This was revealed in South Africa in July. In South Africa, during riots, rioters broke into Samsung's local warehouse and stole tons of goods from the warehouse, including new Samsung TV sets.
According to Samsung's local representatives, company swiftly took action and activated the remote kill switch on all the stolen TV sets, rendering them basically useless. The feature, called TV Block is apparently a standard feature in all Samsung's new TVs.
Whenever a Samsung TV set connects to the net, it communicates back and forth with Samsung's servers. If Samsung's servers indicate that the TV set in question is put to its blacklist, the TV set automatically renders all of its features useless. So, after that information has been received, even the standard TV broadcasts can't be viewed with the TV.
The feature was introduced in order to block sale of illegally obtained Samsung TVs, just like in this particular case. Samsung also ensures that if legally obtained TV somehow freezes due this feature, customers can contact their local Samsung support in order to get the matters resolved.
However, Samsung doesn't indicate whether the blocking feature can be utilized by normal customers: i.e. if your own TV set was stolen, can you ask Samsung to add it to the company's blacklist - or is the feature only for Samsung's own purposes.
Obviously, one could relatively easily avoid the blocking: just never, ever connect the TV to the internet. But selling such device would prove slightly complicated: it might lower the smart TV's value ever so slightly, if your marketplace ad tells that "TV works just fine, but never, ever connect it to the internet or it becomes just an expesive piece of modern art".
Written by: Petteri Pyyny @ 23 Aug 2021 10:34