Hours ago, we learned that a Samsung warehouse in South Africa had been looted, a theft of televisions that until now could have been sold on the black market without further action from the manufacturer.

However, something has changed since July 2021: Samsung has started implementing TV Block on its televisions, a system for remotely detecting and blocking screens that could have been stolen to render them unusable, which they have already used with this flight to South Africa. .

What and how does Samsung TV Block work

The idea behind this system is simple but powerful: to know if a TV is a legitimate product or has been stolen, in which case it is locked remotely so that it can no longer be used.

TV Block started to come pre-installed on Samsung TVs on an undisclosed date, so we’re not sure exactly which TV models have this feature built in. However, what the manufacturer has indicated is that it started activating from July 11, 2021. As Samsung commented:

This technology (TV Block) is already preloaded in all Samsung TVs. We will be enabling TV Block on all Samsung TVs in our warehouses starting the week of July 11, 2021.

How does the system work? Every television that is turned on and connected to the Internet sends its serial number to Samsung’s servers, and the manufacturer remotely checks whether that particular television has been marked as “stolen” or whether it is a legitimate product.

If it bears this “stolen” mark, the server remotely blocks the TV’s operating system, rendering the screen unusable.

This is intended to deter possible theft by preventing TVs from reaching the market, only allowing owners with proof of purchase to enjoy their TVs.

System limitations and incorrect interlocks possible

Samsung anticipates that there may be incorrect locks (we are not sure why they would occur if the system is only activated with models reported as stolen), for which the rightful owner has the opportunity to prove that ‘he bought the TV from an authorized dealer. .

To do this, you need to go to the store where you bought the TV and it directly from Samsung with the invoice or proof of purchase and serial number for a remote control that will be carried out within 48 hours. , by activating the TV again if it is the rightful owner.

As can be seen, the system only works if the TV is connected to the Internet, so it has no effect if someone is still using the TV disconnected from the Internet.

It’s also not clear what process a conventional user should go through if the TV is stolen to be blocked remotely, as at the moment it appears to be a feature the manufacturer is activating to protect users. screens in its warehouses but it does not. seem to be still there. Focused on the users themselves who can do it or request it directly.

More information | Samsung