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Samsung To Roll Out In-TV Ads To Legacy Displays Via Software Update 304

An anonymous reader writes: According to an insider at Samsung's growing advertising team in New York, the second-largest consumer tech manufacturer in the world is planning to retrofit older network-connected TVs to display tiled ads via a software update. The South Korean company, which has seen a 20.9% decline in television sales in Q1 of 2016 under fierce competition from China, has included 'baked' ads into the interface of its recent TV offerings, and also experimented with injecting ads into users' streamed video, transmitting voice commands to a third party -- and, ironically, battling Android over its own AdBlocking technology.
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Samsung To Roll Out In-TV Ads To Legacy Displays Via Software Update

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  • by ChodaBoyUSA ( 2532764 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @09:48AM (#52216965)
    "The South Korean company, which has seen a 20.9% decline in television sales in Q1 of 2016 under fierce competition from China..." So they give consumers MORE reasons NOT to buy their TVs?!!!
    • "The South Korean company, which has seen a 20.9% decline in television sales in Q1 of 2016 under fierce competition from China..." So they give consumers MORE reasons NOT to buy their TVs?!!!

      Yes, of course. Doesn't this make sense? If it doesn't, I'm sure they have an app you can download that will explain it, with pretty ads...

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:02AM (#52217109) Homepage Journal

      Of course, that's how short term bonuses work. My local council did the same thing. Revenue from parking was declining because the city is a shitty and no-one wants to visit it, so the jacked up the prices to above the level of much more attractive destinations. For a few months it worked and the consultant justified his fees and buggered off.

      Once people had been stung once or revenues declined even further, naturally. But who cares, the guy got his bonus, another great success to put on his CV. Next quarter is someone else's problem.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm a long time Samsung customer: Samsung TVs, fridge, dishwasher, multiple phones, and probably a few other things. I'm telling you right now - if they start injecting ads into my products I will NEVER buy from them again.

    • by DigitalSorceress ( 156609 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:07AM (#52217147)

      100% agree.

      Samsung used to be my go-to for monitors and TVs and such, but if they're going to start injecting ads on my TV, I will remove them from consideration next time I need to update.

      I will remove any TV from consideration that exhibits this behavior. I will vote with my wallet.

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        I used to respect Samsung, but if they keep doing that, I will just buy my next TV from their Chinese competitors, which won't have that issue.

        I'm content with TVs being TVs... no WAN connection needed. Plus, there are many devices which do the job better than "smart" TVs. A Roku model, Chromecast, AppleTV, or a HTPC is a lot more useful.

        • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:36AM (#52217405)

          Roku/Chromecast/AppleTV/HTPC + dumb computer monitor.

          Sure, you won't be able to find a 60" display but at least you'll be 100% sure that your display won't start spying on you or display unwanted things.

          • by steveg ( 55825 )

            I thought about doing something like this, but when I went looking for a "dumb computer monitor" of appropriate size, it turned out it was *much* more expensive than any TV.

        • Don't just stop buying from them. They've noticed a drop in sales and are doing these stupid things in response. Send them an email explaining why you won't buy their products until they change their ways. They probably won't even respond let alone change their ways. But at the very least how can you expect them to change if you don't inform them. Maybe if enough people did this then they would change. Perhaps they aren't getting hit by the Chinese manufacturers but it's just many people not buying their

          • lovely let's start an annoying ad campaign to get people to sign a petition against annoying ads

            • Where did I say start an ad campaign? I just said to write a letter. I didn't say anything about trying to get other people to write letters.

              • Sorry, I just thought that's where it would have to go before it would do any good.

                • Yes, in order for it to do any good many people would have to do this. I don't know how to achieve this. It's just something that I do when I take my business elsewhere because a company can't change if they don't know why I'm moving. It's also handy when dealing with the new business if they make me unhappy because I can remind them that they only have my business as I switched to them. They normally shape up pretty quick.

                  I stopped buying from Adidas because they continued supporting FIFA. I wrote them but

          • Even better: Tweet them, let the rest of the world see your complaint.

      • I wouldn't buy a Samsung TV anyway: they're all "smart TVs" now so naturally they're going to be prone to this kind of crap. Stick with the dumb TVs. I'm pretty sure Seiki still sells good-quality dumb TVs, maybe Vizio too.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          The problem is that today, people have 5-10 devices attached to their TV. in the '70s, you had maybe one VCR. In the '80s, you had a VCR and a game-console (often such that they both ran on channel 3, and you could only have one on at a time). Now, you have 2-3 consoles, a DVD player you don't use (because all the game consoles play DVDs and 2/3 of the big-3 play Blu-Ray), plus one or more media players (some prefer the HD-based off-line players with piles of ripped DVDs on them, others prefer the online
    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      No kidding, my first reaction was "Guess who I won't be buying my next TV from"

    • Sounds like Color Printers. Buy them cheap and then pay a lot of money on the consumables. But wait - I spent $2,000 buying my fancy TV and now they want to "inject" ads into it?

      My problems with this ad model is that I can't opt out. Think of regular TV - I can watch network TV "for free" and view ads.... or purchase HBO/Netflix/etc for the ad-free experience. How will I opt out in this model?

      Spending $2,000 apparently wasn't enough.

  • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @09:48AM (#52216967)

    Seriously what the hell!

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:08AM (#52217161) Journal
      The nasty thing about upgradeable firmware is that it effectively means that hardware is governed by all the various nasty terms, conditions, EULAs, licensed-not-solds, and subject-to-change-without-notice that software is.

      It's times like this when Stallman's vociferous demand for nothing less than fully free software as a necessary condition of user control looks more like lucid foresight and less like blinkered monomania. The issue was largely dormant back when firmware upgrades were hard and internet connections were the exception rather than the rule; but now it is eminently practical for a vendor to extend their control over something they supposedly sold to you more or less in perpetuity.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        What happens if you decline the new EULA?

        If my TV did this I'd return it to the shop for a refund. I bought it to avoid ads (that's what the smart features are for, watching media without ads) and now it's not fit for purpose.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          There's no need for a EULA. You're not making a copy of anything, the firmware comes pre-installed on the device. So, there's no need for the end user to agree to any sort of EULA in order to use the device. Even for a firmware upgrade, there's no need for a license, the consumer isn't copying the firmware, the manufacturer is, by pushing it to the device.
      • Exactly: people laughed and mocked Stallman for his principles and advocacy of Free software, and now look at how things are turning out: he's been proven right. But people made their choice, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Part of me is laughing my ass off about a lot of stuff going on these days like this, or like Windows 10 and all the stuff people complain about there, because people have done it to themselves. I think the future is likely to turn out like a hellish cross between 1984

  • I should buy a Samsung TV

    But what if I don't want ads?

    • by whitelabrat ( 469237 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @09:52AM (#52217007)

      Don't connect the TV to the internet. No internet, no ads. Use an external device for providing content.

      • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:26AM (#52217325) Homepage Journal

        That's what I did years ago when I had a Samsung TV. I never connected it to my network and just played torrented content.

      • OK, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @11:06AM (#52217633)
        I purchased a new Samsung TV in December 2015 and this was not discussed as even a possibility when I chatted through options and scenarios with the store. I chose an internet-connected TV because I live in an apartment building that cannot get satellite TV, so my best option for a wider set of programming was for a net-connected TV... I took a NetFlix subscription and already had Amazon Prime.

        However, for Samsung to start injecting commercials into the non-program parts of the TV [for example in the menus] would be a complete breach of the terms and conditions under which the set was purchased. It would be a bit like you purchasing a car, running it for 6 months, then being told by the manufacturer that, "Hey, we've decided your car is now a taxi. You'll have to take fee-paying passengers about when you drive. We won't ask you to change the route, but we will keep all the proceeds of the free rides you need to give."

        Not happening.

        In the UK at least I think this would fall fall of the "Goods and Services Act", might likely be "false advertising" [for failing to disclose the intent to push adverts], etc, etc.

        Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Samsung have tried this. They did it a couple of years ago in Australia and New Zealand, where subscribers to paid network services [like NetFlix] suddenly saw crude, badly-formatted adverts appearing in the middle of (paused) Amazon Prime streaming content. There was uproad, and Samsung pulled the firmware update, hastily claiming it was pushed in error...

        We might need to get ready for the same level of uproar if they try again...
    • by lobiusmoop ( 305328 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @09:59AM (#52217081) Homepage

      Get used to it, it's the inevitable future of TV. []

    • just saying...

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        ... yet.

        • ... yet.

          Nor likely ever.

          Afterall, Apple just DISMANTLED its foray into the Banner-Ad space ("iAd"); and considering the time and effort that went into creating that infrastructure having to be taken as a loss on their next Quarter's statement, I doubt seriously if their Board is going to want to venture back into those waters again anytime soon.

          Plus, iAd was definitely outside of what Apple considers their most important and main profit-center: Hardware sales.

      • To be honest, there are some ads creeping up over there. Was watching a show on the history channel app via apple TV the other day. Showtime add about every three minutes. Same one every time. Was annoying as hell.

        More of a history channel app issue than an Apple TV issue. But it's still there.

      • Why am I under the impression that it still has advertising only it's more subtle than new cars and feminine hygiene products because it's top movies, shows, and new releases.

    • But what if I don't want ads?

      Then don't watch TV. You may have to wear a blindfold and earplugs if you need to avoid ads entirely in this world.

  • by haemish ( 28576 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @09:50AM (#52216981)

    A key success metric will be milliseconds-to-first-lawsuit. 4 digits? 5? It'll sure be a non-Samsung shopping opportunity for me if my TV starts exhibiting this behavior.

    • What are you going to sue for? You agree to this when you agreed to the EULA. Have fun with all your ads, suckers!

  • they can now go and fuck themselves

  • Fuck All Ads. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:05AM (#52217133)
    I'm done with ads. I will pirate ad free. Forever and ever. You can't make me like your ads. I am not watching nor participating. Arrest me now fuckheads. I hope all ad companies die and I hope all companies who support ads die. Find another way to make money or fuck off forever.
    • Yes but this TV will show you ads with your pirated content. The ads are separate from what is being shown so it doesn't matter if you are watching a DVD, cable, streaming content, or something you downloaded.

    • I'm done with ads. I will pirate ad free. Forever and ever. You can't make me like your ads. I am not watching nor participating.

      Find another way to make money or fuck off forever.

      They already have. []

  • The next TV I buy will have to work out of the box because anyone is clearly nuts to plug one of these things into the internet.
    • The next TV I buy will have to work out of the box because anyone is clearly nuts to plug one of these things into the internet.

      If the TV can't connect to the DRM server to check whether it has been reported as stolen, it must assume it is, to prevent a thief from using it. It is for your own protection, honored customer. It's because Samsung cares about you.

  • Why do I get ads (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:20AM (#52217283) Homepage Journal

    On something that I paid full price for?

    This seems like bait-and-switch to me, and potentially actionable fraud.

  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:21AM (#52217291)

    I've got a few years old Samsung Smart TV.

    Every month or two, I get a notice about another service being discontinued. I think I'm down to maybe three whole apps that still work on it.

    Sure, these are invasive ads that weren't a part of the product I bought. But at least Samsung is finally adding in place of their constant stripping of functionality.

    When you're a Smart TV owner, you take victories where you can find them.

    • I'm having similar experiences with my 5 year old Sony. The Netflix app is lame & slow by today's standards. These days my TV is just a monitor with an AppleTV/Amazon-thingy plugged into it. I'd be pissed if the TV suddenly started showing ads.

      I learned this back in the 1970's as a kid watching the Betamax vs VHS wars. Betamax was sweet sounding. But it lost out. Instead buy everything as components (at least things that might last)... and if not a component buy it cheap so it isn't so painful

    • by GWBasic ( 900357 )
      That's why I bought a dumb TV, and then the smart dongle of the day. (HTPC, then a Chromecast, now an NVidea Shield.) Honestly, the Chromecast is so cheap, and Android TV on the up-and-up, that I see no reason to buy a smart TV.
  • Dear Samsung,

    What part of "NO" was unclear?


    Every Consumer In The World

  • by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:59AM (#52217589)
    Why the fuck did you buy tvs that need to be plugged into the internet? Stuff plugs in to the tv not the other way around. It's easy enough to get all the content online on your tv without putting the fucking thing online itself. TVs with OS, multiple hunded mb updates, to a fucking TV? I will never buy a smart tv and none of you should either, or before too long our tvs will come with a power lead and rj45 socket (or they'll not bother with that and go wireless only) and that's it. All a tv should do is display exactly the content you put to it. HDMI/USB or just plain old aerial signal. Fuck smart tvs, and shame on anyone who bought one. Throw them in the bin with the 3d TVs. Curved screens are the only gimmick that actually add anything of value (if you're in the sweet spot that is, otherwise you need't've bothered).
    • by steveg ( 55825 )

      Good luck finding a "dumb" TV.

      Everything you say is right, except that more and more "don't buy a smart TV" is equivalent to "don't buy a TV."

      Well, almost everything. Curved TVs are every bit as useful as smart TVs (which is to say, not at all.)

  • Remember the simpler times when you turned a tv on and it just displayed exactly what you wanted?

    About once a month my current TV will become unresponsive to all controls (remote and buttons on the back). My only course of action is to pull everything from the wall and unplug the damn thing for 30 seconds.

    At least it doesn't play ads. Our current one is connected to the internet only because my wife cannot figure out the Roku or the Xbox One to stream......
  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @11:31AM (#52217903) Journal
    This is beyond rediculous. Why would you pay for a TV that pulls this shit on you? I do not pay premium dollars for a television set that shoves gods-be-damned ADS in my face! All I need a TV to be is a monitor, that's all. I don't even understand why anyone would buy a so-called 'smart' TV in the first place; doesn't everyone either have a DVR, a media center computer, or just watch cable/satellite/OTA broadcasts? On top of all that are the news stories we've all read about how these so-called 'smart TVs' are spying on us. What's next? Are they going to require you to watch streaming ads before it'll allow you to watch whatever you're feeding to the TV to watch? Why is anyone putting up with this shit?

    I will NEVER buy a 'smart TV'. Ever.
  • Just curious, how will these sorts of ads be displayed to viewers, and when?

    Are they talking about doing this while watching Cable TV programming? While streaming using one of the built-in apps, like Netflix or Vudu? Just while viewing the Smarthub screen?

    Does anyone know?

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984