IoT Journey 2: Samsung Smart TV

Back in 2016, I purchased a Samsung “5500” TV. It was my first 4k “UHD” and HDR TV purchase in my life. Initially, I loved it. The picture on this TV was (and still is) amazing. Watching anything modern filmed for this type of TV does not disappoint, but even watching old films look crisper and nicer due to the improved contrast of the picture. You just can see the picture drop on older TVs.

The love for this thing didn’t last long. It was equipped with a “SmartHub”, which was essentially like an integrated Roku or Fire Stick. I’m not sure if the wireless NIC in this puppy was wrapped in foil or if the entire TV was a faraday cage, but it would not load items way too often.

So often, in fact, that when I had a Facebook — I would message Samsung support a photo of the TV every time it locked up. It was continuous.

Other devices in the room, such as my phone, computer (streaming 4k as well), and tons of IoT devices never had a connectivity issue, so it couldn’t be my network.

Then one day, they decided to add some “TV Plus” or something similar, where they consume your data to show you faux broadcast television — mostly just garbage. Now, instead of turning on a quiet TV and going to the app I wanted (usually Prime), it would now blast loud shit until I remember to mute it.

To add to this, we had an… incident… where the remote got melted by the fireplace. I didn’t really care about talking into it, so I opted to go for a crappy $10 one that uses infrared, instead of the $100 replacement from Samsung. It works fine for most purposes… except: Factory Reset.

So, when I finally got sick and tired of the connection issues, and asking Samsung for their Accounts Payable address to send a bill to for a signal booster for the TV — I went and got a FireTV 4k. I wanted to factory reset the TV, but couldn’t without the original remote. I already cut off as much of the Samsung cloud crap as I could with PiHole (except that my wife has a Samsung phone, so I couldn’t do everything).

Alright, whatever, I just clear the WiFi configuration — that will take it off of the network so it can’t load the obnoxious content, right? Well, I would need to pair it to a new working network to save the WiFi info, meaning I’d have to pair it to my phone or set up a temporary SSID for it to use. To save time, I went ahead and leaned on a good fried of mine — my router:

Samsung TV blocked

Funny enough, all of these 341 blocked attempts are that stupid TV:

Samsung TV Getting Owned

Finally, and I must apologize to Amazon for this — my FireTV would occasionally disconnect from the TV. I blamed the FireTV, and Amazon allowed me to return it, and shipped me a new one. New one? Same issue.

At this point, I knew the culprit had to be this beautiful steaming pile of crap TV. I have another “fLaTScReEn” TV from like 15 years ago. I use the sarcastic Sponge Bob there because this thing is like 250 lbs and 5″ thick — but it supports a FireTV no problem. Same thing with my off brand TV I bought at Wal-Mart a few years back. I disabled HDMI-CEC on the device (which somehow still works), and now it works on the Samsung TV.

Bottom line is that Samsung doesn’t stand behind their devices, and sans-exploding phones, they can make good hardware, they just choose not to.

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Robert Lerner

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