Question: The ABC recently introduced Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 which meant we could no longer access ABC iView on our LG smart TV. I twice contacted LG customer support to ask whether a software update was available to solve this problem. On each occasion (three weeks apart) they were unable to advise whether a software upgrade was possible or when it might be provided. Given the period for which LG must have known about this change and its consequences, this is a very disappointing level of customer support. I also feel that the ABC might have done more to advise viewers about this change and its possible consequences before it was executed. Is there anything we can do?
Answer: This issue of streaming TV apps suddenly becoming obsolete by changes made by the TV network is not uncommon. Although it may appear to the consumer that a software update could fix it, it’s not always that simple. TVs are nowadays becoming more akin to a computer, and are being equipped with more and more powerful processors.
Sometimes the changes to security or video encoding are so significant that the older processors simply aren’t fast enough to run the latest software. There is also the issue that Australia is a fairly small market in the global scheme of things, and TV manufacturers may simply be disinclined to invest in software updates for a relatively small number of consumers.
I suspect that LG Australia almost certainly doesn’t have software engineers working in Australia, so LG customer support is probably having to communicate with developers in Korea, and this could
lead to delays. The ACL may provide a solution. If the TV is relatively new, and was bought with the use of iView in mind, it could be argued that it is no longer fit for purpose. The retailer might be prepared to offer a generous discount on a new TV. It could be worth a shot.
I can definitely empathise with the questioner. I think we’ve all been burned by smart TVs becoming less smart TVs. However I take issue with
Given the period for which LG must have known about this change and its consequences
It is not particularly likely that LG would have known anything at all about what changes are afoot inside the ABC. LG would have tested the TV at one point in time in the past, declared victory and shipped it.
If the ABC subsequently makes a change that then breaks the TV, the ABC would not necessarily themselves have tested with every model of TV that is or was available in Australia, or necessarily tested with more than half a dozen models, much less informed any manufacturers that the ABC is breaking the TV.
Notwithstanding any of that, it is a good idea to use newer versions of TLS. Mostly it is the case that newer versions of TLS come into existence because older versions have been found to have security failings. Steadfastly trying to continue using an obsolete security protocol is risky business.
Is there already another topic about that other looming problem with iView?
TLS 1.2 was released as a definition in 2008, yes 13 years ago, and the current release is 1.3.
There is no excuse that I can see for an Internet TV to not support both of these, either when manufactured, or via software upgrades.
Also I see no excuse for a streaming service like ABC to support a now deprecated security level of TLS 1.1 for users. It is superceded for the very good reason of security exposures.