Several owners of Samsung Smart TVs have begun noticing ads ever 10-30 minutes when watching locally-stored movies and videos as well streaming content. Samsung says that it is caused by an error in Australian TVs, but there can be no doubt that the system has been integrated on purpose.
Ads in your home videos
Samsung is having a really bad week. A few days ago, people began worrying that Samsung’s TVs were eavesdropping on them, and now this. Imagine watching one of your home videos of your children, stored on your media server. Every 10-30 minutes the video will stop to display a Pepsi commercial. That is exactly what several users have experienced in recent days.
- ”Every movie I play 20-30 minutes in it plays the pepsi ad, no audio but crisp clear ad. It has happened on 6 movies today.” writes one user at Reddit.
It is surely not unusual to see commercials on a TV, but the difference is that these ads are served by the actual TV, and not embedded in the content. This means that ads will show during every home video you watch. So far owners have reported seeing Pepsi ads during video playback from the built-in media player, while using the Plex app, and while streaming from Foxtel Play; an Australian streaming service.
Plex was quick to assure everyone that it had nothing to do with the ads. Foxtel also immediately responded by saying; ”This appears to be a Samsung related issue and has been escalated to them with the highest priority”. In other words, it could happen while watching Netflix, too.
Panasonic is doing something similar, with pop-up ads during volume control.
Caused by an error, says Samsung
FlatpanelsHD contacted Samsung, which has provided the following statement:
- “We are aware of a situation that has caused some Smart TV users in Australia to experience program interruption in the form of an advertisement. This seems to be caused by an error, and we are currently conducting a full and thorough investigation into the cause as our top priority. This situation has so far been reported only in Australia. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience experienced by our customers.”
However, the ads have also appeared in the US, which has the same Yahoo! system put in place, as reported by David Chartier around one month ago.
Still, the two cases raise additional questions. For example; what happens with recordings from the TV camera? In modern Samsung Smart TVs the camera uses a limited, always-on state for its “gesture controls” that allows you to enable gestures controls by waving at the TV at any time.