Buying a used television may not be the best deal. Indeed, Samsung has just communicated on a story of theft in South Africa: the Korean manufacturer quite simply remotely deactivated all the stolen televisions.
Last July, a logistics center in South Africa was looted. The case caused a stir in local media, as the kidnappers set fire to the warehouse and distribution center. Several videos were shared on social networks, the thieves came out of the warehouse with TVs in their arms. We are talking about dozens and dozens of stolen TVs, then resold in different ways to companies and individuals. The opportunity was too good for Samsung: they activated a new feature called TV Block.
How Samsung is able to block a TV remotely
As you probably know, the TVs currently sold are almost all connected. TV builders take advantage to broadcast advertising and retrieve valuable statistics. For customers, this allows access to many services but also to benefit from some software upgrades. Often, it is mandatory to connect a TV when setting it up. At Samsung, this is the case.
Samsung has therefore activated TV Block on stolen televisions. A feature present on all new televisions sold. This means that as soon as one of the stolen TVs is connected to the Internet, which is mandatory during its configuration, the system detects its serial number. If the serial number matches one of the TVs stolen from the warehouse, all TV functions are disabled. Samsung offers to unlock them through customer service if the customer is able to give legal proof of purchase.
In short, think twice before accepting the purchase of a used TV. Always ask proof of purchase, you can also check serial number from Samsung customer service.