First Click: Samsung can shove its TV up its ads

May 31st, 2016


I’m in the market for a new television. I figure I’m willing to pay $2,000 or more for a large-screen baby with HDR. Likely 55 inches, though I’d love to go bigger. I’ll probably buy later this year or early next, just as soon as the current crop of 2016 TVs go on sale (I’m guessing any improvements in the 2017 models will be negligible). So, yeah, there’s a lot of uncertainty left in my buying process. The one thing I’m certain about is that I won’t be buying a TV that inserts advertisements into my menus.

In other words, I won’t be buying a TV from Samsung.

Here’s Min-Jong Lee reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

"The world’s largest maker of TVs by shipments added new tile ads to the main menu bar of its premium TVs in the U.S. in June 2015 and is planning to expand the program to Europe in coming months, people familiar with the matter said.

Samsung is working to expand its pool of advertising clients by using agencies and its ad-sales team in New York, according to one of these people, and by using software updates to retroactively activate tile ads on older smart TV models."

Look, I get Samsung’s profit motivation. The TV business is in decline and the companies that remain operate on razor-thin profit margins. Incumbents like Samsung can’t afford to increase the purchase price on a commodified item because consumers would just buy their large glowing rectangles from lower-priced competitors like HiSense, Seiki, or TCL. But shoving ads into menus of an already poor user experience is not the solution.

Truth be told, I’d rather buydumb TV and then attach a Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, or Apple TV. Devices I can easily upgrade over the 10+ year lifespan of the television. Problem is, nobody seems to be making a TV like that above 50 inches with HDR and lots of HDMI jacks.

If Samsung made that TV you'd better believe I'd consider it.

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