This afternoon, I was updating the streaming apps on my 2020 LG CX OLED TV, something I do from time to time, but today was different. Out of nowhere, I saw (and heard) an ad for Ace Hardware start playing in the lower-left corner. It autoplayed with sound without any action on my part.
Now I’m fully aware that it’s not unusual to see ads placed around a TV’s home screen or main menu. LG, Samsung, Roku, Vizio, and others are all in on this game. We live in an era when smart TVs can automatically recognize what you’re watching, and TV makers are building nice ad businesses for themselves with all of the data that gets funneled in.
But this felt pretty egregious even by today’s standards. A random, full-on commercial just popping up in LG’s app store? Is there no escape from this stuff? We’re just going to cram ads into every corner of a TV’s software, huh? Imagine if an autoplay ad started up while you were updating the apps on your smartphone.
People want cheap TVs, so people get cheap TVs – warts and all. Someone should set up a website and list TVs that are “safe to buy” and do not contain or display any ads. Of course, this still doesn’t solve the issue of “smart” TVs being security nightmares, but it’d be a step.