Complaints about unexpected ads first appeared last month
Samsung addressed similar complaints in January after tech writer David Chartier posted a picture of a pop-up ad for a "Yahoo Broadcast Interactivity" app appearing on his smart TV. Samsung explained that these sorts of ads were supposed to be opt-in only and was working with Yahoo to improve the system.
A picture of Yahoo's Privacy Notice on a Samsung smart TV. (siliconaddict/Ars Technica)
However, despite these earlier complaints it seems the same Yahoo scheme might also be to blame for the new intrusions, with Reddit users advising one another to uncheck the web company's privacy notice to disable the ads. At the time of writing, Samsung hadn't responded to our request for comment, but the company's Australian division told CNET that ads seen by the country's users were the "result of an error that occurred as part of a recent software update that was not intended for the Australian market" and that the problem was now "rectified." Note that Samsung isn't saying that the ads weren't planned — but merely that they weren't planned for the Australian market.
The internet has given consumers more control than ever before over what TV they watch and when, and adding this connectivity to the biggest screen in the house certainly makes sense on paper. However, companies like Samsung and LG have proven time and time again that smart TVs aren't about giving more control to consumers — they're about taking it away; with obtrusive privacy policies, clunky software, and adverts, adverts, adverts. So much for the future: perhaps it's time to bring back the dumb TV.