Streaming TV has been a boon for consumers. Programming is everywhere, right at our fingertips, as soon as we get our screens online. But that connectivity comes with a big risk: wherever there’s an internet connection, there’s a possibility for bad guys to show up. And now they are showing up in the real world, holding TV sets hostage with ransomware and demanding cash to let you access your own stuff. [More]
Most smart TVs watch you back, to some extent. There’s money — a lot of money — to be had in user data, and advertising makes the world go ’round. Even accepting that, though, there are limits on what one generally should and should not have to expect when it comes to privacy-invading televisions, and new reports indicate that one manufacturer has gone well past that line.
We’ve heard plenty of times in the past few years that if you have a smart TV — one that’s internet-enabled, for all that app goodness — that it might be watching you just as much as you watch it. Samsung in particular generates a lot of questions about how secure your data is with your TV, as do LG and Vizio. But there’s a missing piece to the equation. If your TV is watching you, why? Who stands to gain (in the sense of cold hard cash) from your data?
Last week, the world collectively freaked out when we learned that Samsung’s smart TVs can take things that we say in our living rooms and uploads them to a third-party transcription service. The gadget-maker tried to calm us all down by explaining how the service works, but there’s a problem: people may have assumed that data is encrypted. It’s not. [More]
If you own a smart TV, you probably purchased it thinking about all of the ways that you can use it to watch streaming services and your own library of video files. Samsung sees something different, though: they see a great big Internet-connected screen which they can use to splash ads on. It began three years ago with ads on the TV’s home screen, and now users are accusing the company of inserting advertisements where they don’t belong. [More]
If you’re unfamiliar with The Internet Of Things, take a look at your phone. It can get on the Internet, right? So can your TV, maybe. Or that fancy new smart refrigerator, it’s a thing, and it can access the Internet. And because the everyday devices we use are so “smart” now, that means they could be turned against you. [More]
Is this the start of the humans vs. machine war, where our smart devices decide they’ve had enough of sitting back and watching our species click around on TVs and swipe our phones and just revolt? Let’s hope not, but a blogger in England does think he’s figured out that LG Smart TVs are so smart, they’re actually spying on us. [More]
Emil has had a Samsung 3D TV for a few years, but didn’t try out the 3D functionality until recently. When he did, he learned that the set didn’t have the full, glorious, 1080-pixel 3D experience that Samsung had advertised when he bought it. He’s not the only one who has noticed this problem: lots of other TV fans have. So has the German legal system. [More]
How long could your household go without a television? It depends on how many people are there, what you watch, what time of year it is, how the weather is, and whether or not it’s Christmas break and your kids are home from school. That’s the case for Roman’s family, cord cutters who are cut off from television content. Last Black Friday, Roman got a Vizio 3D smart TV from Walmart. Just under a year later, the set doesn’t work. That’s okay, though: he bought the extended warranty. The repair service set up an appointment, then just didn’t show after Roman took a day off work and waited around for them. Why? They didn’t have the part he needed in stock. [More]
Earlier this week, we shared the story of reader Michael, who bought a pricey 3-D smart television from Amazon. His family thought it was pretty awesome until the set’s remote would no longer work. A few different repair teams weren’t able to make the TV and its remote work together permanently. Would he be left with a great big TV set that he couldn’t even use to watch YouTube videos? Sure, that’s a first world problem, but consumers deserve to get what they pay for. We posted about Michael and his TV. Coincidentally, after the post went up LG contacted him with a resolution.
Here’s the problem with smart TVs that I had never thought of: they depend heavily on the remote controls that come in the box. That’s a lesson that Michael has learned the hard and expensive way. The “magic” remote that came with his 47-inch LG smart TV won’t work. That’s not very magical. Years ago, if your remote control didn’t work, the worst-case scenario was that you would have to get up off your rear end to adjust the volume or change the channel. In the case of Michael’s TV, he can’t use any of the Internet features without that specific remote. You know, the thing that distinguishes a smart TV from other, stupider TVs. Update: LG is sending Michael a new television.
Samsung was delighted to announce this morning at CES that they intend to place ads to the home screens of your fancy new Smart TVs. Does this annoy you?