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Television Advertising

Ask Slashdot: Can Smart TVs Insert Ads Into Your Movies? (gigaom.com) 235

dryriver writes: Back in 2015, the owners of some Samsung smart TVs complained about their viewing of films and other content being constantly interrupted by a recurring Pepsi ad. It turned out that yes, the Samsung TV itself was inserting the ad into content.

Samsung said at the time that it was a software glitch that caused this. They left a function on by default that should have been off when they shipped the TVs. But it proves that Smart TVs have an unnerving capability built into them -- the ability to interrupt content playback with product ads actually stored on the TV itself.

So here's the question -- what if all Smart TV makers suddenly decide that having the ability to push custom ads to the owner of the TV is "fair game"? What if they decide "You want to own this model of TV for XXX Dollars? Well, you can have it, but we'll reserve the right to show you customized advertising as you are viewing stuff with it"? Are there any laws anywhere that would protect TV owners from such intrusive advertising?

Ask Slashdot: Can Smart TVs Insert Ads Into Your Movies?

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  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @03:42AM (#55497409) Homepage

    A Smart TV is a Dimwit TV after two years at most anyway.
    Compared to even the most basic stand-alone media player, the "Smart" part of TV's is rarely more than "Marginally above braindead" any way.
    Get a separate screen and separate smart media box.

    • by thsths ( 31372 )

      Yes, I think that is what most technically competent people do anyway.

      The funny thing is that my PVR is getting 5 years old, and I would struggle to find one now that is as good.

      Of course the internet related functions have mostly moved to a different box, but most smart boxes are not good PVRs.

    • Anything called "smart" is marginally above braindead.
    • I have a Philips TV that received one software-update and then got dropped by Philips like a hot potato. The software is absolutely fucking riddled with bugs and holes and it'd be trivial for someone to plant malware in there or brick the damn thing, and even without any such nefariousness it's slow as molasses and crashes every now and then when trying to turn on. I've tried the "smarts" on it and it was the most ridiculously awful experience, and almost nothing works anymore anyways. That said, the TV was

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      My Panasonic smart TV is five years old (2012 model) and is still as smart as the day I got it. YouTube and Netflix work just fine, because they had the foresight to make them basically HTML5 apps with a simple wrapper.

      Now that the 5 year warranty is coming to an end I guess they might not support it any more. Last firmware update was for Heartbleed last year IIRC.

      • Consider yourself lucky. My WDTVlive which I bought in mid 2013 hasn't worked reliably with Netflix for over a year. Streaming stuff off my local LAN still works perfectly. I ended up adding a Firestick just for Netflix and Amazon Prime.

        Continued support for a moving target like Netflix is hit-or-miss.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      The SmartTV has one thing going for it: Integration. One remote ships with the box that can access all the SmartTV media sources; instead of having two boxes, two remotes to manage, and have to pick the right input to switch from normal TV to streaming sources.

    • I completely agree. Don't even buy so-called 'smart TV' in the first place, and if you have no choice, don't ever connect it to the Internet, ever.
  • Daft question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @03:48AM (#55497443)

    If you buy a smart TV at a discount in exchange for giving the TV manufacturer the rights to show you adverts then of course there's no law that's going to 'protect' you from this. By buying the TV with those conditions attached, you've accepted the conditions.

    • If you buy a smart TV at a discount in exchange for giving the TV manufacturer the rights to show you adverts then of course there's no law that's going to 'protect' you from this. By buying the TV with those conditions attached, you've accepted the conditions.

      In fact, Amazon does this now with smart phones and tablets. You can buy the phone or tablet at a discount for the "ad supported" version.

      Case in point [amazon.com].

      • Re:Daft question (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @08:50AM (#55498373)

        Yep, I don't mind such deals if they're up front about it. Many people will pay for a Kindle subsidized by such ads. I choose to pay $10 more for an ad-free experience, and appreciate that I have a clear choice in the matter.

        What's I absolutely despise is when I pay a premium for hardware and/or software, and a company thinks it has the right to monetize my eyeballs regardless. Microsoft is particularly prone to this with its Xbox consoles. And TV manufactures apparently can't seem but to help themselves earning a little extra on the side through sneaky methods such as the Samsung auto-playing ads, or Visio when they got caught snooping on user viewing data.

        • Microsoft is particularly prone to this with its Xbox consoles.

          WAIT A MINUTE! I was getting set to buy me an XBox One S. Are you telling me they inject ads with that thing? I'm only buying to to play games, am I going to get ADVERTISING in the games??? Because I may have to re-think that.

      • That goes without saying. If one buys a device with special offers, they have agreed beforehand that there will be ads on the device.

        However, if a TV that was bought with no pre-arrangement beforehand, other than maybe some dialog of, "Do you accept the EULA?" that starts slinging ads and requires an always-on connection to function is a device that the maker has deliberately misrepresented its function. Those go back as defective.

        There is a line between, "you are getting a price break, because you agree

  • by Erik Hensema ( 12898 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @03:53AM (#55497461) Homepage

    Don't buy such a TV. Simple law of economics.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @04:17AM (#55497529)

      Don't buy such a TV. Simple law of economics.

      We live in the era of never-asked-for-this-shit features, which means you'll get what the manufacturer says you need.

      The only simple thing to understand here, is that your opinion no longer matters.

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @10:03AM (#55498909)

        That's a common, defeatist, and ultimately self-fulfilling argument.

        The GP was right. Stores are selling what they can convince people to buy, because they want the money. If pitching so-called smart TVs as better than normal ones and thus being able to sell them successfully at a higher price works, that's what they'll do.

        On the other hand, if enough potential customers ask about products without the junk or start asking tricky questions about the realities of these devices that waste the sales people's time, and particularly if those potential customers are then leaving the store without making a purchase, the stores will go back to demanding simpler units that they can sell. And if customers are giving their money to people who supply good, "dumb" TVs today then the stores and manufacturers offering that option also have a direct incentive to continue.

        Voting with your wallet is possibly the most successful form of lobbying for change that humanity has yet conceived.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Only problem is that just about all TVs in the mid-range and up are smart TV's these days. Plenty of dumb TV's in the lower end of the market, but they get more and more scarce the higher you go. Apart from really cheapo brands that often use panels that are LG and Samsung quality control rejects, I don't think anyone makes an OLED panel TV that isn't a smart one.

      Thankfully this not a problem I have to deal with as like with many of us millennials, I've realized that a TV is just another redundant device
      • On the other hand, it means if you wait a few years you can find lower end TVs with the specs you want, as higher end TVs move past those features.
        • Only problem with this is that by the time low end TVs have the mid/high end specs you wan they're probably going to be "smart" TVs as well. When smart TVs first came out they were all high end models and have since then only been filtering down across model ranges and there's really no reason to believe this won't continue.
          • Just checked on Amazon, you can find plenty of non-smart TVs if you look. Depends on what you need. If you're using HDMI for the most part, they seem to have 2-3 ports and a USB port. Sceptre and LG make non-smart TVs with decent size ranges. The only problem is going to be if you want to go for 4K, those seem to be strictly smart TVs so far. Of course, you can also find low end smart TVs, now, too.
            • As I said, the higher you go up the range, the less "dumb" TVs you're going to find and try to remember that size and resolution are not the only specs you want to look at. With 4k content becoming more and more common there's not much of a reason to not go for a 4k TV unless you can't afford one or if it's for someone so old they probably won't live long enough to see broadcast content move to 4k (which is why I wouldn't buy one for my grandma).
      • Then I guess one of those smart TVs needs to be lobotomized before being allowed in my network.

    • Between them, Samsung and LG make a third of the world's TV sets. Regional players like Vestel make a lot of the rest. You don't really get much of a choice of supplier.
      • by Bongo ( 13261 )

        Indeed. I wonder if obviously other companies would be very upset with this practice. After all, I didn't pay all those streaming services just so the f****** display device could splash ads over the shows.

    • If you can.

      You can rest assured that the prospective ads will factor into the selling price of the device, eventually meaning that you can get a huge TV for the price of a small one without the "feature", which by the laws of the stupid customer means that in the end everyone who makes decent TVs will not be able to continue business and only ad-sponsored TVs will remain.

    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      Like everything else, the consumer will do a cost\benefit analysis. If they believe that they are getting something beneficial from accepting the ads that exceeds the annoyance of having them, then they will accept them.

      Off the top of my head I can only think of one benefit; a reduced price for the TV, but no doubt they're trying to come up with others.

      Personally, it would have to be a massive reduction in price before I'd consider the cost outweighed. But others may have tighter budgets and greater toler

  • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @03:54AM (#55497463) Journal

    It's TV, I can live without it. I haven't had any TV channels for years now.
    I only use it for streaming now, of course I wouldn't accept ad's when watching it.
    I have the feeling that they are really over-estimating their worth, Personally I watch less and less TV shows and movies, I haven't watched a movie in a year, and I can't find any new TV shows that I care to watch anymore.

    However, I do subscribe to a bunch of youtube channels and support some of them on Patreon.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      I think this is why they can't do things like the article talks about.

      They realise that the second they do, not only do TV sales drop, but the amount of content purchased will drop dramatically. What's the point in paying for a movie from Netflix or wherever if the smart TV is going to put ads into it for you?

      It will just force people onto other methods of viewing, and so long as there's one model of device on the market that DOESN'T do the ridiculous advert insertion, they will lose out to them.

      Personally

      • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

        I think this is why they can't do things like the article talks about.

        They realise that the second they do, not only do TV sales drop, but the amount of content purchased will drop dramatically. What's the point in paying for a movie from Netflix or wherever if the smart TV is going to put ads into it for you?

        Currently there's no point. But if they start giving discounts for the devices that play ads you might well see consumers being okay with this. Hell, one day in the future I can even see tvs going out

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          The problem won't be "free" advertiser-paid TV's, it'll be the vastly increased cost of paid, advertiser-free TV's.
          As soon as those TV's exists, you can be sure they'll try to make the model you actually want less desirable.

      • "a TV is just a computer display with a content box on it. And you can't go putting adverts into a computer monitor without destroying someone's ability to work, so people would just use those if it really came to it."

        I don't associate watching TV with 'work' as I know it. What is this 'work' you refer to that is done on a consumer television set as we commonly know it?

        Or, perhaps, you have found a computer monitor with this consumer-oriented advertising insertion capability included? Please, let us know, t

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @04:06AM (#55497503)

    Recall that the Kindle/Fire line of e-readers/tablets have a slightly cheaper version which shows large ads on the lock screen. In my experience they resemble the scrolling ads on Netflix for shows they offer, that works as a screen saver, which I haven't heard anyone complain about or even mention. If that bothers you, you can spend a few dollars more for the model with no ads. So silent ads as screen savers, sure why not.

    Pausing the content you're actively trying to consume, and inserting additional ads, is enough of an annoyance I imagine people would purposely avoid TV models that do this. It's not like there's no competition between manufacturers, as it's the end manufacturers and not the panel manufacturers who would do this. There are lots of other companies you can buy from, unless you want something unique like a 2017 OLED TV. That said, the TV would have to be able to pause the content, meaning the content is running from the TV's smart features; since TVs are now able to control connected devices via HDMI I could see them sending a 'pause' signal to a Bluray player, but am not sure if pause signals are actually one of the commands that can be sent over HDMI. The TV would have to connect to the net to verify how many times the ad was watched, so not connecting your TV to the net would probably disable ads.

    The amount of ad revenue earned by TV manufacturers would be so minuscule that it wouldn't be worth the backlash or reduced sales. Consumers buying $2k TVs would do the research beforehand, and nearly anyone would rather pay $10 more for a TV without the ads. Cord-cutters using smart TV features are the people MOST likely to abhor ads, so the placement is horrible; a better idea would be to replace the bootup splash screen with a static ad image.

    • You've got to the nub of the gist there. Inserting adverts into content would be unacceptable to most people IMHO, and impossible for content being displayed from an external source, unless the HDMI spec were changed to accommodate such things.

      But would people accept 'screensaver' adverts? Maybe. I've got a Kindle that shows adverts but it does so when the device is in sleep mode; as soon as you swipe the screen to start reading something, the ad disappears. That doesn't bother me at all, and I'm fairly sen

    • I could see them sending a 'pause' signal to a Bluray player, but am not sure if pause signals are actually one of the commands that can be sent over HDMI.

      I have an Samsung set, bought back in 2007 (IIRR), that at the time was supposed to have some "smart" features, but I never made any use of them.

      Now, I have a Raspberry Pi running Kodi and a PS4 connected to it using HDMI cables, and I use the remote controller for the TV to select files on my NAS (Kodi) or to select content from Netflix and Amazon Prime (PS4), to play, jump forward and back, and to pause streams.

      I think that this shows that the TV is receiving a signal from the remote controller and is sen

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        Thanks for the confirmation that it's possible. I know the ps4 lets you disable this functionality, although I expect the hypothetical TV would just show the ad anyways, and you'd have to back up to see what you missed.

      • It's an optional part of HDMI, called CEC [wikipedia.org]. Very useful, but in a lot of cases I found that the TV often wouldn't map the right buttons or wouldn't have all the buttons I needed.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Recall that the Kindle/Fire line of e-readers/tablets have a slightly cheaper version which shows large ads on the lock screen. In my experience they resemble the scrolling ads on Netflix for shows they offer, that works as a screen saver, which I haven't heard anyone complain about or even mention. If that bothers you, you can spend a few dollars more for the model with no ads. So silent ads as screen savers, sure why not.

      It's worth noting you don't even have to make the decision at the time of purchase. You can pay a one-time fee to Amazon and get the advertising removed from the "~with Special Offers" models post-purchase, too.

  • by Rip!ey ( 599235 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @04:30AM (#55497561)
    I don't need a law. I just need a router with a Firewall. And I have one.

    As an Australian though, unless they advertise such a "feature" at the point of sale, I can take it back. It's clearly broken, and not working as advertised or expected. And if they advertise it, then nobody will buy it. Furthermore, if they all do it together, I can demonstrate collusion.

    Worst case, some cheap Chinese manufacturer lies waiting in the wings to take advantage of such a situation. Best case, the Japanese manufacturers will not fail face.

    It's a non question, anyway you look at it.
    • And if they advertise it, then nobody will buy it.

      You're underestimating human stupidity. And greed. And miserliness.

      I would never have thought people would buy a TV that includes a camera they don't control and put said TV into their bedroom. But they did. You think they wouldn't buy a 80" TV for 300 if the fine print tells them it will constantly bombard them, I mean, entertain them with custom tailored ads that have been selected JUST FOR THEM?

      You bet people will buy that junk.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Have fun watching you 5 year old pre-installed, intentionally annoying Pepsi ads, because you blocked your TV from downloading new ads.

      • It doesn't matter if you're connected or not. Hulu and Pluto already show you the exact same ad a gazillion times per show, that's why they're so much more annoying than traditional TV ads.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @05:00AM (#55497617) Homepage

    The easy answer: I don't understand why anyone would by a television anymore. Buy a dumb screen, or a projector, and put whatever content you want on it.

    I confess, we do have a commercial tuner (cable box) as one possible input to our projector, but it is only used to tune in standard cable channels. Films and such go directly from our media server.

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      The problem is that its such a cheap feature to add. Its becoming the norm.
    • I was looking for a largeish screen, just HD sort of quality, although I'd have 'traded up' to 4K without too much thinking about it. The cheapest solution was infact to buy a TV. No idea why a screen with no tuners, 'smart' features or speakers is more expensive, but it seems it is.

      Just a quick look on Amazon, and the top result for "32 inch smart tv" was a panasonic at £199. The top (flat) hit for "32 inch monitor" was a Samsung at £269 (with speakers & camera built in). I'm sure there are

    • I have an LG Smart TV with the magic remote and it's way better than any of the setups suggested here. The magic remote works just like a mouse. I use Amazon Streaming, YouTube, Skype (occasionally) and it's really a pleasant experience. Single remote for everything. No fussing.
  • step by step (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There's no big uprising when facebook, windows 10, oculus rift, nvidia drivers, ... collect all the data they can. Data, for which the only commercial value is ads.

    Why would anyone expect that there will be more resistance when TVs, cars, or toasters do it? Step by step, advertisers will get every piece of data, from everywhere.

    If we're lucky the ads-bubble might burst. Unfortunately, collecting data and distributing ads everywhere is getting far too cheap, so its unlikely.

    Prepare for a future that looks li

  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @05:23AM (#55497695)
    Unfortunately, I suspect that the law most likely to defend the interests of the buyer of "smart" TVs in this case is going to be consumer protection law. In the specific scenario described by the OP, I think that this may hinge on the decisions that a typical buyer would have made at the time of purchase. For example, we know that it is technically possible to have a smart TV without forced commercials, because many of us own them today.

    We also can find out whether or not users choose to purchase smart TVs with forced in-line advertisements through analysis of buying trends as this technology is introduced. And we can add the uproar that Samsung faced when they "accidentally" altered some of their TVs, by pushing new firmware [without user action], is a pretty clear indicator that this modification is *not* welcome.

    What it all boils down to is choice. If a buyer can show that they would not have chosen to purchase a model of TV if they had known, at the time of purchase, that it would subsequently be modified to show commercials, then the manufacturer of the smart TV is going to have a problem on their hands. This is not the first time this issue has been discussed - and the last time it came around I used the following analogy:-

    Suppose that you went out and bought yourself a new car. For a year you drove it around and it was just what you wanted - absolutely perfect. Then you booked it in for it's first service, and when the car was handed back to you, the dealer had put a big light rig across the roof, with the word "TAXI" on it, they had put decals and logos down the side, and now you were obliged to stop and give rides to people who hailed you. Even better, if you did this [because you had no choice] any money generated from these rides went to the dealer, not to you...

    This is a variation on the concept of post-purchase modification to a product. Put in this context it is entirely unacceptable, but in *legal* terms it is remarkably similar to what Samsung did with their TVs and the subject of the OP's question.

    I think the only way that we can resist this is to vote with our wallets. If we find ourselves in a situation where all manufacturers of Smart TVs do this, then we're going to have to rely on Consumer Protection laws to defend us. I would not give high hopes for our chances.
  • And very likely, they will.
    The point is: should they?
    My personal answer is "no, they shouldn't, unless the user agrees".

  • Don't give them ideas!
  • The government is not your parent and you are not an infant. If you agree to get a discounted or even free TV set in exchange for inserted advertisements, it is your choice and you should be free to make it or decline. Why do so many people think that they always know what is better for other people and want to force their "wisdom" onto everybody with laws (and therefore threat of fines or jail)?

    • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @06:31AM (#55497873)
      Come on, that's entirely specious...

      If a manufacturer had pairs of all the TV models they sold, at 2 different prices, one with "commercial free" and the other with a warning that made it crystal clear to the consumer that they were buying a product in which the *product* would insert content, over and above the ability of the user to control, then that would be fair. Amazon did exactly this with their lower-priced Kindle readers - in return for a discounted product, you agreed to take advertisements.

      That is most assuredly not happening here. In this case, vendors are taking advantage of the ability to remotely update *your* product, which you purchased under a set of terms and conditions and under the protection of the "Sale of Goods Act" [or your local equivalent] and now the vendor are trying to argue that they have the legal authority to remotely alter/degrade the functionality of the product even if doing so is against your will.

      Nope. No way. The Kindle example sets a clear precedent of what can be done by a vendor wishing to explore this revenue stream. Personally, I don't see many takers. If you can afford to buy a decent Smart TV, you can avoid the advert-free model... Or you can buy from someone else! I happen to own a Samsung Smart TV - and if they [Samsung] started to embed commercials in my TV, not only would I junk it, I would never buy another Samsung product again. There are plenty of others to choose from.
      • No disagreement on changing the product afterwards. No different than if Samsung changed your 4K TV to only display 480i content via a software update - you should be able to claim it as defective under warranty or return programs. If they do it after warranty, that's unfortunate but no different than if their update failed and your TV was bricked - after warranty you have no recourse other than what you already mentioned, junk it and never buy another product from them again.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      The government is not your parent and you are not an infant. If you agree to get a discounted or even free TV set in exchange for inserted advertisements, it is your choice and you should be free to make it or decline.

      Correct, but the key point is that the terms and conditions of the TV are presented at the time of sale in a way that allows the consumer to make an informed choice. If this is not done, it's considered fraud.

      • If the TV no longer works as advertised, then in my book it's broken and should be repaired if under warranty or exchanged. If it broke after warranty, no recourse other than bad reputation for the product.

        This is a much bigger problem by the way than just TV's. It applies to all products which can be updated over-the-air. How much functionality is a manufacturer allowed to change or remove before you can claim the product is broken? I'll give you an example, I bought a car in 2013 and couple of months into

        • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

          If the TV no longer works as advertised, then in my book it's broken and should be repaired if under warranty or exchanged. If it broke after warranty, no recourse other than bad reputation for the product.

          Well, you see, it doesn't particularly matter what your opinion or mine is on that. Two things matter: 1) How the FTC views the issue in the context of the law and 2) As long as the details of the product are made clear to consumers, the free market will sort it out. If no one likes the products, there will be no demand and thus it would be irrational for the producer to continue producing a product for which there is no demand. As has been stated many times on this site, vote with your wallet.

          Personally

  • They're the same thing but without the built-in bullshit

  • ...if it doesn't have an internet connection? Or how about if I block all the ad servers on my router? Even if some company tries to do this, there are easy ways to defeat this that have been used for decades now.
    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      The ad system, analytics, and telemetry, only require a few megabytes a month of data to download and update.

      We are fast approaching the point where Samsung / Sony / etc could sell you a TV with a cellular radio good and 20GB pre-paid data that would last it 20 years.

      It doesn't need to connect to your network, or follow your routers rules.

  • ...will do just nice for OTA TV. Internet stuff (Youtube/Netflix) is best accessed by a small media player PC.

  • 0. The summary offered a link to, not TFA, but to another /. article, where TFA was actually linked. Um, hey, /. editors, are you clickfarming?

    1. TFA, dated February 2015 (yes, more than 2 years old), makes some interesting points:

    - One report claimed the user was viewing content on the Plex server. Seems as if a media server wouldn't prevent ad insertion, much to the chagrin of current commentators who purport that a media server would defeat this 'feature'.
    - Another report claimed the problem ap

  • Most of us here with decent jobs, where we can surf and post in slashdot during working hours with impunity, will hate this. We value our time. We filter out web ads. We filter out TV ads using TiVo or streaming services. We stop consuming broadcast TV and cable TV to avoid ads.

    But we are a minority. Majority of the people don't have money to spare, they don't have time to spare either due to working multiple jobs. They are just too tired to fight, and they will succumb to "4K TV 60 inch screen for 99$,

  • by Luthair ( 847766 )
    oh why is this story on Slashdot? Lets be concerned about this hypothetical scenario (triggered by something in 2015, talk about behind the times) instead of what TV manufacturers are actually doing today - actively spying on what you watch. [consumerreports.org]
  • The smart-tv action being described is the production of derivative works for copyrighted works (all those TV shows...) without the permission of the copyright holder and for a profit. This is felony copyright infringement, plain and simple.

    As is the insertion of ads into web pages by ISPs, FWIW.

  • by mcmonkey ( 96054 )

    Because your "smart tv" was never connected to the network.

    What's that? You gave your TV network access?

    OK, then you get ads. Sucker.

  • The 2016 version of Vizio's P series came with a VERY basic IR remote and the rest of the setup and features were controlled through an app (on either the included Android tablet or installable on an iPhone.) Which basically mandated that the TV was on the wireless network all of the time.

    They ditched this for the 2017 models for ease of use, but how long before another manufacturer tries this again and manages to make it stick?

  • You can always just never configure the "smart" features, never connect the TV to the Internet at all if you don't want to use the "smart" features. Current TVs all can function as a regular display just fine, even those super-spy Vizio TVs [forbes.com] that had software to software in the read pixel data from a segment of the screen could be used offline.

    If you want to worry about targeted advertising injection, look at your local cable provider and their set-top box. That's a much more likely source of leakage ab

  • If they tell you this TV at this price, but we get to inject ads, Dont fucking bitch. You have a fucking choice. Make it like a fucking adult.
  • "Are there any laws anywhere that would protect TV owners from such intrusive advertising?" so long as the what is going on is FULLY DISCLOSED and buyer is aware of what is happening. Why would you need or even want a law preventing it. Say someone wants to give away tv. or sell them for a dollar. That makes them available to people who otherwise wouldn't have them. So they have to put up with ads. Some people would be happy with that. Others just not use it. Not like anyone dies if they don't like

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