First Click: Samsung can shove its TV up its ads


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.

About Author

Thomas Ricker

Thomas' first gadget memory was typing 7734 into his father's inverted, HP-35 scientific calculator. Clearly fated to tech blogging, he would have to wait another 20 years before the rise of the medium. A degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering led Thomas to Silicon Valley just prior to the dot-com boom. He landed in London after the bust then bounced between New York and London before settling in Amsterdam with his wife and three young children. In June of 2011, Thomas wrote his 1,362,258th word for Engadget, leaving to help launch The Verge.

Comments are closed.