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Apps/Function Problems with TV's


I think both my TVs are ‘smart’, but I have never connected them to my network - I just don’t trust the manufacturers to get basic security right in a TV. Instead, we have a Chromecast.

And so we turn to the Phoebus cartel.

They reduced the life of light bulbs! I seem to recall something similar occurring with stockings that could be made to last practically forever.

What a surprise - you want to access content lawfully, and the content owner makes it more difficult?

You have obviously forgotten Sony’s music CD with rootkit that installed on your computer should you ever dare try to play the music you bought there. I will never buy Sony hardware, and seek to avoid its content where possible.


Welcome to Google!

It was little surprise that a recently purchased TCL smart TV which uses Android, insists on us logging into a Google account to use the apps or any features other than, err! being a dumb TV.

I hope Google is equally surprised to know we don’t have a Google ID.

What is more of a surprise is that our slightly older Sony smart TV, after the latest update, also has the same disease. That’s despite never once asking for that info in the past two years.

Fair enough, except there is no way of going back and no advice from Sony or Google to ask if you would like the change in user access permission.

What purpose does this all serve, or is there more than one?

One thought is that a smart TV is no different in its ability to access the internet than a mobile phone. Meta data retention is of little value if you cannot identify the user. Have TVs now joined the list of monitored devices?


The purpose it serves is to extend the google model (“you are the product”) to the use of your TV. Hence why, on a recent upgrade, I avoided any TV that runs a google operating system.


Are there smart TVs that run software other than Android? Eventually I’ll be going down that path and I agree that I honestly don’t need Google having access to my TV habits too. Dumb TVs are slowly on their way out so that wont always be an option.


I think there are still quite a few about but they are at the lower end of the price range and feature set. eg, lower res screens, smaller screens etc. However, I am reliably informed that there is no obligation to put your TV on the network at all. When I finally need to upgrade (when my 10y.o Samsung finally bites the dust) I wont fret over a smart TV, because I will never log in to a google account. I have an appleTV, and a FetchTV (the Fetch is more reliable with FTA, poor old Samsung tuner is pretty rubbish, but the screen is gorgeous) so absolutely no need for a TV with the smarts. But I do want a UHD screen eventually, and will have zero options for a dumb TV.

I think Samsung still runs its own OS. But, as far as getting app updates in concerned… they are slow to non-existent, eventually (my “smart” bluray Samsung player never gets turned on, its so far out of date)


Yes. LG TVs sold in Australia run WebOS. Some HiSense, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, and all Samsung TVs also run proprietary OSs. This is not an exhaustive list.


This list is long, I don’t know how much of the market is covered but my guess is nearly all. There is more variety in TV OS than I had thought. Can anybody identify systems other than Android that want to identify you?

I understand that the individual apps, such as Netflix, Stan etc, that display specific content are maintained by the content provider. Do any of these want to identify you?


We recently purchased a TCL 40inch (what is wrong with metric) smart TV from the Goodguys.
It was Android or Android!

Apparently that makes us odd because people according to the pleasant staff customers only purchase much larger TVs, from 50inch up! We were simply looking to replace a very old 32” with typical boxy surround used in our kitchen living area, that had a fading back light, and not spend twice the price for a UHD capable set, we would never be able to use anyway.

Choice do not have any current reviews of 112cm nominal TV’s. I guess that is understandable given they are also only 1080p. The Goodguys had 4 options. Last years TCL. A recent new model TCL and two dumb options from Phillips and Panasonic as choices. Shopping on line without seeing the product was not an option. When you need a half day trip to get to a retailer, we tend to favour certain retailers for their stock choices and ease of access, even when shopping around on the day!


One gotcha with proprietary systems are the smart TV apps. Apps are updated and not always available and working on each proprietary OS, hence one of the probable causes of this thread.

A product I was about to buy to make my TV smart got flagged by a customer who had one that his Netflix app was no longer compatible with Netflix and it required a (free) update. The update failed with an ‘incompatible system’ error and wanted to know about Netflix compatibility that was still being advertised. I thus did not buy the product and as of now the device no longer appears on their product list.

The base OS in the product was Android but they apparently rolled a bit of their own for whatever reason.


And this is why I’d rather have a dumb TV. But, as long as I can plug in my external devices for some “smarts”… its all good. Until I want to buy a TV thats less than 50" because my loungeroom is miniscule… and a 50+" TV would be the biggest piece of furniture in the room!.


What do you mean, can’t identify the user? How does your TV connect to the Internet? You are uniquely identifiable by your IP (Internet Protocol) address. (Actually, this may be a little out of date as IP v4 addresses have been running short over the last few years and some ISPs may share IPs among users - but it pins you down with some accuracy.) Your TV and your other online devices would connect via the same IP address, and so it is fairly easy to identify what you the computer user are watching on your Android-enabled TV.

The advantage of Android is that it provides a wide range of apps and things are regularly updated with new features and security patches. The downside is that your device maker has to implement those features and security patches for you to get any benefit.

No - pretty much every piece of hardware needs some code optimisation to properly run whatever the operating system might be. Worse, with Android phones the carrier likes to have a fiddle as well. While Google has been working to fix this for years, it means that before you get a security patch your phone’s manufacturer may need to ensure it is compatible with their phone and then the carrier has to have its own review to make sure it doesn’t break their stuff - and you eventually get the patch ten months after you need it!

Android P is allegedly going to fix this problem by running security updates through a separate delivery channel in the same manner as Play Store apps.


If the ISP is compliant with the law then it pins you (the service) down exactly even where IPs are shared among users.


I was hopeful of offering two different observations.

In this instance a reflection that anything we use a smart TV for Is subject to the Fed Govt data retention catch all! Perhaps also a little clumsy, a rhetorical question as to whether enabling your smart TV gives more of your identity away? @person suggested response is chilling if we are to be seen as responsible for how other household members might use a smart TV for internet access?

I can see why Google would like to do so. Linking your ID to all other Android devices, and gmail and Crome or Google Search. It’s just unsettling to think Google will also get to know what I watch, and when, as well as tracking my every journey. Except I don’t carry an Android phone or use Gmail or Crome or … or Facebook. So generally with a VPN, deleting tracking cookies, denying requests to track my location and only a vague physical guess at IP location I avoid most targeted trash!


Optimising and making specific drivers that vary even a few lines of code from the vanilla release is not rolling your own? I never realised that! We don’t need to prolong this concept as something that can break some apps, and yes, sometimes it is months or never for compatibility to return. Better developers can change underlying code without breaking compatibility. Others are not so careful.

Reminds me in a sense of the dedicated graphics drivers from many decades past where some applications would work with one or another or none of them except the basic VGA.


It depends at what level your software functions. An operating system’s purpose is to talk to the underlying hardware. Windows has become extremely good at doing this for tens of thousands of different sets of hardware, but the hardware developers still need to write drivers to make sure it works properly. That’s not ‘rolling your own’ by any stretch. Windows has over several decades developed decent practices to protect the OS from badly written drivers, but they can still cause all sorts of problems.

Android is based on Linux, and has to be individually compiled for whichever hardware it is to run on. If you have ever owned an Android phone you are likely to be aware of how long it takes for updates to be rolled out after they hit Google’s own phones. Google has been fiddling with the code for several versions now, and has at least managed to extract security into a separate app (Google Play Protect). This means it only needs to update that app rather than the underlying OS when it rolls out security patches, but isn’t ‘the final solution’ to security issues across Android devices. It also doesn’t help for non-security patches, which will require you to reboot your device and will re-optimise all of your existing installed apps.

I had to race out and buy a dedicated 3D graphics card when Return to Zork was released. Wait - which card supports it?

Our modern graphics drivers for dedicated graphics cards are not just general-purpose drivers; they contain optimisations for specific games. Patch notes for the latest Nvidia drivers, for instance, state “Provides the optimal gaming experience for Quake II RTX and Assetto Corsa Competizione”. AMD or Nvidia might do a deal with a game maker to get early access and optimise the drivers, leaving them able to say “best with” (our stuff).


From my perspective the only thing that matters is that the app works and continues to work and is supported so it works as advertised. When an update refuses to install as being ‘incompatible’ and the installed version no longer functions because it mandates and requires the update it is a pretty serious fail in that regard.

Depends on how one uses the term. I like the second ‘answer’. Some might be doing drivers and others significant changes. Lets not get bogged in the semantics of how extensive and ill-advised (or smart?) developers are to ‘roll their own’ these days.


China and Russia are finally abandoning Windows for their secure government systems. Russia is using a version of Linux, while China has stated that it will build its own OS. The comments I have heard can be summarised as “it’s crazy and almost impossible to build a new OS from scratch”.

/sidetrack off


My response might unintentionally have been misleading.

Where an IP address is shared among different services, the ISP (the government) should still be able to identify the specific service. The ISP may not be capable of identifying a specific member of the household (or a specific device within the household) where the household shares one service.

The two typical scenarios are:

  • mobile phone - has private IP address - as seen on the internet the mobile phone shares a public IP address with any number of other mobile phone services provided by the same ISP - ISP is still obliged to be able to map a particular use of a public IP address back to the specific mobile phone service - the mobile phone is typically (but not necessarily) used by a single individual within a household, where relevant

  • home internet - has public IP address - as seen on the internet all uses within the home share that IP address - ISP is obliged to be able to map use of that public IP address back to the specific home internet service

The above applies to IPv4. (If and when most ISPs are using IPv6, and most devices are using IPv6, then the scenarios change.)

If it is necessary to identify at a more detailed level, some kind of “profiling” would typically be done - but that may fail, particularly against a person who prefers privacy and takes steps towards helping profiling to fail.

Alternatively, the individual device may be identified via unintentional self-identification (e.g. cookies, or exploitation of a security weakness).


I get the feeling that current users are being forced to sacrifice Viceland for World Movies. Or to spend a lot of money upgrading their whole TV system, ie, Tuner, DVD recorder, TV, etc!

I find the SBS promo regarding this very confusing. My suspicion is that whatever they are doing, I will be the loser; I don’t know as the info provided by SBS is atrocious, ie, I think the change they are imposing on users, will require a technology upgrade?

I use a Panasonic DVD Recorder model DMR-XW380, as my tuner and recorder. When I use the retune feature that searches for channels, Viceland Ch 31 isn’t found, Ch 32 is found (which the retune labels Viceland but is only a World Movie promo, also saying it isn’t Viceland) I assume Ch 32 will become World Movies.

Not getting something new is one thing but losing something one has used for years is altogether different!

If a technology upgrade is required, that seems like a real ripoff. It doesn’t seem like an acceptable practice for a publically funded organisation.

SBS Movie Channel Announcement

This is the high definition channel…and will only be able to be seen on those devices which can receive and decode HD transmissions.

BTW, Ch30 is the HD channel of the standard SBS ch 3.

I had simikar sentiments in relation to the impact on thise who don’t have HD abilities. Maybe if enough people complain to SBS, they may change the broadcast of viceland to standard definition (sd).