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Samsung now injecting ads into your smart TV

I also recently installed a Samsung TV and was pretty shocked that you have to make an account to be able to install apps and use Netflix.
Who knows what the pre-installed Samsung OS on this “smart TV” is collecting. It’s disgraceful. These things should be headline news.

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  1. (assuming that you need the internet functionality of the TV at all e.g. catch up TV) Block as much as possible in the communication between the TV and the internet. Just because it records your viewing habits etc. etc. etc. doesn’t mean you have to let it report that back to headquarters.

Getting the balance right on that will depend on the age of the TV.

Still under warranty? You probably want to suck it up and let the TV communicate with the internet.

Out of warranty? Monitor everything that the TV communicates with and make educated guesses about whether it is appropriate to block.

Over time, the manufacturer will cease producing software updates for your model of TV. It may be in your interest to receive software updates while they are still being produced e.g. fixing security flaws (or it might not be in your interest e.g. adding more spyware - no easy way to tell).

Smart TV has become a dumb TV (because all the apps have ceased working)? Block all communication with the internet.

  1. Complain to your local MP. He or she will probably have NFI but if enough people complain, it may register.
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A little OT but the FTA broadcasters are inserting their own ‘programming ads’ onto the screen. Next to their pretty logo, diagonally across (top left), wherever, they enjoy touting the next ‘big thing’ they want us to watch, no smart TV required. Ads that changed every minute or two would almost (not really) be welcome relief.

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I suspect that those are as much as anything else watermarks.

Having not watched TV for quite a while, I tuned into the fourth Ashes test while on leave. Even the stumps now have advertising!

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You may have a very liberal definition of a watermark. The title of the next hyped show might be included, buy not in my world. Of course advertisements can be delivered in a watermark, so. Watermarks for the hyped show are in tens of minutes not as if they are just the station.

Perhaps getting current would provide insights into current practices?

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I will admit to being somewhat liberal in my ways, but conservatively so.

As well as being an advertisement, it marks the picture so if you record it the source can be easily identified (theoretically to detect copyright infringement). Yes, it serves two purposes, and has obviously expanded greatly since channels simply put the logo in the corner of the screen.

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Perhaps straying slightly off topic but my understanding is that the original idea of the station watermark was that with the advent of digital TV, there are now too many channels (and potentially with inconsistent numbering) to keep track of. Hence the most practical solution is that the picture being transmitted on the channel itself tells you what channel you are watching.

Further, with the advent of widescreen TVs (and larger TVs), there was now enough screen real estate to sacrifice a bit of space to showing you what channel you are on.

Sadly, channels are now also using more space on the screen for less useful crap. So, yes, advertising, as @PhilT says.

The term watermark in the context of copyright infringement or indeed tracing the origin of content more generally (e.g. government agencies worried about leaked documents) offers different senses, motives and meanings.

So there is

  • station watermark for identification purposes
  • overt watermark to assert copyright - and discourage removal
  • digital (covert) watermark to prove copyright infringement or leakage

However you could be right that TV stations at least partly use the station watermark as an overt watermark for copyright purposes - but only to the extent that you do actually use the recording in a way that breaches copyright e.g. public exhibition, rebroadcast, distribute on the internet, sell.

Technically the TV station will often not themselves hold copyright over the material that they transmit but it assists the party who does hold the copyright.

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Obtain and use a Pi Hole, even on it’s basic setup with the only recommended filters installed it will do a lot to hinder the data collection. This requires a modest spend of money to obtain a suitable Raspberry Pi model and needed accessories and a little bit of study to ensure the microSD card used doesn’t die an early death from the generated logs, the software to setup the Pi and to filter the traffic once setup is free.

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For those not so blessed, an example of how 10 is advertising their shows. ‘The Living Room Paw-fect Event’ and their others like it are neither innocuous (or why do it) nor fleeting, and sometimes on the top left, same size. Having the TV add more? Priceless.

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