Samsung remotely bricked TVs stolen from warehouse

Originally published at: Samsung remotely bricked TVs stolen from warehouse | Boing Boing


If a company can remotely brick it, you don’t own it.

They are not destroying your television. They are revoking their right to collect rent from your use of their television.


It’s not like the TVs were doing anyone any good just sitting in a warehouse, now were they?


How about, “an honourable and well-beloved company that makes wonderful products that enhance our lives every day”?

I for one would not dream of criticizing Samsung’s benign guidance. Corporations have feelings too, my friend.

[looks nervously over shoulder, realizes that that metaphor no longer applies] :cold_sweat:


Samsung doesn’t destroy the TV:s just disable them. They can be reactivated later.
“Should a customer’s TV be incorrectly blocked, the functionality can be reinstated once proof of purchase and a valid TV license is shared”

As long as it is a one-time activation I can see the use in countries were there is a lot of theft. The problem with smart appliances is when you can’t use them unless there is some specific server online at all times, and that they are spyware.


I removed the Bixby button from the case for my Samsung phone. Accidentally, of course. I hope Bixby doesn’t take offense.


Such a high opinion Samsung has of their shit.

Every “smart” TV I’ve ever had or used has just the shittiest apps and functions. Awkward menus, clumsy remotes, crusty unmaintained apps, they universally suck. And of all the appliances I have with internet connections, the Samsung appliances are universally the worst of all.

Instead of living with the shitty smarts that come “free” with TVs, I get all the functionality I want from external video sources, such as FireTVs, AppleTVs, or blu-ray players. These are all small, cheap devices that compete with each other to deliver a great user experience. They have to, or nobody would buy them.

My “smart” TV hangs on the wall, brains unused, and the only thing it does is display HDMI-in. I never agreed to their privacy policy, and I never agreed to their license terms. So “activating” a Samsung TV? Not gonna happen.

(And stories like this are further confirmation that it’s a bad idea to give control of your expensive things over to a really shitty company.)


So if they’re still able to work as TVs, just not smart TVs, then Samsung has done them a huge favour…


We’ll, to be fair, if you stole the TV from Samsung’s warehouse (or bought a stolen TV) then technically you don’t own it.

I’d have a huge problem with them claiming a right to use this feature post purchase for any reason, and I get that there’s real reason to be concerned about the potential that they will decide they can do that for some other reason. What’s actually being described here seems fine, though, as long as it doesn’t get misused.

One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing is regulation that makes it illegal to remotely brick a device unless specifically authorized to do so by the legal owner of the device.


At least they didn’t cause the televisions to burst into flames, they can do that with phones /s


I do the same thing. My TV is used as a giant monitor on a media PC which streams everything I want to watch.

What’s interesting to me is that the cost of an actual giant monitor that has the same resolution as the TV (1920x1080) is often double or more the cost of the TV despite having less functionality.

Is this a supply/demand thing, or do the crappy apps subsidize the cost of the TV that much?


Samsung hurts the buyer of these hot TVs but still the thieves got their money.

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I’ve noticed this too. That has to be the answer, that the apps subsidize the device. Related, I think that a lot of people think there is some huge difference between a TV and a computer monitor. There isn’t anymore, other than the TV will have a built-in tuner for over-the-air signals, and all those crappy apps. Next time I’m monitor shopping, I’ll definitely be browsing the TV aisle.


Hanging on to my 2007 dumb Samsung like grim death, through power board replacement and recapping. The only smarts comes from my Raspberry Pi Kodi box and my Roku. I’ve never run across a built-in app that wasn’t garbage.


The monitor-style models typically have far higher quality panels (color accuracy), are better calibrated, much faster refresh times, etc… there are always exceptions, of course, but the monitor models are usually aimed at professional use, usually displayed in commercial spaces, and engineered to a much higher standard.


I can’t see how a smart TV whould be cheaper to make. Samsung must invest truckloads of money in their software and services. They’re just freaking horrible at understanding what their end users want.

I assume the subsidies for some of those “free apps” must kick some amount back to them, but I don’t think that it would reduce the cost by a lot. It’s more likely due to the inventory costs of separate packaging, labeling, and logistics. Plus, those plain old monitors will more likely be targeted to the corporate buyers (signs, advertising, command center status monitors, etc.) and we all know the corporate market will pay a premium.


Large TV’s are marketed at consumers (average joe), while large Monitors are marketed at Businesses. Anything marketed for “business” use is automatically twice the price, even if it’s the same damn thing, because businesses are expected to have a lot more money available to spend on them, because if a business is buying it, it’s because the business desperately needs it for their business. If a consumer is buying it, it’s only because they like it, not because they need it, so are less willing to shell out big bucks for it.

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and a valid TV license is shared

As well as a license for your pet cat Eric.


“This is just a dog licence with the word ‘dog’ crossed out and ‘TV’ written in crayon.”


Actually, plain old monitors are never used for the public display signs. There are even more expensive devices made specifically for that use - they’re called digital signage displays. Sometimes they also include touch-screen integration, like this one.