160 quid for a pair of shoes that I used to pay 60 quid for, 20 years ago. This price difference is painful, because every time I remember the cost, I also remember my wages haven't gone anywhere near this rate...
Not another NHS bod with Sketchers...
I sometimes think that my wife gives the little bit of my wages that’s left after paying tax and NI Aim it’s entirety to Sketchers to wear while she’s at the hospital.
(My wages as she’s in training, so doesn’t get paid. She may (or may not) end up with a job there after four years of training, as despite too few staff and a high attrition rate, they never seem to have the money/ability to hire enough new staff!
Absolutely, they should be paying you.
I think it is time that ownership of anything you buy/pay for, should be redefined, including rights and reasonable expectations.
If I have bought anything but still don't have the ability or, apparently the right to insist that features I dislike are able to be disabled, what is it I have actually bought?
you are an exception (and I'm another weirdo, covering over small brand logos on my jackets, etc., one crucial parameter of purchase having been a _small_, patchable logo, if 'no logo' option is not available). But we're weirdos while the rest of the humanity happily preen in logoed garments, or flick a half-eaten apple on the lid because it gives them a warm illusion they're superior to other humans around them, while the brands laugh all the way to the bank.
but why bother, I mean, all you need to to is not let your telly connect to the network. Ever. Obviously, like with MS Windows, there will come a point when you can't do that and your telly tells you: I'm sorry Dave, I have to do that, and your car will say: I'm sorry Dave, I have to do that, and your fridge says... but that point is for my children to (not) bother about, when they grow up...
Of course you need them. TVs aren't just electronics and ICs anymore, you get all sorts of software bugs with audio/video codecs, passthru, ARC seems to be a common one, GUI issues etc.. Most of the reviews you read for new TVs state things like "to be added in a later update" when it comes to a certain framerate or audio bitrate relating to some codec or another.
All they'll get is Sky News until the bloody football comes on and then BBC news unless that's doing the same in which case it'll be off.
I quite like it as rolling wallpaper but football is just too much - or little depending on your perspective.
I should probably turn it off to save the planet, but then I'd have to look out the window.
The kids outside are probably playing f'ing football as well.
The LG OLED55CX5LB I bought at the start of the year doesn't do anything like this, despite being connected to the Internet. I did opt out of a few things though. If I hadn't, it might have been worse. I definitely don't use the voice recognition feature, that just creeps me out, plus my employer insists on turning such things off. I do at least want mine connected to the LAN because I send it commands using a Python library.
> I do at least want mine connected to the LAN because I send it commands using a Python library.
I assign a static IP to my TV and have my router block that IP from Internet access, that way it can access my local network but not the internet.
'Assiging a static IP to my TV' is not a sentence I expected to be saying 25 years ago lol.
This. Box sets are the way to go, and much more eco-friendly than all this streaming. Being old I have a house big enough for a decent media collection, but I still rip everything to my Plex server for ease of use.
Add my +1 for PiHole too, and just block any URL with "Samsung" in it and you'll be fine ...
Not even the enforced, can't be skipped over "You'd not steal a car, would you?" anti-piracy ads
I'm more concerned about the other ads, you know the ones:
"You'd not steal a baby, then kill a policeman and take a shit in his helmet, and then give it to his wife, would you?"
How does it work if you're just feeding it an HDMI connection from a vermin media tivo box?
Thanks to the magic of Automatic Content Recognition where the TV uploads information about enough pixels from each frame so the programme you're watching can be identified by the mothership.
My parents lucked out (either the TV is just too old -- which I doubt because it still gets software updates -- or they decided this would not fly in the US. Which seems odd, given the absurd amounts of ads everywhere else on TV but who knows?)
They do have a Samsung, a 4K smart TV, and it doesn't have ads plastered anywhere. Really lucked out I guess.
It also doesn't get to collect much info, since they just leave it on "HDMI 1" and have a Dish Network box running on it. (Of course, Dish is hoovering up all there private info instead of Samsung then.) (They bought it secondhand from a friend so there's no irony-based problems of buying a smart TV and using 0 smart features on it.) To use that smartness a little bit, I did find the built in video player plays stuff off Universal Media Server just fine (once I persuaded UMS to quit trying to transcode... which is trickier than it should be, several options that are supposed to do that DO NOT WORK). It seems to play any video I've thrown at it; it claims to play up through 4K 12-bit H.265 (which I have not tested but did play a 4K H.265 10-bit with no issue) so that's nice.
Older and more expensive TVs tend to miss out on the wall to wall advertising. Older, because they're not 'smart'. Premium because I'm not paying several thousand dollars for an in-home billboard (that option is for the cheapo sets flogged to the proles).
(Just because its not plastering ads over the screen doesn't mean its not keeping an eye on what you're doing, though.)
(Our main TV -- really a display because we don't do real TV any more -- is an older 52" LCD. It lacks some of the features of newer sets but it has a lot more inputs than newer sets and its dumb. Its only a 1080p but then I doubt that most peoples' eyes have better resolution -- and there's the mater of compression techniques.)(Our hyper cheap modern set from the same manufacturer likes to know all about me and my viewing habits; it gets bored stiff because its only used as a monitor for a Pi.)
TV used to be so easy. Turn on via remote, channel up, and fall asleep. Now my rogue smart TV is getting into my bank card's smartchip by bridging from my iPad, MacBook and finally through my radio. I'll be wiped of funds by tomorrow morning.
I give up. I hate 21st century TV.
Now one useless but fun feature would be to have, at the very least, the shrinking of the picture down to a bright white dot and a "ffffft" as the HV turns off..........
Then on the pause have the picture jiggling vertically depending where the frame is aka VHS video.
Bought a Panasonic last year specifically for Freeview catchup over t'Internet. Which doesn't work unless it's plugged into the TV aerial, which I don't have. That one went back, and I got its cheaper sibling without this feature. Curiously this one regularly tries to find a software update, indicated by blinkenlight, which is quite difficult for it as the set has zero networking capability.
I wonder how recently this has been implemented - I have a Samsung NU8000 bought in early 2018 that has no ads (not connected to Internet) nor spaces for ads.
I seem to recall it pestering me to connect it for a few weeks, then giving up with a whimper...
Thankfully, firmware can be updated via USB - and it did actually need one for an HDR brightness issue.
The problem is when will Samsung et al decide that no, nobody can possibly not have an Internet connection anymore, so firmware updates are only OTA.
I disconnected my samsung from the internet after hearing how there are kill switches in them.
I'm sure other brands have them too. If you think the as a service model for programming is scary enough, then the hardware has to be replaced as our profits are down model should scare the fertilizer outta ya. Plus once the kill switch is hacked there will be tv's killed by those who thick it is just fun to do.
A RPi and kodi/libreelec and some plugins are wonderful for vegging out in front of the tv. ;)
I have a Samsung television and I had to avoid allowing the Samsung to display ads on my television when I did set it up. I didn't agree to the EULA that would have allowed advertisement. At least I think that is the case, I am located in a market that has few advertisers for most things (Iceland as a country is ignored by most international companies).
On Samsung television the advertisement enabled "feature" can be found under "Terms and Privacy -> Interest-Based Advertisement Service Privacy Notice". It has to be enabled to allow for advertisement to happen. I have it disabled. I also don't allow Samsung to collect information from my television.
I hope from next year that I can go away from streaming and just go back to normal dvd, blu-ray and blu-ray 4K. Since there is no possible way that I can watch everything on streaming services anyway. I just want to finish Star Trek and the Expanse before I make that step. Once that is done there is no reason for my television to be connected to the internet. Software updates can be done with a USB stick.
Yes this is a very sneaky trick during the initial set up. there is a tick box saying you have to agree to what looks like an EULA and usually if you don't tick it you can't press 'next'. In this case you should leave it un-ticked and press next.
We bought a Sony smart TV (mainly because they last... And last.... And last) as our previous two TV's were Sony's and each of them happily went past a decade of ownership before any issues prompted a replacement (Sony CRT 15 years ago wasn't wide-screen/HD so we bought an early LCD, moved house a few years ago and it didn't fit the front room so we bought a smart TV).
Running Android TV hasn't been too painful (stop giggling at the back), it's had updates, I've monitored its traffic (about same amount as a standard Android device) and it's adverts for other services/devices/notifications are set on a tile row right at the bottom. It requires scrolling down to get to. Past the app tiles, past the input tiles, past the app program recommendations (currently a YouTube play list of MREs rations through the ages eaten by a man far too eager on the items).
Even then, the tiles are all the same size. Nothing is favoured and the ad tiles do have stuff I might want to look into like a new Sony app, where to buy a PS5 and any new features they've added in the last update.
But.... After all this. I'd expect as much considering we invested in a TV that's meant to last at least a decade (3 years in and it's been fine save for the odd TV restart and a green border issue on some home steamed content but fixed some time ago). If the Samsung TV cost the same, I'd expect as much from them, rather than feeling like I've paid to sold to.
Now, get off my lawn so I can go back to playing retro consoles on it.
My 2007 Sony Bravia has been faulty since 2010 with ghosting on the screen (not the Sony 40" screen fault) but looks exactly the same to me. Furthermore, Channel program EPG not work since Jan 2021
The reminder function on the EPG stopped working. When I try to set the a reminder, I get an error message saying "This event data is invalid". I use the reminder function a lot to plan my evening's viewing.
Is there anyway of adding a list of ad domain addresses to the Router or in my case the BT Smart hubs firewall blocked sites?
I use an older Firestick for my Smart functions.
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It connects to the PC which connects to the Internet, and even this cannot be achieved without Titsups (totally inability to stream usual programmes seamlessly). Maybe it's TV these days, the programmes are almost entirely made of recycled crap, so maybe the inability to stream is part of the shitshow.
Don't mention Firefox, I am fed up havig to close the browser altogether during adverts as after a while ....... the volume icon no loner works, f11 doesn't work, the only button that works is the Windows STOP icon.
It doesn't do this if I watch a film on DVD. Only when I watch TV, especially if I watch a film.
Is GCHQ pissed 'cos I don't NEED to buy a TV licence ?
Is Microshite pissed 'cos I never visit their on-line store ?
Is Google pissed 'cos I am too soddin' poor to buy anything other than food ?
Is it the end of the TV world as we know it ? YEAH ! Thank your lucky stars whilst you can see them, 'cos you'll need a smart TV soon as the night sky will be full of communications satalites beaming down Samsung adverts............
I heard a report that the UK Government wanted to mandate BBC iPlayer (or maybe it was FreeView+, which includes iPlayer by default) on *ALL* new televisions sold in the UK.
I would then expect that they would change the legislation so a license is required for all devices that are capable of receiving iPlayer (not just if you use it), just so they can capture the "License not required" brigade who don't currently pay the TV tax.
I used to be able to defend the TV license to myself and others. Not so much now. It really is becoming a tax. Much as I admire the BBC, it needs a different funding model.
After an unpleasant and very expensive diversion via a AU$3000 LOEWE "smart" TV, I’ve found something that works for us. The LOEWE interface was pretty disappointing, and we found the built-in sound bar to be aggressively unpleasant.
Our new system is a 40" HiSense 2K TV (sorry folks, unless the set is >55” and you are closer than about 7’, 4K is not a real improvement). We have an AppleTV on HDMI1 which is networked with an HDHomeRun 4-head tuner, recording to our computer with "Channels DVR” ($80/yr) and Comskip - Adverts, what are they? A pair of HomePod Minis for sound output, all is good for about AU$1000…
I feel like the Beatles covered this situation in a song.
Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the ad man
Yeah, I'm the ad man
Should five percent of the webpage appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the ad man
Yeah, I'm the ad man
If you drive a car, I'll put ads on the street
If you ride a bus, I'll put ads above the seat
If you get too cold, I'll put ads for the heat
If you take a walk, I'll put ads for your feet
'Cause I'm the ad man
Yeah, I'm the ad man
Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want more ads to find
'Cause I'm the ad man
Yeah, I'm the ad man
'Cause I'm the ad man
Yeah, I'm the ad man
And you're living for no one but me
Unless television manufacturers make very clear up front there is advertising embedded into the device in the display in the shop, in the marketing material then people should just return this crap and complain to trading standards. And by very clear I mean the demo model in the shop should show this advertising and any pictures of the functionality should also show this advertising and any feature list / specification should state there is advertising and the form it takes. And also any other personal data or metrics gathering that the device performs.
Perhaps if retailers get enough returns they might even get fed up of being the conduit for this shit and tell the manufacturers to knock it off.
No good. Shop Display Mode usually forces the TV into a demonstration mode where different ads are plastered on the screen 24/7 nonstop. They're the ads touting the features of the TV, they take up half the screen, and they're internal to the TV so don't need an Internet connection to work (since most demo TVs aren't wired up).
I purchased a samsung series 6 TV a couple of months ago and also promptly added several domains to my pihole in an effort to stop the ads and the slurping.
The other things I hate about this TV:
1) it is impossible to un-install some apps e.g. disney and netflix. best you can do is remove them from the home screen
2) the remote control is an ergonomic mess with no spaces around any of the buttons. the amazon prime , netflix and rakuten buttons are put right next to the most frequently used buttons (e.g. volume control) so that it's easy to accidentally press them.
3) the tiles on the home screen are so small and badly designed that it is very difficult to see which one you are about to select
4) very limited apps in the tizen o/s. compared to an android based operating system.
I should have done the same to as the guy in the article and returned this TV.
Clearly the advertisers, being soulless prostitutes to capital, won’t be happy till we all check out of digital society and take up a thoroughly analogue hobby ... like whittling spoons. The invasion of advertisers into every space available is certainly driving this one nuts too. We need a charter, some sort of agreement that clearly defines the limitations of acceptable marketing, and most importantly we need consequences for those that breech the agreed limitations.
I do agree and this might not be as relevant as we're talking about a TV purchase so money was paid. I think we have given up a lot of our freedoms for 'free' services. We don't pay to do searches or use Facebook, exc....
Personally I don't use pretty much all of them but I get that without ads or a subscription model they would go out of business.
In this situation though it's just plain greedy.
Articles like this really aren't selling the modern world to me.
Read a quite frank interview with the CTO of VIZIO a year or so ago. He admitted to the data slurp and claimed that everyone was doing it: it was the only way to make TV production economical: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/7/18172397/airplay-2-homekit-vizio-tv-bill-baxter-interview-vergecast-ces-2019
> So look, it’s not just about data collection. It’s about post-purchase monetization of the TV.
> This is a cutthroat industry. It’s a 6-percent margin industry, right? I mean, you know it’s pretty ruthless. You could say it’s self-inflicted, or you could say there’s a greater strategy going on here, and there is. The greater strategy is I really don’t need to make money off of the TV. I need to cover my cost.
Lovely turn of phrase, that: "post-purchase monetization". Yay.
Incidentally don't think you can avoid Slurpy McSlurpFace (tm) by not using a smart TV, and plugging your nice shiny Freesat box into an antique from the early Myspace era.
Some of latest TVs totally disable analogue and legacy (VGA etc) inputs once they connect to the Internet, essentially closing forever the analogue hole and call it a "performance update" but the option here is still in the menu to enable it for now on this one at least at the cost of disabling HDCP.
Its literally HDCP 2.3 or bust, some newer TVs won't enable anything even sound unless the almighty HDCP chip blesses it.
I couldn't even get my new Bluray player to work, complained about 'HDCP disabled' presumably because the TV supports 1.4 and refused to play a Bluray at all yet worked perfectly with a DVD: tested on an newer TV to make sure and all worked fine.
Charity and surplus shops are also being leaned on by "Big Ad" aka the various standards agencies and pestered with phone calls and emails not to sell older players and TVs, even to the extent that for a while one here was convinced they couldn't sell used DVDs because it breached some law or other, fortunately stopping short of disposing of their huge collection.
The result is that older TVs can attract a high resale value even in their broken state, as the MB and other parts can often be used to repair others of a similar vintage.
Fun tip: you can obtain a cheap monitor and adapt it to work for legacy inputs, with in some cases a very simple board level modification like soldering on a £2 VGA port with a handful of 0805s and an e2prom to convince it that an older generation HDMI device is plugged in. Mwahahaha!
I have a 14 year old Toshiba 38" Regza. No wifi / ethernet, just a good old TV without the bells and whistles, it just works as good as the day I brought it. Recently my lad brought a JVC 4k and swapped our TV for his for testing before he moved out. The sound was tinny (he had to buy a sound bar to make it sound less awful), apps kept crashing, the remote was a nightmare. He partly did it to encourage me to get a better telly, however it did the opposite, it makes me more pleased with what I already have, good picture, great sound and no slurping.
Seems being a AV dinosaur has some perks
As mine is a bit old and despite being 10bit not HDR compatible, also tuner despite being HD does not do Freeview HD only SD.
OK I do have a Humax PVR but I want a 4K TV for gaming.
Are Sony infected, or are they still OK?
I do normally like their TVs, so tend to buy them rather than brands I have not heard of, or Lucky Goldstar, or Samsmug (used to do good HDD though)
I ran through all the menus on my Samsung, carefully gelding it so it cannot access the internet. This did not bother me - it's a really lousy internet platform anyhow. I'd already built a nice little I-5 powered ITX machine that fit on a bookshelf. Like most ITX mobos, it had wireless connectivity. That connects to my home router, and an HDMI cable connects to the Sammie. At ten feet away, who cares if the display is only 1080p? A wireless keyboard and mouse completes the package. I could have cheaped out using an old laptop with a busted screen, but I didn't happen to have one. I buy from Amazon a lot, so I have Amazon Prime Video included in my Amazon Prime package. Of course they're keeping track of me - any business keeps track of its customers. I've also included a couple of their Channels to customize the specific stuff we want to see. Oh, and I'm running Mint Linux on the ITX box, with Firefox and uBlock Origin and DuckDuckGo. And I tidy up with BleachBit frequently.
So Samsung gets nowhere with me. The only ads I see are when we're streaming a local broadcast station, which same we'd have had to watch even on a 1950's B & W CRT.
Ever since I was a teenager, 30+ years ago, I knew my future AV kit of choice would contain a dumb screen / monitor, with the services I wanted being plugged in (SCART / BNC in those days)
Although this idea seemed rare, I didn't think it was particularly novel - At the time, hi-fi separates were all the rage, and I just logically applied the same principle to the video
Now, as a grumpy old fart, I have followed that policy. Whilst I don't watch broadcast TV (and have no TV RF receiver) I just have dumb screens, and projectors with just HDMI inputs.
It always seemed obvious when the broadcasting standards kept changing.
Then so called smart TVs that invariably stopped working after a few months due to stale software, made it more obvious.
Now, with things like ads and tracking as reported here, it's a no-brainer
To end the nightmare of multiple remotes, we (I) bought a Sony only to discover that it is Android. It was a big mistake. You need a Google account just to get updates to apps. The default TV app(!) is YouTV which monitors even broadcast watching. The satellite tuner is unusable without monitoring because its EPG comes from the internet via YouTV. It will record but on to a hard disk only ( you know the old fashioned spinny things) and you can't watch TV while recording!
I think we will disconnect it from the internet and go back to the past of using the Humax box with proper record for satellite and a ROKU for internet.
Do not get me started on the BBC who now insist you have a linked smart phone/tablet to watch iPlayer.
The Roku will need your credit card details... even if you just want to watch the free stuff
get_iplayer will get you iPlayer/Sounds catch-up without needing an account (my BBC account is only used on my phone, and rarely). (getting to the radio schedules without having to go through Sounds means bookmarking each and every station)
Hey TV. I just want to be able to adjust the input source, volume and perhaps the picture settings.
I'll control the rest of the show thank you very much. No internet, no smart OS, no nothing. I will never, ever, ever give you permission to collect a single scrap of data about me. If you force it, you're off the list and my wallet slams shut, to you.
Sadly, If I will mangle the quote from LOTR "Our list of options growths thin"
It seems every bit of spare space is a potential billboard. Kindles at least have an option to have no ads - you pay a tenner for the privilege (one-off payment). Why can't Samsung and Sony do this? If they were upfront about it maybe like this:
A 1/8 screen ad on every menu and a 1/5 screen at the top menu, we hoover up your viewing habits so you get 'relevant' ads. You get at most 5 different ads a week and at least 1. This means we can sell your TV for £400 instead of £430. So you can pay the extra £30 to remove the ads*
*soon to be £50 a year for the 'Samsung/Sony/whatever Ultimate Package'
You don't work in marketing, do you. That's engineer thinking...
What they will do is sell the TV $430 anyway (no reason to lose $30), and then stuff it so full of ads you just have to pay the $50 a month "no-ads" subscription which reduces the ads enough for you to discern part of the show actually running underneath.
Never forget, it's not all about you. They aren't selling stuff to make you happy, but to make money, as much as legally possible.
I won't buy Samsung! Not just because of this shite but their quality is also shite! (Washing machines that spin themselves top death).
I look at their TVs in the store and I don't see the picture quality. I've bought 2 Sceptre TV's one at home and one for the office conference room and they are outstanding! Clear sharp picture and yeah! NO ADS! 20% cheaper as well!
I just recently purchased 2 24" Sceptre monitors for my office desk and they are excellent!
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