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Advertising Television Privacy

Viewing Data Harvested From Smart TVs Used To Push Ads To Other Screens? (securityledger.com) 148

chicksdaddy writes: In the latest episode of EULA overreach, electronics maker Vizio Holdings has been called out by the non profit investigative reporting outfit ProPublica for an on-by-default feature on its smart TVs called "Smart Interactivity" that analyzes both broadcast and streamed content viewed using the device. ProPublica noted that the company's privacy policy failed to clearly describe the tracking behavior, which included the collection of information such as the date, time, channel and whether the program was viewed live or recorded.

According to ProPublica, the monitoring of viewing information through IP addresses, while it does not identify individuals, can be combined with other data available in commercial databases from brokers such as Experian, creating a detailed picture of an individual or household. Vizio has since updated its privacy policy with a supplement that explains how "Smart Interactivity" works.

The bigger issue may be what that updated privacy policy reveals. As The Security Ledger notes, the updated Vizio privacy policy makes clear that the company will combine "your IP address and other Non-Personal Information in order to inform third party selection and delivery of targeted and re-targeted advertisements." Those advertisements "may be delivered to smartphones, tablets, PCs or other internet-connected devices that share an IP address or other identifier with your Smart TV."

In other words, TV viewing patterns will be used to serve ads to any device user who happens to be connected to the same network as the Vizio Smart TV — an obvious problem for households with a mix of say... adults and children?! Vizio does provide instructions for disabling the Smart Interactivity features and says that "connected" features of the device aren't contingent on monitoring. That's better than some other vendors. In 2014, for example, LG used a firmware update for its smart televisions to link the "smart" features of the device to viewer tracking and monitoring. Viewers who applied the update, but refused to consent to monitoring were not able to use services like Netflix and YouTube.

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Viewing Data Harvested From Smart TVs Used To Push Ads To Other Screens?

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  • Weasel words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @09:28AM (#50907783)
    Wow, who wouldn't want to leave "Smart Interactivity" on? I don't know what it is or does, but if it's smart, and interactive, I had better leave it on, right? I want to get my money's worth out of this smart TV. I sure don't want to start disabling the smart features on my new smart TV.

    Some marketing drone really earned their salary when they came up with that name.
    • I don't know what it is or does

      Making the right decision here creates or solves most of our privacy/security problems.

      • Industry collusion can largely negate realistic options. There is no reason services like netflix can't exist while preserving privacy (security is an illusion and therefore false by definition). But there is profit in stealing our data and therefore the industry creates an artificial dichotomy, choose between no/inferior service and your private data being stolen and sold by vendors.

        "LG used a firmware update for its smart televisions to link the "smart" features of the device to viewer tracking and monito
    • Re:Weasel words (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyAlternateID ( 4240189 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @10:28AM (#50908095) Homepage
      As I've advised people before, never give a smart TV its own Internet connection. Instead, use a cheap media center PC and an HDMI cable (or whatever). It will be a small portion of the cost of setting up a home theater. Then you'll have something that has serious storage, can stream whatever you like, has upgradable hardware, and easily updatable software. If you go open source, you won't have to worry about phoning home and you can put the package manager in your cron tab.

      While I've advised this in the past for security purposes (I'm not on board with the whole Internet of Things for solid reasons), it's no surprise that we're seeing concrete privacy reasons as well. Corporations and the sociopaths who run them have no sense of honor or respect for their customers. That's why you can't expect them to simply ignore another chance to get advertising revenue. They're counting on the average person being too stupid and ill-informed to resist and that alone is why they don't deserve to get their way.

      It would be nice to see customers rejecting this kind of practice early on, rather than waiting for it to become so bad and widespread that government finally sees an opportunity (yet one more thing to regulate!) and steps in.
      • It would be nice to see customers rejecting this kind of practice early on, rather than waiting for it to become so bad and widespread that government finally sees an opportunity (yet one more thing to regulate!) and steps in.

        You kind of nailed the issue, but how do you figure that the customer can foil the sociopath? Disliking regulations is good and all, but the sociopaths don't need no stinking EULA, they'll just collect it secretly if they want too. Does the solution have to be a 1985 Television and over-the-air reception?

        I have pretty much the same cynical outlook you do towards this stuff, but 90 percent of people don't, and a sizable group has their cynicism misplaced in moon landing and rainbow conspiracies.

        And that'

        • You kind of nailed the issue, but how do you figure that the customer can foil the sociopath?

          The way I see it, it's up to us, on an interpersonal level, to make sure our friends and family hear about these things especially when they're making a significant purchase.

          Disliking regulations is good and all, but the sociopaths don't need no stinking EULA, they'll just collect it secretly if they want too. Does the solution have to be a 1985 Television and over-the-air reception?

          The problem with regulations is that they're imposed by the same kind of sociopaths who created these problems in the first place. They're also a shitty substitute for an informed public. I'll take a 1985 television over a 1984 telescreen any day, but with some basic understanding of networking a potentially hostile device can be cont

        • Does the solution have to be a 1985 Television and over-the-air reception?

          So cable TV, satellite, and streaming are such gods-be-damned great alternatives? How does 'FREE HDTV' sound to you, pretty good? That's OTA broadcasts. Buy an antenna, once, and get free HDTV, and the quality is as good if not better than anything else (less compression).

          • They are better alternatives if you want a wider selection of programming. That is the key. Believe me though I am no pay tv loyalist been cord free for a while now. It does make it kind of interesting finding specific shows you are interested in legally that is.
            • Re:Weasel words (Score:4, Interesting)

              by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @05:46PM (#50911215) Journal
              I'm starting to wonder about people. I used to have cable and spent what seems like way too much time watching TV. These days it's all OTA and I have other interests and TiVo gets piled up with things I enjoy watching because I'm busy with other things. What I start to wonder is whether people should be spending less time watching TV and more time doing other things.
      • Nope, it will be half the cost : $200 for the TV and $200 for the mini PC, or $300 for TV and $300 for PC, or $400 and $150.. but the TV can play stuff on its own, even "non-smart" are somehow smart enough to play divx and h264 from USB drives. So a non-smart TV is smart already, "smart" means wifi or network and is a small incremental cost ergo the cheap TVs will likely have the features.

        • I guess smart TVs now need a tinfoil hat.

          Buying a smart TV isn't all that smart.

          $20 over-the-air antenna sure beats cable or satellite to keep your viewing habits private.

          • by D.McG. ( 3986101 )

            There is nothing broadcast over the airwaves that I'd be worried about. Heck, letting them know which primetime shows on ABC/CBS/NBC etc. that I watch would actually help the ratings of the shows, increasing the probability that my favorite shows will be picked up for another season.

            Why is it that the good sci-fi shows keep getting cancelled? Is it because the folks here are preventing the ratings from being calculated? Seems counter-intuitive.

            • There is nothing broadcast over the airwaves that I'd be worried about.

              Different strokes for different folks. I'll often watch the news, and there are a couple of shows I'll try to make a point of watching (Murdoch Mysteries and The Blackist). Sometimes the Big Bang Theory. CBC's Marketplace is pretty good for exposes on the latest scams. The odd movie. That's about it, I'm afraid. Really don't need cable or satellite.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        It would be nice to see customers rejecting this kind of practice early on, rather than waiting for it to become so bad and widespread that government finally sees an opportunity (yet one more thing to regulate!) and steps in

        TFA doesn't go into how this has been monetized before ad-serving: this is the new Neilson Ratings. Broadcast, stream, or torrent, a smart TV with an internet connection can report what you're watching to a ratings firm. The funny thing is: Neilson is an all-volunteer service, and had the TV makers been open about this I'm sure only a few /. nerds would have opted out, while most people would be delighted that their viewing habits were important to someone.

        I somehow doubt there will be much pushback about

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You state the open source solutions don't track users. Applications like Plex are infested with Google Analytics, while it can be filtered, it is on by default.

      • by nnull ( 1148259 )
        Unfortunately, due to the untrustworthy nature of devices lately, I've pretty much reverted to PFsense default settings: Block everything outgoing and incoming. If I need to browse the web, I just use squid and proxy. Tired of this crap.
    • the only IoT I have connected is my remote-control alarm system, because they have a surety bond.

    • Something that deceptive is illegal on a television ad. Why is it a deception free-for-all in Vizio configuration menus or bills in congress for that matter.

      This crap needs fixed. And frankly the privacy notices, terms and conditions, and end user license agreements should all be void if longer than 50 words in common English. Anything written for attorneys-by-attorneys does not constitute a meeting of minds when presented as an agreement for the purchase and use of a consumer good and/or service including
  • "In other words, TV viewing patterns will be used to serve ads to any device user who happens to be connected to the same network as the Vizio Smart TV — an obvious problem for households with a mix of say... adults and children?"

    How about a house with a mix of older and younger adults. My kids (23 and 21) watch all sorts of stuff that I don't and watch a lot more TV than me so my TV, laptop or whatever device on the same network would show ads that are dominated by the tastes of my children.

    Similarly

    • i get all kinds of lingerie and bra ads on my chrome browser because my wife surfs this stuff at home on safari. sometimes big fredricks of hollywood ads at work because i bought something a year ago and get emails into my gmail every other day
      • i get all kinds of lingerie and bra ads on my chrome browser because my wife surfs this stuff at home on safari. sometimes big fredricks of hollywood ads at work

        At our house it's only me, my wife and the cat. I'm seeing ads for something called "Ashley-Madison". Are they related to Dolly-Madison cupcakes?

        • i get all kinds of lingerie and bra ads on my chrome browser because my wife surfs this stuff at home on safari. sometimes big fredricks of hollywood ads at work

          At our house it's only me, my wife and the cat. I'm seeing ads for something called "Ashley-Madison". Are they related to Dolly-Madison cupcakes?

          Don't worry that's just the pussy looking for someone to play with.

        • I'm seeing ads for something called "Ashley-Madison". Are they related to Dolly-Madison cupcakes?

          Too much of the latter on the part of one can definitely lead to a craving for the former on the part of the other. ;)

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I was going to suggest installing AdBlock and Privacy Badger, but of course they are not available for smart TVs.

        Once again, APK's hosts file is looking like it will be useful again. A little DD-WRT script to download an integrate it with the router's DNS server seems wise. I just wish DD-WRT had an easy way to spy on URLs and IP addresses being accessed by a single device (my TV) so I can block them where they are inappropriate.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          The biggest hurdle really is the in ability to install ssl ca certs on these devices.

          SQUID with ssl_bump and using Privoxy as a forward works wonders. You can use iptables to redirect everything on 80/443 and 53 (tcp and udp) to your local router. I have found its very important to force the use of my own DNS as well.

          SQUID can be a transparent proxy and Privoxy does the filtering. The setup works really well but if you want to do SSL intercept you have to be able to install your own CA certificate on dev

      • i get all kinds of lingerie and bra ads on my chrome browser because my wife surfs this stuff at home on safari. sometimes big fredricks of hollywood ads at work because i bought something a year ago and get emails into my gmail every other day

        I get some women's clothing advertisements, and I have no idea what prompted that. I must have bought something from some group who has another business line.

        Regardless, its harmless, and the ladies look nice, so I let it through.

        Or is it..... Will some group decide I'm a cross dresser? That would be funny. Old Ol looks a tad like a hairy Neanderthal. Dressing that hot mess up like a wimmin would definitely scare off the normal folk.

      • Sure, sure, blame it on the wife :-)
    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @10:12AM (#50908039) Homepage Journal

      The advertising would be a mishmash of varying tastes

      It's still going to get a better result than the shotgun approach. Marketers are good at many things - not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good is one of them.

      • The advertising would be a mishmash of varying tastes

        It's still going to get a better result than the shotgun approach. Marketers are good at many things - not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good is one of them.

        Yeah, kind of. Before netflix allowed different profiles for different users my kids "consumed" every single kung fu movie on there. A year later I still can't get any "recommended for you" entries that aren't kung fu.

        I fear what my mix of commercials would look like.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      They have the technology, to solve that. They correlate the TV viewing with any other device that appears behind the same IP address. They have other research that tells them what demographics each show appeals to. Knowing you're an older adult with two grown children living with you is information they want to have as well.

      So they know the 21 year old probably isn't watching NCIS religiously, that has to be you. They track your other devices individually behind that NAT. They use cookies, your user ag

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        So, your claiming their TOS allows their device to enumerate the other devices on your network and report that they see 2 ipods, 3 iphones, 1 xbox, etc.
        I ??
  • Yet another reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @09:35AM (#50907815)

    Why "smart" internet connected TV's are a bad idea. If a device (any device) can spy on you to gather information a marketer might want, you should probably assume it will.

    Get a "dumb" TV (or a smart TV that you don't set up to connect to the internet), and use a dedicated device that you choose (and preferably an open one like XBMC that you explicitly control) to stream content to it. It's not much more expensive, and isolating components to only do the thing you expect them to do prevents this kind of attack on your privacy.

    • Sorry AC. I agree with you and moderated incorrectly.
    • Same problem for all IoT crap. Effectively you need to firewall it from your trusted network and the Internet, and manage any data exchange.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        Absolutely, it's not just "Smart TVs" that matter. A truly "Smart" TV would be one that has useful stuff built in that can work standalone. But as soon as you achieve that, you basically get what I have - an HTPC setup. And why would I want to limit my HTPC setup to a single screen that likely will be replaced? So, HTPC and various monitors that can work with said HTPC via some setup is all I need. None of my TVs are connected to the LAN, nor are any IoT devices except 1 rooted hub that is segmented from ev
      • by nnull ( 1148259 )
        Well, now it should be regular practice, so...
        • I think my personal challenge is that doing so isn't practical for 99% of the people out there. Even users with a general understanding of firewalls, DMZs, and maybe even VLANs would struggle to effectively control access to a wifi-connected smart television.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            Complexity is part of it, but cost is another.

            We extensively remodeled our house in 2003, and I pulled a pair of Cat 5 cables to every location the remodeling gave me access to.

            Wasn't enough -- the living room has 6 networked devices, the bedroom 4, the den 3, the laundry room has two but only one run to it (a Cat 5 run previously used for analog telephone).

            So now I have four rooms with their own ethernet switches, which doesn't count the semi-central wiring aggregation point or my office.

            Doing VLANs to eve

    • I completely agree. The TV is just a monitor, and tying it to tie it with another device/service on a different upgrade cycle is silly bordering on stupid. An extreme case is the high-end iMac, where they've coupled a beautiful monitor that'll probably be usable for 15-20 years, with computer hardware which will be obsolete in 5-7.

      But you have to remember the vast majority of people used to have VCRs endlessly flashing 12:00. They have a hard enough time just changing video input mode when they plug i
    • Agreed. Also: open firmwares for TVs please. Running SamyGo and it's great.

    • by purplie ( 610402 )
      This is probably why ISPs like Comcast are trying to set up unrestricted "Guest" networks in addition to your own network. It's probably a deal with these Smart TV bastards so that the TV will never be without a connection, even if you don't give it access to your network.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @09:36AM (#50907821) Homepage

    "may be delivered to smartphones, tablets, PCs or other internet-connected devices that share an IP address or other identifier with your Smart TV."

    According to TFA , they somehow link the cookies they store on your browser when you visit their website to your TV. So I'm guessing they store the external IP address of the TV and if the same address suddenly starts querying their website they assume its a device behind NAT and feed it ads.

    Solution - don't visit their website or delete your cookies. Quite why anyone needs a smart TV anyway is another matter. My TV is just a monitor - the smart stuff happens on my other devices.

    • "may be delivered to smartphones, tablets, PCs or other internet-connected devices that share an IP address or other identifier with your Smart TV."

      According to TFA , they somehow link the cookies they store on your browser when you visit their website to your TV. So I'm guessing they store the external IP address of the TV and if the same address suddenly starts querying their website they assume its a device behind NAT and feed it ads.

      Solution - don't visit their website or delete your cookies. Quite why anyone needs a smart TV anyway is another matter. My TV is just a monitor - the smart stuff happens on my other devices.

      What is "not buying a smart TV" really going to change though? They are still going to push an ad to you no matter what, this just ties it to something you previously watched on TV instead of the result of a random number generator.

  • Worse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @09:41AM (#50907843)

    "Viewers who applied the update, but refused to consent to monitoring were not able to use services like Netflix and YouTube."

    Another reason to use torrents and VPNs instead of apple tv, chromecast, netflix, hulu and so on.
    I have a 'smart' TV as well, but I just use it as a monitor, no network cable attached.

    • Did you really disable all the networking features? Would it still be possible for it to connect to a network via WiFi? What if the company is doing exactly that but isn't even listing that feature in the configuration settings? How would you know if it's connecting to a neighbour's open WiFi? You can't monitor what happens on your neighbour's WiFi.

      Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

      • Don't worry, in a few years the big brands will all be generating their own mesh networks with home "smart" devices for these purposes anyway. Then they don't need anything other than your house not to be inside a large metal frame, and they won't have to trouble you for a network connection (or permission) to track you, as long as someone somewhere on the mesh helpfully provides one.

        • A partnership between hardware manufacturers and cellphone companies is likely to emerge.

          Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

          • Fortunately for me, the local cell reception where I live (about a mile from a city centre) is so awful that any such partnership is unlikely to trouble me. Ha! Take that, corporate evil-doers!

          • A partnership between hardware manufacturers and cellphone companies is likely to emerge.

            Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

            I see a potential market for directional (or very short-range - place atop TV) cell phone repeaters that provide the 3G/4G/whatever equivalent of a null route.

            • by nytes ( 231372 )

              I wonder if the FCC might have something to say about effectively jamming a communication signal, even if it is your own TV that you're jamming.

              And if such a thing happens, I'll bet you that, somewhere in the 95 page EULA for your new TV is buried a clause that says, "You agree that you will not interfere with communications from this TV to the manufacturer".

              • I wonder if the FCC might have something to say about effectively jamming a communication signal, even if it is your own TV that you're jamming.

                And if such a thing happens, I'll bet you that, somewhere in the 95 page EULA for your new TV is buried a clause that says, "You agree that you will not interfere with communications from this TV to the manufacturer".

                Yet if it's an extremely short-range equivalent of a null route, precisely how would they detect that this is happening? Against what would they contrast their total lack of a connection of any sort? Just a hypothetical of course.

      • by mbone ( 558574 )

        How would you know if it's connecting to a neighbour's open WiFi? You can't monitor what happens on your neighbour's WiFi.

        There are no open WIFI's in my neighborhood. What sort of people are you living with?

  • I think there comes a point where people have to look to themselves. If we don't want all our devices to turn our lives into a panopticon of tracking, we need to stop participating in the tracking. Don't connect your damned TV, fridge, and washing machine to the internet! Stop loading tracking cookies in your web browser. Don't upload your thermostat data to anything but your own computer.

    Every time you send your personal data to the marketeers, it is another brick in the wall that forms this world of m

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 @09:44AM (#50907865)

    Other than an "enhanced advertising experience", and perhaps viewing some web content, what does a smart TV actually give as a service? Especially if one has a set top box from their provider, or something like a Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, or a HTPC. At best, I can see the TV streaming Netflix as a feature... but with all the data sent back, it isn't worth the privacy invasion.

    Of course, if the TV can't work unless it has Internet access, it will go back to the store -stat-.

    • the only thing pay TV is good for is sports, so a smart TV will let you watch content without buying a set top box like a roku or a chromecast stick. you think google, amazon and roku don't track what you watch and sell it?
      • the only thing pay TV is good for is sports....

        I complete agree that pay TV is 100% worthless.

      • the only thing pay TV is good for is sports, so a smart TV will let you watch content without buying a set top box like a roku or a chromecast stick. you think google, amazon and roku don't track what you watch and sell it?

        HBO?

    • Well, they do also finally deliver that watched-in-your-own-home experience that the brochure was trying to sell as far back as 1949.

      I mean, you have a camera literally watching your living room, an Internet connection, and a load of software written and maintained (or not) by people whose interests are unlikely to include your security or privacy. What could possibly go wrong? It's not like any major brands have had problems with this already or anything.

    • Other than an "enhanced advertising experience", and perhaps viewing some web content, what does a smart TV actually give as a service?

      Computer like features. It's not all bad. When the wife and I want some completely mindless entertainment, we'll watch youtube stupid pet videos on the tv. And Comcast knows what we watch as part of their whole hd system. That has the upside of them troubleshooting from the office. I've had a couple hd boxes go bad, and we troubleshot it over the phone at my convenience, and got a new box in a couple hours. That beats the old take a day of vacation and wait around the house for the technician all morning pa

    • First off, pretend you're the average person going to Best Buy with $500 to spend on a new TV (approximately the median for a ~40" LED set). You're not super technical, but you know that you watch TV from your cable company, DVDs on occasion, and Netflix. You don't presently have a Roku or other set top box for streaming (that side of things is done on your tablet at the moment), so you have to factor that into your purchase.

      You get to Best Buy, and there are a dozen TVs in your price range to choose from.

      • My Panasonic bluray player offers Netflix support, but the traffic is proxied through some Panasonic server. Apart from the security & privacy aspects, this means that the feature can be discontinued by Panasonic at any time.

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        $70 for an HDMI cable??? Are you buying from Monster again?

      • "So yeah, for those who don't read a EULA and "have nothing to hide", a lower initial purchase price over a TV + Roku + cable, a single remote for most functions, and fewer wires to run are all things that are deemed positive selling points for TVs, much more so than buying one that avoids a questionable practice on page 29 of a legal document that no one has ever read."

        I don't think the average people knows that the new TV spies on them, so I'm not sure "nothing to hide" is at play there. Hell, TV over DSL

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We need another Max Headroom, the industry moved from blipverts to screw your privacy, we gotta advertise.

  • What's the difference between a TV and a computer monitor? They both have HDMI inputs and most people will be using external set-top boxes anyway. The real problem is finding a regular 1080p computer monitor bigger than 23~27".

    Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      The primary definition is whether or not it has an RF tuner, but the primary thing you will notice is overscan. [wikipedia.org]

      Overscan is something they did with CRT TV sets to prevent you from having black bars at the edge, or VIR crap at the top, and to avoid having to explain to people why those edges moved noticeably when you rotated the set 90 degrees in the earth's magnetic field.

      Out of seven LCD TVs between my place and my mom's, the only one that doesn't do overscan is a 16:10 Dynex (yes, the Best Buy store bran

      • by Megane ( 129182 )
        Quick add here: one of my sets that does overscan also has a VGA input. The VGA input has overscan. Yeah, WTF. So I guess you can't necessarily tell even from that. But I think you can be sure that Sharp Aquos sets all have overscan these days, those made up three or four of my sample population.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The "smart" features of television are something you pay extra for. This is a long increasing trend. The original appeal of cable was a crystal clear picture of the local networks and lots of specialized content (the [noun] channel) with no advertisements. Nowadays? Hundreds of dollars a month for hundreds of channels with ads, many of them repeated three or more times in the same half hour block. I'm not sure if it is still this way, but the difference between Hulu and Hulu+ a few years back was just acces

    • Why the hell are we paying for the privilege of being advertised to?

      Because, sadly, it appears to be what the market will bear.

      Even a few years ago, when I wanted to buy a new TV I had to explicitly say I wanted one that wasn't "smart", just a good screen and sensible inputs. That narrowed the range I could choose from quite significantly. Today, hardly anything I could buy off the shelf from any local store does not have these "smart" features built-in, even though they are almost invariably poorly functioning, quickly obsolete, or outright customer-hostile as with the pri

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      You mean like youtube ads that shows me the same ad for every 2 minute video I watch? Thank you ad blocks for being able to block all those annoying youtube ads.
      • You mean like youtube ads that shows me the same ad for every 2 minute video I watch? Thank you ad blocks for being able to block all those annoying youtube ads.

        Heh, no joke. My initial response to the first sentence of your post was, "Youtube has ads??". I really forgot that it did. My attitude towards advertising and most marketing is: fuck 'em. I actually used JunkBuster back in the days of Netscape and dial-up. It was an ad-filtering proxy -- browsers at that time had plug-ins but they did not have the capability for sophisticated extensions, so this was one of the only practical ways to block ads. The old URL (I still remember it!) was internet.junkbust [junkbuster.com]

  • A couple of years ago, I bought a Samsung TV. The O/S was so bad that I returned it and wrote the president (getting no response).

    The stupid thing would randomly update itself - right in the middle of footballs games or other live events - going offline for15 minutes at a time. Changing channels was also extremely slow: about 2 seconds between stations. TWO WHOLE SECONDS.

    There was no way to get rid of crapware on the TV. The main menu was 'polluted' with all sorts of junk trying to push the viewer to Sams

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Stop waiting. Buy a dumb TV and get a nexus player. Honestly you wont die having to have 2 devices and 2 remotes.

      • by mbone ( 558574 )

        If finding your remote was a life-or-death issue, America would be rapidly depopulated.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      Changing channels was also extremely slow: about 2 seconds between stations. TWO WHOLE SECONDS.

      That's actually pretty normal for digital channels, because it takes time to decode enough of the stream to show a picture. But if it does that when switching analog channels, that's unacceptable.

      • Changing channels was also extremely slow: about 2 seconds between stations. TWO WHOLE SECONDS.

        That's actually pretty normal for digital channels, because it takes time to decode enough of the stream to show a picture. But if it does that when switching analog channels, that's unacceptable.

        Makes me wonder how much shorter the delay would be if the device didn't have to bother with useless HDCP, any other encryption, and copyright flags.

  • I'm going to monitor my smart TV at the router and see what it connects to, then block those marketing addresses. This should be fun.
    • I'm going to monitor my smart TV at the router and see what it connects to, then block those marketing addresses. This should be fun.

      If they were smart it would connect to a single company controlled address for everything and be proxied out from there. Blocking that address would basically disable any special features. If they were smart.

  • I have a nominally Smart TV, but have never put it on our network*. I see absolutely no reason to change that; it works just fine as a monitor to show movies, do video games, etc.

    * Look for the likes of Samsung to install WEP and WAP password cracking software on these devices, so they can get on protected networks. They'll probably say it is a customer "protection" feature.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      * Look for the likes of Samsung to install WEP and WAP password cracking software on these devices, so they can get on protected networks. They'll probably say it is a customer "protection" feature.

      I wonder if you could file a DMCA suit in that case, since you have data you generated (therefore copyrighted) on your internal network?

      [Yeah, I know, the DMCA is for the $BIGCORPS to use against the $littleguys, not the other way around]

  • The next time you go shopping for a TV ask the salesperson for a dumb TV. When they look at you and shrug walk away. The only way the bullshit stops is lost sales.

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