Forced Ads on Samsung TV and How to Block Them

Internet and majority of its free content is owed to ads. The biggest exception of the ad paradigm, the Wikipedia, is funded mainly through small donations. We do enjoy the free services subsidized by ads: search engines, social media, music and video streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, mobile apps, almost all podcasts, TV and news networks, and many more.

Do consumers have a choice?

There is an old saying that predates the internet boom of the late 90s:

If a service or product is free, you are the product.

But, what if we don’t want to be the product?

In a research by Vox and Recode, the cost of an ad-free internet was estimated at $35 per month per person with Facebook and Google taking the biggest piece of the $35 pie. Yet, neither Amazon, Facebook, nor Google have commented on the possibility of an ad-free internet.

But, how about a paid technology?

Can you imagine paying for a technology, yet, seeing ads? Imagine your iPhone force-feeding you ads on its lock-screen with no options to remove it. It sounds ridiculous, right? You would be shocked and disappointed if YouTube Premium still showed ads!

As absurd and shameful as seeing ads on a paid service sounds, “Samsung” does it.

Shameful Advertisement on Samsung TV

Starting in 2016, Samsung started pushing software updates to its Smart TVs which showed ads on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen with no option to remove the ad!

The ads on Samsung TVs are not necessarily related to entertainment, they range from food and canned beans to banks and other financial institutions.

Are Consumers OK with Forced Ads?

Based on the posts on the Samsung community forum (post1, post2, post3, …) consumer dissatisfaction with the forced ads practice is quite evident:

its absolutely disgusting that you pay this sort of money for Samsung to pedal their rubbish on your tv like a billboard. I’ve bought loads of their TVs and mobiles, but this is really put me off their products. Any new product I buy or recommend will definitely not be a Samsung on principle

Reactions on Twitter have been nothing less of rage and disappointment (post1, post2, post3,…) with some stating that they will be returning their Samsung TV. The author of the reddit post on blocking Samsung Forced TV Ads is amazed that their post has gained so much attention.

OMG this is the 12th most popular post in the WORLD today on Reddit!

Regardless, Samsung has continued their unpleasant forced-ads practice for 5+ years at the cost of user dissatisfaction.

Samsung has continued the forced-ads practice for 5+ years.

How to Block Samsung Ads?

There is no user-friendly option to turn ads off on Samsung Smart TV. The only option available is not turn off “Interest Based Advertisements (IBA) (targetted ads)” but not the ad itself.

The easiest way is to use a DNS server which allows domain blacklisting. One of such DNS servers that offers their services for individuals for free is OpenDNS (https://www.opendns.com).

Step-by-step Guide

1- Open a free OpenDNS account. Look for OpenDNS Home which is offered for free.

2- Go to settings and click on ADD THIS NETWORK. Don’t change the pre-filled IP address in the IP address; that is your public IP address.

2- Give your network a friendly name. If your IP address does not change (i.e if it is static), you can uncheck the “dynamic” box.

3- Click on the newly created network

4- Add any domain that Samsung uses to feed forced-ads to the list of blocked domains by choosing the “Always block” option.

Here is a comprehensive list that I have found so far:

  • config.samsungads.com
  • events.samsungads.com
  • gpm.samsungqbe.com
  • log-config.samsungacr.com
  • samsung.com
  • samsung.net
  • samsungacr.com
  • samsungads.com
  • samsungcloudcdn.com
  • samsungcloudsolution.com
  • samsungcloudsolution.net
  • samsungelectronics.com
  • samsungotn.net
  • samsungqbe.com
  • samsungrm.net
  • static.doubleclick.net
  • tvx.adgrx.com

Unfortunately, Samsung changes its ad servers every once in a while. So, be prepared to update the list as Samsung uses more and more domains to feed you forced ads.

Unfortunately, Samsung changes its ad servers

5- Go to TV Settings > General > Network > Network Status > IP Settings > DNS Settings > Enter manually > set the DNS Server to 208.67.222.222

6- Turn the TV off and on again.

If this have worked, the Ads should not appear on the menu bar anymore.

Caveats

  • You can’t access any Samsung related service, including the app store. This is quite unpleasant as the user is forced to switch back and forth between blocking and unblocking Samsung domains.

Final Words

I purchased a Samsung Smart QLED TV 5 days ago. I reached out to Samsung technical support regarding the issue and confirmed that there is no option to remove the ad.

As tech-savvy consumers, it is our responsibility to help shape the industry for the better and stop other tech giants from repeating this mistake. Hence, I will be returning the TV to the retail store and have informed Samsung on the reason.

Let us all return Samsung TVs and not purchase one until they stop the Forced-Ad practice.

References

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