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This Is Scary! Samsung Smart TVs Are Inserting Advts In User’s Own Personal Media

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Recently, a Samsung Smart TV user was watching streamlined online media when suddenly a pop-up advertisement from Pepsi covered his screen for few seconds. After every 20-25 minutes, one such ad appeared, which left him bewildered and confused.

As he was using Plex, an app to streamline personal & online media files into smart TVs, he posted this mystery in Reddit’s Plex centric sub-reddit, and got his answer: Samsung Smart TVs have an inbuilt feature which can show you advertisements even if you are using your own personal media.

Another user commented on a different thread: “I was getting this Pepsi ad the other day I couldn’t work out what was going on. I was watching a Movie from my hard drive then ad pops up TV shuts down.

I paid 2k for this?? What the f**k.”

On investigations by other tech publications, it was found that users of Foxtel, a pay television company from Australia who have Samsung TVs are facing the same issue of unwanted advertisement running on their personal media.

Here is a Foxtel user complaining: “..after about 15 minutes of watching live TV, the screen goes blank, and then a 16:9 sized Pepsi advert (taking up about half the screen) pops up and stops Foxtel playing. It’s as if there is a popup ad on the TV.”

Last month, tech commentator David Chartier posted a blog about one such unrequested and interruptive ad while watching Apple TV on Samsung Smart TV. Considering that Apple TV was connected on a separate input, he was surprised. He said, “Under no circumstances, scenarios, case studies, fictional situations, or boardroom fantasies is this acceptable. None.”

He had posted an image of this Yahoo ad:

Samsung Advt

Samsung admitted to Business Insider that these ads on user’s personal media is part of a tie-up with Yahoo, termed as Yahoo Broadcast Interactivity, and the default state of these ads are on. However, users can now opt out of these annoying ads.

As per the official statement issued by Samsung, “These new interactive experiences are offered on an “opt-in” basis via the Samsung SmartHub.. To opt-out of Yahoo Broadcast Interactivity, Exit Smart Hub first, press Menu on your Samsung Remote and scroll to Smart Hub > Terms & Policy > Yahoo Privacy Policy. Scroll to “I disagree with the Yahoo Privacy Notice.” and you can toggle the option on to opt-out”

Just a week back, Samsung was accused to creeping into their user’s conversations while watching TV, and sending them to a third party for updating their voice recognition database. As per their privacy policy for Smart TV users, “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

This means that if you are discussing your next vacation with your friend on phone while watching TV, the conversation will be send to a third party!

Although Samsung have tried to clarify this, by posting a blog post, titled “Samsung Smart TVs Do Not Monitor Living Room Conversations”, doubts and apprehensions remain among existing smartphone users and those who are planning to buy one.

A possibility coming straight out of George Orwell’s 1984, such advanced attacks on user’s privacy and data should be condemned and stopped.

If this is the future of advertisements, then it is pretty scary. What do you think?

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