Samsung smart TVs inserting ads into third-party apps

Samsung logoPeople with smart TVs from Samsung have been complaining that the electronics maker is inserting Pepsi ads during the playback of their own, locally stored movies.

“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,” one reddit user wrote. The user was posting on a subreddit for Plex, a third-party app on Samsung smart TVs that lets you play movies on your TV that are stored on your computer or on a Network Attached Storage device. Several other redditors reported the same experience.

Although at first glance it seems that this would be a Plex issue, the company denied its involvement to GigaOm, and other Samsung smart TV apps, like Australia's Foxtel TV app, are experiencing it as well. Samsung did not respond to Ars' request for comment.

Samsung smart TVs inserting ads into third-party apps

Although GigaOm suggests the ad placement in third-party apps may have been a mistake on Samsung's part, the business model is certainly intentional. As one redditor explained, the ads can be disabled: “To disable: press Menu on your Samsung Remote and scroll to Smart Hub > Terms & Policy > Yahoo Privacy Policy. Scroll to 'I disagree with the Yahoo Privacy Notice' and you can toggle the option on to opt-out.”

Samsung's partnership with Yahoo to serve pop-up ads on its smart TVs was reported in mid-January by David Chartier, but it didn't receive much notice as Samsung later promised Business Insider that the ads would be “opt-in” rather than appear automatically. “Samsung has been working with consumers and with strategic partners since 2011 to explore and develop more interactive smartTV features that will allow consumers the choice to experience a new generation of home entertainment,” the company said in a statement at the time. But, a month later, the ads are still showing up automatically while users are watching media they own.

The confusion comes at a time for Samsung when privacy and consumer choice within the company's TVs are being scrutinized carefully. Earlier this week, a warning in Samsung's smart TV privacy policy suggesting users not say sensitive things in front of their smart TV gained momentum in the media. Although the warning only applies when a customer makes a specific search request to the TV, the idea that Samsung's TVs could hear any living room conversation sparked some wariness about how welcome such a product would be in a home.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Samsung, TVs

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