Thirty three pages of posts on the official Samsung Community forum boil down to one simple request: please add an option to turn off automatic HDMI switching. The first question was asked by CNMark in April of last year. Since then, hundreds of replies have chimed in with similar requests and anecdotes. "Turning on my computer changes the TV to my HDMI... pretty frustrating when the wife is watching one of her shows," writes one user. Most complaints have a similar theme.
Here’s how CNMark kicked it off:
Turn off auto-detect HDMI
How do you turn off the auto-detect HDMI feature? Sometimes my Apple TV comes on and then the TV automatically turns on as well but I don't want the TV to do so. How do you turn off this feature?
The "feature" seems to be a new addition to 2016 models, but it's not well documented and the inability to turn it off sounds like a bug. It's especially exacerbated by the Nintendo Switch, which causes these Samsung TVs and some other devices to switch over to its HDMI input randomly when it's in sleep mode. At least this can be slightly fixed on the Switch’s end by turning off the “Match TV Power State” setting, as a forum moderator helpfully points out.
On the thread there are plenty of documented attempts to chat with Samsung support — no amount of resetting the firmware or toggling options seems to fix the core issue. One intrepid user, "Sam Soong," started snipping wires in the HDMI cable to see if an advanced HDMI feature was responsible for the automatic switching, but with no luck.
HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) allows devices to communicate with a TV and pass information and inputs on through. For instance, the PS4 has CEC, and can automatically switch a TV to its HDMI input when it fires up. This feature can also be manually disabled on the PS4. But there's also an option to disable CEC on these offending Samsung TVs, and it doesn't solve the issue, and disabling CEC on the PS4 doesn't help in this case either.
The best solution I've spotted on the forum so far is adding an HDMI switcher to your setup, so the TV only has one HDMI plug to worry about. It's not ideal, but until Samsung can offer a firmware update or other solution, it's the best way to end the frustration.
We’ve reached out to Samsung for comment, but no response so far.