1. Don't buy a Samsung or LG TV. Unfortunately, if you're in the market for a real high-end TV, you often don't have another option
2. Never connect it to the internet and use a dedicated streaming box/stick instead. If you don't have one, or don't want to give up a HDMI port...
3. Block the following domains on your router or via a free OpenDNS account:
No more ads.
This shit makes my blood boil. I have a laundry list of issues with this TV, which is a shame because when it's not actively trying to make me hate the company it's actually a very nice display. LG pull this shit too, but I think they're slightly less awful than Samsung. I didn't particularly want an OLED panel which is why I went for a Samsung LCD, and I regret that decision regularly.
I’ve been running a pihole on my home network which also actually removes a lot of client side inserted ads during video playback which is another huge upside.
My other issue is that I find ads on something that costs > £1000 to be incredibly distasteful. If it was some bargain basement thing fine, but this is meant to be top tier.
This is why "pay XOR ads" is a pipe dream: vendors will always turn it into "pay AND ads", because selecting for people with disposable income makes ROI on advertising much better.
The problem here is, by not doing this kind of shady shit, which is currently normalized as a business practice, you're leaving lots of money on the table. The temptation to pick it up is strong. Maybe you can resist it, but will your investors? Will your shareholders?
If we could figure out how to resist, in a reproducible way, the market pressure favoring antisocial behavior, the world would be a much better place.
 - https://frame.work/
Isn't that what regulation is for? If business practices harm society, then you legally rein in the business, financially discouraging them from committing such practices.
Change doesn't happen instantly but a dedicated lobbying campaign and activism will yield results.
Can't remember the product name anymore, unfortunately.
And, there's one for FireTV
- AirPlay (audio/video)
- Spotify Connect
- YouTube 4K
- USB MP4 (& MKV)
- Netflix 4K
- Amazon Prime 4K
And is super polished & responsive? If so I'd be interested, but my LG TV, crummy as its ads are, does all this out the box. I'd happily pay some money to have more control.
I suppose the TV can still use the pendrive even offline, actually.
What advantages does an AppleTV 4K (£169) have over a Roku Streaming Stick+ (£45)?
It works quite well even when my phone is streaming media that's on cloud storage somewhere (nPlayer supports many). But for optimal playback I download the file to my device first.
Of course if you want Dolby Atmos sound, I think you're out of luck. I think HDR should work but not sure.
edit: You can also install app on the ATV that accesses files stored over the network/internet as well, like VLC for ATV. Though I've never found a great one.
Isn't that covered by your airplay requirement?
If you have a solution I'm all ears!
My understanding is that it supports 4k and a range of streaming devices but I can’t say if it handles it flawlessly because I don’t have hardware to try it.
I have a 28.99GB H.265 5.1 Atmos MKV file of Linux tutorials that I would like to play on it, sitting on my MacBook.
What is the most painless way to play it on the Apple TV with no loss of quality (other than the surround, which will be played on 2.0 speakers anyway).
And the Raspberry Pi is $35 so it's not a hugely expensive addition.
I used to re-encode MKVs to MP4s for playback on the AppleTV 3rd gen, but since getting the Apple TV 4K (2nd gen), I simply shuttle over the MKVs to VLC from the web interface.
You can also run a file server on your computer, and tell VLC where to access it over the network.
I believe that VLC isn't the only app on the AppleTV that can play MKVs, but it's the one I use.
In case you're wondering, the AppleTV is powerful enough to stream + transcode the MKV files on the fly. I've never had issues, at least with 1080p files. 4K should be fine, too.
HN is generally down on integrated TVs, but the truth is that they're honestly fine nowadays, and much more likely to have robust integration of services than boxes are. And if support goes downhill after a while, you can buy a box then when there will maybe be better options.
There are AirPlay receivers for the Shield IIRC but they are unofficial and unsupported.
I do disable HDMI-CEC anyway just to stop user-hostile features like Hulu on Roku disabling the input select button on the TV remote.
Ironically, Vizio TVs (one of the budget brands) seem to be one of the least aggressive about trying to display ads in ways which are difficult to bypass. That's what I bought and I don't connect it to the network, and I block these ad domains (among others) network-wide.
The only budget manufacturers that give two shit about quality seem to be Hisense, TCL and Vizio.
What about Sony?
Plus, doesn't Android TV have ads anyway? I haven't used it extensively but a quick search seems to suggest it does.
I haven't figured out how to roll the firmware back, but I have blocked basically all of the domains it accesses with pihole, and after a cache clear, it only displays default messages imploring the user to check out youtube and other google products. It's inoffensive enough that I haven't continued exerting effort to quash them.
Lo and behold, the service technician suggested I simply disable the internet on the TV and that they'd happily help me with that. Of course I didn't (I hung up on them), but out of curiosity I disabled the WLAN on it anyway and restarted it just to see what happened.
The ads were cached. There is absolutely no way to escape the ads on Samsung's TVs. I'll never buy another Samsung product again - it's my belief those sorts of practices are indicative much more sinister, less obvious anti-consumer practices.
Thank you Samsung but no thanks. Any "smarts" I need from my TV, I will add myself. This way, I know exactly what I am getting.
Privacy is only half the issue. Freedom is the other half. Most manufacturers control what you're allowed to install on your "smart" TV. And most can't record either.
How "dumb" is that?
If not on the receiver, the client (likely your phone) may be reporting it.
And then if not that, wherever you're streaming from may be reporting viewing habits.
This seems like another one of those things that's just intractable because the overhead is too high. You can limit who gets your viewing habits, but preventing anyone from getting them is hard. Similar to tracking on the internet.
The solution is legislation, not playing cat and mouse with corporations.
All devices stream via Kodi from my NAS
I will never have ads and always have complete privacy.
I also don't have any streaming services because none of them have an option to avoid ads and maintain privacy no matter how much you pay them.
When I can buy physical copies of content, I often do. Sadly in most cases the only way to consume modern media in full 4k quality for any amount of money with privacy and without ads, is piracy.
Exercise to the reader to see what is still sent when it's disabled.
I've updated their firmware a couple times. I connect them with wired cat6 on their own isolated VLAN to update, and then disconnect them afterwards. Maybe I am a little unnecessarily paranoid about it, but I don't really trust TV manufacturers, not with some of the (maybe apocryphal) stories I've read.
I don't keep the firmware preemptively updated, though. I just did it as a debugging step in trying to fix some problems, and shockingly it did both times.
I have a decade old Sony Bravia that we got because it supported DVB-T (terrestrial digital television; now no longer in use because of a switch to DVB-T2) without the need for a set-top box. It has an Ethernet jack, but other than some experimentation after we got it I never connected it. I can't imagine ever trying to update its firmware at this point; no reward and plenty of risk. After DVB-T went we just stopped watching broadcast television, and this early 'smart' TV only gets turned on sitting on the HDMI input it gets from a receiver hooked up to loudspeakers and an HTPC with Netflix in a browser and other media. Of all its features the on/off button on the side is the only thing interacted with now. I've stopped repairing the remote years ago.
I fully expect it to just die one of these days, and it will probably be the last smart TV we'll ever own.
Of course there will be bugs when you’re consuming content at the very bleeding edge. I’d rather still fight with getting some Dolby stuff to work than not have it at all.
I have loved this TV (C9), but I can see what LG is doing and I do not like it at all. I was planning on getting a CX 48” for my desktop monitor but decided against it after this experience.
This is the only way. And beware, they might still be connecting to some public wifi hotspot behind your back.
Routing data to the CPU wouldn't make much difference without a network connection to transmit the data back to central collection point.
Tracking won’t work without a phone home though. But that’s a solved problem. We’ve been delivering ads for a while without 100% knowing which are watched.
Do satellite TV boxes even have an uplink connection? AFAIK the satellite dish is one direction only.
Policy requires a telephone connection, partly for the purpose of reducing subscription sharing.
Pirates and many others wouldn’t or couldn’t plug them in.
Once an update was built to check for a dial tone intermittently and eventually deactivate, so pirates created a 555 timer device with a 9V battery to generate a frequency close to the dialtone. Even though a dialtone is 2 frequencies, the modem accepted any single frequency remotely close to the right range.
At some point, the provider would call subscribers with several boxes on the same sub that didn’t phone home and ask for “secret” numbers from all receivers, but someone quickly published a program that generated those keys. Saves legit customers from walking around the house too.
It's not a TV and doesn't have any consumer-grade apps preinstalled, but there is a Google Play store icon so I'm pretty sure you can install Netflix on it if you wanted to.
That's what we bought, but we still don't connect it to a network and only use hdmi inputs. Plus disabled quite a few apps via adb, and don't update the software.
It's sad that this is what it's come to.
I also suspect that at least Android devices are starting to use other (Android) network devices as proxies to get data to Google when they've been firewalled with only LAN access.
Lots of unexplained data getting transferred on my home network between firewalled Android devices.
But maybe the state of things just has me being overly paranoid.
Could even geo-target ads. TV could figure out its location by GPS, multilateration of DVB signal strengths, what wifi is around, or purchase/delivery information (you didn’t stupidly get your 85” TV delivered to your own house, did you???).
Would be cool to have on-demand TV or other data distribution given how much spectrum is available on DVB-T.
Just like satellite Set top boxes.
Tons of unused spectrum overnight that should cost nearly $0, but they choose not to because we market prices would be bad for telecoms so it’s not on offer.
LG has plenty of its own problems, but I’d never buy another Sony TV and take every opportunity to shout it from the rooftops.
Outside of being picky on what brands to choose from, the next best thing is to just never use the "smart" features and rely on a third party box like Roku/Apple TV/Pi/Etc. I know some smart TV adds will still throw ad's in the menus, but you shouldn't have to use the menu's that frequently.
Industrial offerings were severely overpriced last time I checked.
I know I am hardly in the majority but having an actual computer hooked to your big panel is so much better than dealing with "apps" and ads.
How hard is it to make a profit selling a TV sized monitor?
This screenshot looks like a streaming content interface, and data mining you has been a fundamental part of all these services for years, right? Not saying it's great, just that this isn't new or unusual. Of course they're tracking what you watch for advertising purposes.
Or is this a fundamental part of the UI for a Samsung TV that you need to interact with for daily use even if you don't want content through Samsung? Because that would be unacceptable. I wouldn't buy a TV if it required an internet connection to function.
My favorite type of advertising is traditional TV commercials that can be fast forwarded or muted and fully skipped. There's never going to be a net decrease in advertising. Digital and streaming are just making it harder to skip, keep strictly separate from content, and receive anonymously.
So the problem with this approach is that, yes sure if you have the technical acumen you can prevent the TV from phoning home, but you are still giving money to the company that engages in this kind of behavior. And that money contributes to them developing more intrusive tools like this that target consumers of their products who do not have the requisite technical acumen to prevent the TV from phoning home.
In other words, by buying an adware TV and disabling the adware, you're still supporting the adware company instead of just buying a TV without adware in the first place.
Ironically I have a Samsung phone because I wouldn't give money to Google for hardware. We're just surrounded and choosing the lesser of various evils every day.
I really don't understand why otherwise tech-savvy users start acting like generic deer-in-the-headlights consumer tropes when faced with the prospect of TV sets. All you have to do is a basic web query for "best dumb TVs" and you'll find sites listing all manner of models and options.
I don't mind if they sell a bunch of smart TVs where they never capture the revenue they expect from apps, and it hurts their conversion and engagement metrics.
For example when pausing a Hulu stream on my Samsung TV....I'll get an ad for random crap (sometimes for things placed in a show) ok my pause screen.
Samsung TVs are basically giant billboard you pay to have in your home.
You say this, and yet you have one in your home. And this contradiction is why these things continue to thrive: because even people who care...also don't care.
Is there a Pi-hole version running on a something that I can PoE plug into the ethernet port of a TV?
I have not explored this much, but I recently bought an older Samsung plasma panel used. I want it for parts, but it does work somewhat poorly.
While experimenting with it, I found a few modes in the service menu: Demo, Kiosk, Hotel, etc...
Be sure and keep a settings record and or find the factory reset option before just changing stuff. It is possible to get sets into weird modes that are not easy to get out of.
My current main display is a big plasma panel that I love. And it is smart, but not too smart. No Internet = no ADS.
At this day and age, it's getting harder and harder to buy a TV, that is just a that, a TV. Now you have to agree to ToS and as soon as you connect it to the internet to access any service you subscribe, your data is sent to the manufacturer so it can be sold or monetized through ads.
Not everyone is able to block this (with a PiHole or with other tools). Does anyone know of a brand that sells quality displays but doesn't have this kind of "crap"?
We made it work by buying an Apple TV and a Sceptre dumb TV off Walmart's web site. Sceptre allegedly has picture quality problems, but the picture looks great; if certain shades of blue turn up 5 nits too dim I haven't noticed.