Samsung TV owners from 2018 onwards can add Samsung TV Plus to their streaming options.
Samsung TV Plus in Australia has over 40 channels of free, ad-supported content. Some available channels here include Bloomberg, RYAN and FRIENDS, Stingray Karaoke, Qwest and Tastemade.
The full channel list and further information can be found here.
The app can also run on Samsung Galaxy S10 and later smartphones. Extreme Caution: Mobile data charges apply.
We cannot confirm if it is voice searchable (OK Google show me X) or if its interface is a simple guide or fully searchable resource. We suspect its EPG does not integrate with the Free-to-Air EPG.
Samsung TV Plus – if the product is free, the product is you
Be aware that the ad-supported format means that you will have ads injected into the stream. You cannot skip them either. There will also be banner ads on the main smart TV interface.
We understand that Samsung continually profiles its customers via Automatic Content Recognition (ACR). It works by detecting what kind of content a viewer is watching. Samsung claims that ACR data is ‘not sold, rented or distributed’ but used exclusively to sell programmatic advertising.
But Samsung does not mention if other data is gained from third parties to round out a profile.
However, Samsung has a US webpage that states, Samsung Ads provides the holistic view advertisers need, in one platform that captures and connects real-time TV behaviours. With the largest, most powerful TV data source, Samsung Ads delivers reach that scales and drives results.
That is on over 60 million eligible TV and hundreds of millions of Galaxy smartphones.
Is it a matter of trust or which company to trust?
Samsung is not alone in supplying ad-supported streaming. Every streaming channel – Netflix, Amazon, Binge, Foxtel, Stan (and there are thousands) collects data on what you watch, where you are up to (in a series) etc.
Like Netflix, some are subscription-supported and use the information to serve you content that it thinks you will like (a match). Others are ad-supported. One, in particular, Amazon Prime uses the login to marry this with its huge shopper’s profile it keeps on you. Others may aggregate data and sell via data brokers.
Even then free-to-air TV broadcasters have ways of measuring audience habits using two-way signals in Digital Terrestrial Transmission. This applies to all TV brands and was the prime driver to change from Analogue to Digital (and you thought it was to get a better picture).
This applies to audio content streaming, radio stations and every free content service.
So, let’s not gasp and pillory Samsung but understand that privacy on a smart TV or any smart device is an oxymoron. It’s a case of whether you trust Samsung or any other brand.
The cure – there is none except to maintain a very small digital footprint.