In July this year, a Samsung logistics center in South Africa was looted. Consequently, the assailants took dozens and dozens of products, including many, many brand televisions that were ready to be sold to retailers and later consumers. Unfortunately for the thieves, they will not be able to use those televisions either.
According to Samsung South Africa in a press release, they have activated TV Block on all looted televisions at the distribution center. What is TV Block? A functionality that Samsung smart TVs bring and allow the brand to block them remotely. Essentially, it leaves stolen TVs unusable.
The company indicates that TV Block works by detecting if the television has been activated illegally. This ensures that only televisions used by legitimate owners who have a valid proof of purchase will work. They say the goal is “to mitigate the creation of secondary markets linked to the sale of illegal goods.”
As soon as a stolen television is connected to the Internet (and it has to do so before it can be used), the system will detect the serial number. If the serial number matches one of the stolen televisions from the warehouse, all functions of the television are disabled. They say that if a TV is blocked by mistake, it can be unlocked by sending the purchase receipt to the brand’s technical support.
Smart TVs, for the good and the bad
Smart TVs have been around for almost a decade. Like smartphones, they improved by adding extra functionality and Internet connection. With the passage of time, third-party apps and especially streaming services arrived. This is undoubtedly an advantage for the user, who now has more capabilities apart from a simple screen broadcasting video. For example, the option to block stolen TVs.
However, it has also allowed manufacturers to get more of the sale of televisions, retrospectively. This is achieved for example with the inclusion of advertising. Android TV for example shows ads on the home screen, some Xiaomi TVs also for a while. Brands like Vizio have directly made it a mainstay of their income, earning almost as much from advertising as from selling TVs.