Stolen smart TVs can be blocked: here’s how

Not everyone knows that Samsung has retained the ability to deactivate a smart TV remotely: it's done via TV Block, here's how it works

The violent unrest that occurred in South Africa last month resulted in several lootings that involved numerous businesses, including shopping malls and electronics stores inside of which were also stored Samsung products waiting to be sold.

Almost incalculable damage caused by the masses enraged by the consequences of Covid-19, which is reaching unsustainable levels in the region. Infrastructure and economic damage from the stolen goods, which Samsung is determined to block so as to hinder their use or resale on the black market and discourage similar initiatives in the future. So the company has unveiled a backstory that many were certainly not aware of: Samsung is able to remotely disable any smart TV bearing its brand, so even those stolen, through TV Block, a feature built into each of the smart TVs that come out of the manufacturing plants.

What is TV Block featured on Samsung smart TVs

"TV Block is a remote security feature capable of detecting whether Samsung smart TVs have been improperly activated and ensuring that the TVs can only be used by legitimate owners who have duly purchased them," Samsung said. "TV Block's goal is to thwart the activity of black markets selling illegal goods, both in South Africa and elsewhere. The technology is pre-installed on all Samsung smart TVs," he concluded.

In just a few sentences, Samsung expressed all its (understandable) disapproval of this kind of action. At the same time, the company confirms that it has already thought about the possibility of misappropriation of its products, preparing a feature such as TV Block that should discourage theft or other illegal actions.

How TV Block works

TV Block is therefore a very useful feature of Samsung smart TVs, not only in thankfully rare cases like the riots in South Africa, but also in all those occasions when Samsung finds itself having to block the use of a TV that someone has misappropriated.

Explaining how TV Block works is actually quite simple. When a Samsung smart TV is connected to the internet, it connects to Samsung's servers, which check the smart TV's serial number against a sort of "blacklist" of stolen or illegally obtained TVs. So, in case of a positive result, all the functions of the smart TV are disabled.

Samsung has also thought about the eventuality in which a smart TV is disabled by mistake through TV Block. In this case, full functionality will be restored within 48 hours after presenting a valid proof of purchase to a Samsung retailer (invoice or receipt) or a photocopy thereof sent to [email protected].