Samsung can remotely disable its televisions using a Block Function

A few weeks back, looters in South Africa had a field day ransacking warehouses of large companies and making away with hundreds of millions worth of stolen goods. One of the affected warehouses was the Samsung warehouse located in the East Coast of South Africa, where numerous new TV sets were stolen.

These stolen TV sets have since then found their way to the black market, and are being sold for prices significantly lower than what they are worth. It looks like Samsung, however, have an ace up their sleeve.

This is in the form of an implementation of a Television Block Function on all Samsung TV sets. The blocking system will be turned on all Samsung TV sets that have been acquired by end users through unlawful means and in this particular case, stolen from the Samsung warehouse.

What is TV Block?

According to Samsung, TV Block is a remote, security solution that detects if Samsung units have been unduly activated, and ensures that the televisions can only be used by the rightful owners who have valid proof of purchase.

This technology is already preloaded on all Samsung TV sets and was aimed at mitigating the creation of secondary markets like the selling of illegal goods, both in South Africa and beyond its borders.

“In keeping with our values to leverage the power of technology to resolve societal challenges, we will continuously develop and expand strategic products in our consumer electronics division with defence-grade security, purpose-built, with innovative and intuitive business tools designed for a new world. This technology can have a positive impact at this time, and will also be of use to both the industry and customers in the future, “said Mike Van Lier, Director of Consumer Electronics at Samsung South Africa.

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How does the Samsung TV Block work?

When a person with a stolen TV connects to the internet to set up the device, the TV’s serial number will be identified on Samsung’s server. This will trigger the blocking system, therefore disabling all the TV’s functions.

If by bad luck, someone’s TV is blocked wrongly having purchased it legally using the right channels, Samsung promises to restore it once the person can share proof of purchase and a valid TV licence with a legitimate retailer.

The Director of Consumer Electronics at Samsung South Africa concludes by saying, “As an organization, we acknowledge the critical role in giving our customers and clients peace of mind. Working together, we can overcome the impact of the unprecedented disruption to business, as experienced by many of us recently. We will continue to review the situation and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure business continuity for all,”

Take away on the Samsung TV Block feature

Whether Samsung will use this feature on a case by case basis like when a single user’s TV set is stolen or only in large cases like the breaking in of a warehouse and numerous TV sets going missing is yet to be confirmed by the South Korean company, but it is still a welcome feature that would be received with open arms in Kenya and the rest of the world.

Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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