Let's Go on a Safari

Jul. 25, 2022 [technology] [proprietary]

Users of computerized televisions seem willing to tolerate just about anything. For the record, I have not seen or interacted with any computerized television “Smart TV” so every detail I learn about them is new and hilarious to me. Apparently, one can erect a blatantly obvious walled ghetto around Shart TV users and they seem to remain oblivious to any of it. My IRL reaction to learning some of these facts has unironically looked a lot like this.

It is no longer good enough to have a general purpose remote bearing universally recognized buttons. Instead, Shart TV makers have begun embedding dedicated buttons that correlate to various streaming [dis]services. So when any of these companies inevitably changes their branding, gets bought out or otherwise disappears, you’ll be left with a remote whose very buttons are no longer usable. How’s that for planned obsolescence? Not enough? Then how about chaining content availability per TV model?

Next, there is the embedded advertizing. The industry has taken things to a whole new level by subjecting normcattle to creative new punishments such as 15 second commercials every time the television is powered on, menu-embedded advertisements, overlaying ads onto external video sources such as game consoles, and ads displayed in remote companion apps trailing every five button presses. Many of whom payed hundreds or thousands for the privilege of having ads stuffed in their faces. The industry loves how malleable TV zombies are, stating that “We almost train the users…” in an ad strategy pitch. Their words, not mine.

The television industry also saw the opportunity to create the perfect instantiation of DRM. The first step is to get everyone to connect their hostageware TVs to the internet. And harrass them if they fail to do so. You now have the perfect environment for phone-home DRM enforement. The user’s power to do anything about it has already been usurped by the closed OS and it’s walled garden software store, so saddling them with all of the latest and exciting digital restirictions is a piece of pie. Normslaves, your gods have made an infographic to make it simple to understand which parts of the garden are forbidden:

Streaming Protocol DRM Table

Shart TVs harvest colossal amounts of data and even watch users via integrated cameras. It is not hyperbole to say that they are the telescreens depicted in Orwell’s 1984. They betray information about what other devices are present. They catalogue every second of everything you watch. To the industry, everything said or done in front of one is fair game. And they’re fully aware that most of their soul slaves will likely never opt out.

Smart TVs assume, perhaps correctly, that their users are too stupid to simply connect a real computer over HDMI. They’re basically giant smartphones running some Android spin. When one actually examines what they’re able to get away with, one is left only to wonder how anyone with an IQ above 80 would ever consider using such a device. HTPCs will likely remain the choice solution for anyone with even basic knowledge although respectable displays are becoming increasingly difficult to find.