Samsung TV blocking OTA channels

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
284
Texas
Hi,

My dad bought a new Samsung 46in ‘smart’ TV about a month ago.

I helped him set it up as he’s not exceptionally tech savvy with things that don’t have vacuum tubes.

So the very, very first thing I did after connecting it to power and his outside aerial, was to do a channel scan. My dad has a large antenna that’s about 24 feet in the air and it’s on a rotor.
In the days before everything went digital my folks used to watch Houston channels all the time. His house is about 100 miles east of Houston. After the digital switch over they lost Houston completely. From what I understand the digital transmitters are much weaker than the old analog ones.

Also they would watch channels from Lake Charles, Louisiana which is 50 miles to the east. The tower is about 20 miles east of Lake Charles so it’s about a 70 mile jump.

Anyway, on the old TV they had no problem with getting KPLC 7.1 and 7.2 from Lake Charles.

And when I did the initial channel scan the new TV found the channels and added them to the list and they came in great. That night my dad watched TV and everything was fine.

The next day I went back and set up the internet stuff. It has WIFI built into it for the so called ’smart’ features. I whitelisted the TV on his WIFI then it connected up and downloaded updates and stuff which took awhile.

I checked a few of it’s apps and I found them to be slow, sluggish and clunky. It also was lacking in a lot of options. I was not impressed.

So after that I told my dad to forget about the extra junk and just use it like a normal TV like he always did with the old TV.

A few days later I talked to him and he tells me that the TV was now missing the KPLC channels.
We thought maybe it was the weather which was a little rainy here and there but I didn’t think it was enough to knock out the channels like that.

I told him to give it a few days for the weather to get better and try again.

Still nothing. So I helped him on the phone do a new channel scan. Nothing. Now it wouldn’t see KPLC at all. He was annoyed but it wasn’t the end of the world.

So a few weeks passed and he was watching other channels but not KPLC anymore.
Today he came and picked me up to go with him on some errands and we were talking about the TV again. So I pulled out my phone and I saw some people mentioning that Samsung TV’s are under the Big Brother thumb of Samsung and possibly the FCC and corporate profiteers. Another term came to mind. DMA.

So after we ran errands we went by my dad’s house and I disabled the internet features completely.
I did a manual configuration of the WIFI addresses and I put 127.0.0.1 in on EVERYTHING.
Now it can not connect to anything. It couldn’t even connect to a neighbor’s WIFI in a move of desperation.

After I disabled the internet I did a new scan for OTA channels and BOOM! KPLC was magically back again!

So what I realized is that the TV was using my dad’s IP address to determine it’s physical address/location and ‘phoned home’ with that information. I’m sure it also sent a list of channels it found along with it’s geolocation info and someone at Samsung (actually an automated system) told it that KPLC is not allowed in my dad’s area because it’s in another state and outside of his DMA and thus blacklisted the channels.

After crippling the TV it couldn’t figure out where it is and thus can not blacklist channels.

In my opinion this is a cr*p thing for them to do, they have no legal right to restrict you from watching an OTA channel that you can pick up with your own personal and legal aerial.

My dad did not agree to these restrictions and never would agree to them. Nothing at all was ever mentioned on the box or in the manual or any other paperwork that such a thing would ever come to pass.

And now the only way to watch the channels he’s legally entitled to watch, he has to cripple the snot out of the TV so that ALL of it’s ’smart’ features no longer work.

Certainly this can’t be legal for them to do this. Right?
Does anyone know of a way to disable this geographic channel blocking mal-feature without having to cripple the entire TV?

Thanks..
 
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primestar31

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Mar 15, 2005
8,737
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That's odd that they would do that. I have an LG smart tv, and when you enter your ZIP CODE in a certain place in the menu, it allows a tv guide to populate with my OTA channels. It does NOT however stop the tv set from receiving channels out of market though....

Check that specific tv's thread at avsforum.com. If it really does as you say, they'll know it and might have a workaround.
 

mike123abc

Too many cables
Supporting Founder
Sep 25, 2003
22,823
1,432
Norman, OK
Sounds like a case of the TV trying to be too smart. If it did not have guide data for a channel, the channel must not exist...
 

StevenD

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Nov 18, 2003
3,412
436
n
It's just that the world is out to get you, Ms Haller!
 

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
284
Texas
The TV is a UN46EH5300F. And it does have guide information via the antenna.

I have confirmed that when the WIFI is enabled it will not permit KPLC 7.x channels to exist. My dad’s TV is in the 77627 zip code which is Nederland, Texas. KPLC is in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.50.41 PM.jpg

Enable WIFI = NO KPLC
Disable WIFI = KPLC works great. Guide info and all.

Other thing to note, this does NOT happen on my dad’s older flat screen TV which is not a ‘smart’ TV, it’s an older (6 years?) Westinghouse brand. His old flat screen is as basic as it gets, it’s one of the first flat screens that came out and my dad has always been diligent about buy name brand stuff rather than Asian brands (Yes, I know and he knows that it’s ALL made over there despite the name on the logo).

There is no way it has anything what so ever to do with the antenna or the signal quality because my folks have ALWAYS been able to tune in KPLC for as long as they lived there which has been since 1972.
Before the digital transition and after, they have always been able to get that channel and now that it’s digital, the sub channels too.

My dad sat there and watched the whole thing play out.

The day he brought it home I connected it to his outside antenna and scanned for channels, it found quite a few including KPLC.

I went upstairs and whitelisted the new TV for his WIFI and the TV began downloading updates right away.
KPLC was now gone and my dad has not been able to find it despite multiple re-scans since then.

I killed it’s WIFI by filling it with bogus IP addresses and re-scanned and bingo, KPLC is back again.

Re-enable WIFI and poof! It’s gone again.

One thing that my dad said that annoyed him a lot about the set is that every single night it would “call home” and put a message on the screen that it’s downloading updates.

I don’t know if it was trying to download new firmware or TV guide information. I suspect some of everything.

I also suspect that when it calls home it reports the geolocation of the TV and is told that KPLC is out of it’s DMA and then it deletes the channel from it’s scanned in list.

I know this, I have an OLD iPad, it’s the very first 1st gen model they ever sold. It has zero features, it’s totally Jurassic in it’s ability to do anything. There is no GPS, no compass and no cellular capability in it.
But if I go to google maps, without me touching anything, it zooms right down on my house and drops a pin right at the end of my driveway. Google can figure out where I am at on that ancient iPad (and no, I am not logged into google, I do not have any google accounts and I aggressively block google and ads and every other privacy invading thing I can) but google can figure out where I am within about 20 feet. My dad uses the same ISP and I have been over there with my tablet and it’s done the same thing, google zooms right in and drops a pin on his house. So I guarantee you that the TV also knows where it is physically located with a high degree of accuracy and it’s exchanging that information with SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE and is being told to delete the out of state channels.

During the setup of the TV there is nothing in there where it asks for the zip code or address. And it just occurred to me that it can also figure out it’s general location by reporting all the channels it can find to ‘home’.
I’m sure it knows the signal strength of each found channel and they can use that to get a pretty good guess where the TV is. The IP address though is the one thing that really nails it down.
But once its disconnected it doesn’t know what to do, it can’t make the decision on it’s own to drop channels, it has to get that from ‘home’ wherever that is.

My dad paid for a ‘smart’ TV and to use it he has restrictions imposed upon him concerning what he can and can not watch. He must accept the censoring if he wants to have the other features that he paid extra for.
Or he can disable those extra, paid for features to be able to watch TV channels he’s been able to watch freely for 42 years on every other TV they ever owned.

That’s a pretty sorry thing Samsung has done. I had considered buying one like it but now after seeing this there is no way I would accept such a thing.
 

primestar31

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Mar 15, 2005
8,737
5,119
Beta Omicron Delta III
Dee, it's probably just a stupid firmware BUG. There's no way they did this on purpose. Report it to Samsung with as much detail as you can, and perhaps they'll create a firmware to fix it.

Since I bought my LG smart tv a little over 1 year ago, LG has released about 6 newer firmwares that I have allowed to download and install that have fixed and/or added a bunch of things.

As I mentioned earlier, check avsforum.com's thread on this model, and see what they say. If more people confirm it, you'll have an even better chance at a newer firmware that'll fix it. In fact, maybe there already IS a newer firmware than your father has on the tv set right now that fixes it.

Here, I'll even help you find the master thread: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/166-l...g-eh4000-eh5000-eh5300-owner-s-thread-75.html

Avsforum is THE place to go to in cases like this, just like Satelliteguys is the place for dedicated satellite stuff. If you can't find an answer on Avsforum, it doesn't exist!
 
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midwest_gal

New Member
Jan 20, 2020
2
0
2
Hi,

My dad bought a new Samsung 46in ‘smart’ TV about a month ago.

I helped him set it up as he’s not exceptionally tech savvy with things that don’t have vacuum tubes.

So the very, very first thing I did after connecting it to power and his outside aerial, was to do a channel scan. My dad has a large antenna that’s about 24 feet in the air and it’s on a rotor.
In the days before everything went digital my folks used to watch Houston channels all the time. His house is about 100 miles east of Houston. After the digital switch over they lost Houston completely. From what I understand the digital transmitters are much weaker than the old analog ones.

Also they would watch channels from Lake Charles, Louisiana which is 50 miles to the east. The tower is about 20 miles east of Lake Charles so it’s about a 70 mile jump.

Anyway, on the old TV they had no problem with getting KPLC 7.1 and 7.2 from Lake Charles.

And when I did the initial channel scan the new TV found the channels and added them to the list and they came in great. That night my dad watched TV and everything was fine.

The next day I went back and set up the internet stuff. It has WIFI built into it for the so called ’smart’ features. I whitelisted the TV on his WIFI then it connected up and downloaded updates and stuff which took awhile.

I checked a few of it’s apps and I found them to be slow, sluggish and clunky. It also was lacking in a lot of options. I was not impressed.

So after that I told my dad to forget about the extra junk and just use it like a normal TV like he always did with the old TV.

A few days later I talked to him and he tells me that the TV was now missing the KPLC channels.
We thought maybe it was the weather which was a little rainy here and there but I didn’t think it was enough to knock out the channels like that.

I told him to give it a few days for the weather to get better and try again.

Still nothing. So I helped him on the phone do a new channel scan. Nothing. Now it wouldn’t see KPLC at all. He was annoyed but it wasn’t the end of the world.

So a few weeks passed and he was watching other channels but not KPLC anymore.
Today he came and picked me up to go with him on some errands and we were talking about the TV again. So I pulled out my phone and I saw some people mentioning that Samsung TV’s are under the Big Brother thumb of Samsung and possibly the FCC and corporate profiteers. Another term came to mind. DMA.

So after we ran errands we went by my dad’s house and I disabled the internet features completely.
I did a manual configuration of the WIFI addresses and I put 127.0.0.1 in on EVERYTHING.
Now it can not connect to anything. It couldn’t even connect to a neighbor’s WIFI in a move of desperation.

After I disabled the internet I did a new scan for OTA channels and BOOM! KPLC was magically back again!

So what I realized is that the TV was using my dad’s IP address to determine it’s physical address/location and ‘phoned home’ with that information. I’m sure it also sent a list of channels it found along with it’s geolocation info and someone at Samsung (actually an automated system) told it that KPLC is not allowed in my dad’s area because it’s in another state and outside of his DMA and thus blacklisted the channels.

After crippling the TV it couldn’t figure out where it is and thus can not blacklist channels.

In my opinion this is a cr*p thing for them to do, they have no legal right to restrict you from watching an OTA channel that you can pick up with your own personal and legal aerial.

My dad did not agree to these restrictions and never would agree to them. Nothing at all was ever mentioned on the box or in the manual or any other paperwork that such a thing would ever come to pass.

And now the only way to watch the channels he’s legally entitled to watch, he has to cripple the snot out of the TV so that ALL of it’s ’smart’ features no longer work.

Certainly this can’t be legal for them to do this. Right?
Does anyone know of a way to disable this geographic channel blocking mal-feature without having to cripple the entire TV?

Thanks..
 

midwest_gal

New Member
Jan 20, 2020
2
0
2
I'm thinking you maybe right, we just purchased a new 65" Samsung 4K Smart TV and after setting it all up and scanning for channels, none of the our local oeta channels we were previously able to get on our old Samsung TV (approx. 3-4 yrs old) were NOT the list of channels? Yes, we have an HDTV antenna hooked up to the new TV and it worked great on the old Samsung TV. We have tried multiple times to scan again and chose both options air and cable (even though we have no cable, thought it might worth a shot) but still only the same 11 channels.

We aren't sure what to do but enjoy our local OETA news and shows and can't see why Samsung would want to block any of our local channels here in OK?
FYI we are regretting purchasing a new smart tv, ya they have a lot of options but the remote is not user friendly and your searching all over it trying to find where you want to be...too much can sometimes be just too much.
 

arlo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2016
235
104
North Eastern
Wow that's some good interesting reading.
I'd register in the Samsung support forum and ask these questions.....but granulate them.
For what reason would any modern TV not be able to get the same channels that one a few years old will?
And if a tuner like an HDHomerun can get those channels no problem, why would your TV not?
Both are connected to the Internet.

Of course most TV's that grab updates over the 'net...once firmware is "updated", can't be downgraded to previous versions.
I know my Sony smart TV went through several firmware updates. And tons of owners griped on their forum. So many that they created a new one. Wondering why?

In the interim. You could return the tv if it's not too late. I notice that Wifi is never as good as an RJ connection.
And perhaps divorcing the TV from the 'net and getting something like an Amazon product would be a wise solution.
I know your dad is much like mine was. It was difficult to teach him how to switch inputs to watch DVD's.
Thank the lord for CEC. One button presses and a cheat cheat for the old gent!

I'm a bit confused of your mentioning using loopback (127.0.0.1) for EVERYTHING?? What up with that, and why?
And what is "everything"??
And also. W/O me doing a ton of searching is there a concept, law, reasoning, sushi and saki inspired reasoning of nuking local OTA channels when connected to the 'net? That blows me away.
 

907TECH

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 29, 2018
262
276
Alaska
Digital transmitters are not much weaker than analog, some are 1,000,000 watts. In fact digital transmission is about 30% more efficient than analog. There is quite a difference in sensitivity between various TV's, outboard tuners and receivers. And no, there is no geographic blocking going on with OTA. By definition if you are receiving a station OTA, you are in the service area. Since the transition from analog, many stations switched bands to UHF mostly, many of the older antenna did not have UHF, many did. Here is a guess, the old antenna may have a problem or does not have good UHF coverage, and when you turn on Wifi, RF interference is taking the OTA out. It's not big brother a lot of wild assumptions being made. Edit, I didn't see how old the original post was.
 
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