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Apple vs. The World

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TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
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Sep 15, 2004
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Apple and Google are two sides of the same coin - they both want to control the use of their products to our detriment. Apple's PC business would be a lot bigger if they didn't enforce such draconian provisions about what can and can't be done with their hardware. I'm not an Apple user, but I don't deny that the make some very nice stuff. Google tries to play up the "don't be evil" thing with the right hand while the left hand tries to do things behind the back that would make your mother blush.

Heck - my neighbor was angry to the point of almost frothing at the mouth the other day when his Sony TV (that he paid almost $3900 for) suddenly began serving him ads on the home screen - ads that can't be disabled. He spent hours on the phone with Sony support, who eventually told him "this is something Google did in Android (the TV interface is android-based) and can't be turned off". Of course, Sony claims complete innocence despite the fact that it their product and they allowed this to happen. He is now stuck with the TV because, strangely enough, the ads didn't happen to begin until a few days after his return period ended...

Turns out this smart TV ad thing is going to be a big deal in the future as all the big companies are looking to use them to datamine your arse. You might own the hardware, but the manufacturer owns the software running on it and will do with it whatever they can get away with.
This is why I have an AppleTV serving up all the content to my 'smart'TV since I don't trust it to actually be smart. And it would be a Roku, or FireTV, or nVidia Shield if I didn't have so much content through iTunes. Basically, I wouldn't ever let a SmartTV connect to the internet; it's an attack vector (same with most IoT devices, which is why if I can't run them through HomeKit, I don't run them), and the ad thing.
 

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
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This is why I have an AppleTV serving up all the content to my 'smart'TV since I don't trust it to actually be smart. And it would be a Roku, or FireTV, or nVidia Shield if I didn't have so much content through iTunes. Basically, I wouldn't ever let a SmartTV connect to the internet; it's an attack vector (same with most IoT devices, which is why if I can't run them through HomeKit, I don't run them), and the ad thing.
This must be as recent thing, as I haven't noticed ads on my 4K Vizio (Last year's Black Friday purchase.)

Still, it seems to me you're just as likely to see ads pushed by big companies via any streaming box as you are directly on the TV itself (which likely is just running an internal chip same as is in the streaming box).

Meanwhile if I didnt allow my TV to connect directly to the internet, I'd have missed several crucial firmware updates which have improved the menus, and I'd lose Alexa compatibility. Also I couldn't airplay and chromecast directly to it, rather than thru the FireTV and it's just simply more convenient.

I can't fathom why I'd care that Vizio might want to show me some ads on the built in Chromecast, which I don't even use. If the interface on the TV has ads that bother a person- then simply don't use it. But disconnecting the TV from updates and other services seems a bit extreme to me.
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
11,998
29
91
This must be as recent thing, as I haven't noticed ads on my 4K Vizio (Last year's Black Friday purchase.)

Still, it seems to me you're just as likely to see ads pushed by big companies via any streaming box as you are directly on the TV itself (which likely is just running an internal chip same as is in the streaming box).

Meanwhile if I didnt allow my TV to connect directly to the internet, I'd have missed several crucial firmware updates which have improved the menus, and I'd lose Alexa compatibility. Also I couldn't airplay and chromecast directly to it, rather than thru the FireTV and it's just simply more convenient.

I can't fathom why I'd care that Vizio might want to show me some ads on the built in Chromecast, which I don't even use. If the interface on the TV has ads that bother a person- then simply don't use it. But disconnecting the TV from updates and other services seems a bit extreme to me.
My TV is just a display that shows me content served up by the AppleTV. I'll have to check to see if there are any firmware updates for my TV that I would actually care about because unless it's going to improve the display quality, then it just doesn't matter to me. I don't want or need Alexa integration, I never look at its menus, and I Airplay to my AppleTV. If other people find value in having their smart TV be 'smart' then good for them, but since all I want is a big dumb display I don't connect mine to the internet. I just want a fridge that keeps food cold, a TV that is a dumb display, and a washer/dryer that wash and dry, respectively.

Now smart bulbs, I can't get enough of those things. Sylvania makes really affordable ($15 for 2 at walmart) ones that have built in BT, don't require a separate hub, and talk to HomeKit.
 

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
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If you bought a fridge let's say, that had smart capabilities, I think it'd be a bit silly not to use it on the basis of some nefarious plot by the company that made it. Not saying anyone particular needs a 'smart' fridge, but if it had useful internet connected features, it'd be a bit useless 'stand' to make to refuse to use them.

Likewise, I don't think plots to send you ads or whatever is negated much if at all by which device in the chain does the streaming. They all use the same services, made by the same companies. (Most TV manufacturers haven't reinvented the wheel- it's just one of the streaming service boxes built into the monitor, rather than an external dongle or box.) That's exactly why a TV maker would say (correctly) don't blame us, blame google. It's just a damn chromecast or Android TV chip inside the TV, rather than outside it in another plastic box. Not really much voo-doo to it.

Also, since a TV is just another electronic device running software as any other electronic box, it can indeed benefit from firmware updates same as anything else. If Apple or Google issue a firmware update to ATV or Chromecast, I can't really see the benefit in keeping the thing frozen at the firmware when purchased. I wouldn't say an update could improve a TV's picture quality- except it might if it updated better tools by which you adjust the picture, or made that easier and more responsive. It's not a plot- it's just the nature that the software isn't bug-free and absolutely 'finished' the day the TV left the factory any more than any other device.

Whole subject is no big deal- not really criticizing you for not using any smart features of your TV. I just thought it was an interesting 'stand' to take against whatever company, that basically doesn't do anything since those same companies are gonna reach you anyway thru the very next device you have connected.
 
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TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
11,998
29
91
If you bought a fridge let's say, that had smart capabilities, I think it'd be a bit silly not to use it on the basis of some nefarious plot by the company that made it. Not saying anyone particular needs a 'smart' fridge, but if it had useful internet connected features, it'd be a bit useless 'stand' to make to refuse to use them.

Likewise, I don't think plots to send you ads or whatever is negated much if at all by which device in the chain does the streaming. They all use the same services, made by the same companies. (Most TV manufacturers haven't reinvented the wheel- it's just one of the streaming service boxes built into the monitor, rather than an external dongle or box.) That's exactly why a TV maker would say (correctly) don't blame us, blame google. It's just a damn chromecast or Android TV chip inside the TV, rather than outside it in another plastic box. Not really much voo-doo to it.

Also, since a TV is just another electronic device running software as any other electronic box, it can indeed benefit from firmware updates same as anything else. If Apple or Google issue a firmware update to ATV or Chromecast, I can't really see the benefit in keeping the thing frozen at the firmware when purchased. I wouldn't say an update could improve a TV's picture quality- except it might if it updated better tools by which you adjust the picture, or made that easier and more responsive. It's not a plot- it's just the nature that the software isn't bug-free and absolutely 'finished' the day the TV left the factory any more than any other device.

Whole subject is no big deal- not really criticizing you for not using any smart features of your TV. I just thought it was an interesting 'stand' to take against whatever company, that basically doesn't do anything since those same companies are gonna reach you anyway thru the very next device you have connected.
I"m not sure where our disconnect is... A thing I own offers a feature for which I have no use (built-in apps/'smart' software). In order to use said feature, I would have had to do extra work (connect it to the internet), which also comes with a couple downsides (a new attack vector into my home, having to deal with firmware updates, un-avoidable ads) along with the benefits (I don't need a separate box for Netflix/Hulu/HBO/Youtube/CBS/iTunes Movies/Apple Music Streaming/Plex). Since I already have a solutions for the BENEFITS (an AppleTV that was connected to my previous dumb screen), I don't even have to go down that road, and I am happy for that. I never said it was a plot or that there was any voodoo to it. And the only 'stand' I really take is that I would rather avoid ads where I can, and will take reasonable steps to do so. I run adblockers and a VPN, I pay extra to Spotify and Hulu (YouTube Premium is $16/mo which more than I'm willing to pay), and I de-personalize ads wherever I can. The AppleTV does NOT regularly serve up additional ads (though after updates it will frequently throw up a 1-time thing either to talk about a privacy feature, or AppleTV+, but it doesn't play a trailer for "See" before the YouTube app opens, for example)
 

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
7,160
420
126
The disconnect is you're talking as if a computer monitor hooked to a computer is somehow an "attack vector"(overlooking the computer itself!) just because it also had internet features. I just find it a pretty redundant thing to worry about since everything you're viewing through it is attached to internet, using the exact same services. I've never seen an ad on any of my TV's from the TV itself. I have however benefitted from the firmware being updated, as generation 1 firmware on devices is often buggy, and as I said by it having full home automation control.

(Also, maybe it's being missed that using the TV's connected features don't require me to view the built in Chromecast, which is the only place any 'attack vector' ads would theoretically appear. I turn it on and it connects to the SOURCE I choose, same as if it weren't connected. It's just a monitor that can update itself and be controlled by other devices. If all the spam in the world were on the internal Chromecast, I'd never see it.)

Now, if there's a model or brand of TV famous for spam-bombarding the viewer and leaving them no choice but to have to view it, then absolutely, that'd be something to get up in arms about. I suspect it's not a huge issue tho...
 
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TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
11,998
29
91
The disconnect is you're talking as if a computer monitor hooked to a computer is somehow an "attack vector"(overlooking the computer itself!) just because it also had internet features. I just find it a pretty redundant thing to worry about since everything you're viewing through it is attached to internet, using the exact same services. I've never seen an ad on any of my TV's from the TV itself. I have however benefitted from the firmware being updated, as generation 1 firmware on devices is often buggy, and as I said by it having full home automation control.

(Also, maybe it's being missed that using the TV's connected features don't require me to view the built in Chromecast, which is the only place any 'attack vector' ads would theoretically appear. I turn it on and it connects to the SOURCE I choose, same as if it weren't connected. It's just a monitor that can update itself and be controlled by other devices. If all the spam in the world were on the internal Chromecast, I'd never see it.)

Now, if there's a model or brand of TV famous for spam-bombarding the viewer and leaving them no choice but to have to view it, then absolutely, that'd be something to get up in arms about. I suspect it's not a huge issue tho...
This is NOT about ads.

When I'm talking about attack vectors, I'm not talking about ads. I'm talking about a 'Smart'TV's DUMB internet connection over which the individual consumer has little control.

This is NOT about ads.

I don't think everything in my life needs to be connected to the internet, even if it does have it's own built in wifi antenna. You don't seem to mind. IoT devices (which 'Smart'TVs definitely are) have been, and continue to be, used in massive DDoS attacks because they are usually incredibly insecure devices with open ports on the internet. Your ChomeCast and my AppleTV, and the Roku, and the FireTV, and most other streaming boxes are NOT nearly as exposed on that front (it varies from OS to OS, box to box). The same can be said about most smart lightbulbs, locks, thermostats, switches, sprinklers, garage door openers, blinds, and whatever else they come up with to add to the INTERNET OF THINGS!!!

This is NOT about ads.

Ads are annoying, and I want to avoid them, but even more than that, I want to avoid having anything I own getting taken over by a gigantic botnet and being used nefariously.
 
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