OpenLGTV: Legal reverse engineering and research of LG TVs firmware

retSava · 10 days ago

I made which can control a webos LGTV on your local network. It was in my js beginnings so pretty sketchy and not at all clean. Once I was able to control it I kind of lost interest in making it more tweakable, cleaner interface etc, but there are others that did.

At home I now run a small rpi0 with a telegram bot that, among other things, acts as a LGTV command proxy. So on my phone, I now tell my telegram bot eg "movie" which then puts the tv on the right input, sets volume, dims some hue lights and shows a nice float on the TV with a welcoming message.

It's also useful when I can't find the physical remote, or to send messages like "dinner in 10" (that shows on the TV screen in a float) to a gaming child with selective hearing enabled :).

ciberado · 9 days ago

I used your library! When I asked Alexa to light the fireplace, a raspi turned on the home heater and the TV started playing the furnace video on Netflix :D My daughter told me she didn't understand the point, as it was not real, but the project was so much fun to implement ^_^ Thanks a lot for sharing it.

mjoin · 10 days ago

That way of communicating with your child is some black mirror shit

Angostura · 10 days ago

My daughter wanted a colour changing lightbulb in her bedroom, so I bought a Homekit-enabled one. I'll call her for dinner a couple of times, but of she still hasn't responded after that (headphones on, usually). "Hey Siri Red Alert" will start pulsing her light red.

At which point there is much grumbling and stomping. Black Mirror? Maybe, but hey, I have to get my enjoyment where I can.

rndgermandude · 10 days ago

Black mirror or not, I like this, and can see the enjoyment in this too :D

When I was a kid, when I didn't show up within 5 minutes of being called for dinner, I wasn't allowed to sit down at the table anymore. I then had to wait until everybody else was done, and enjoy a usually cold meal afterwards, and any dessert was usually gone by that time too. And I had to do the cleanup. Suffice it to say, we kids weren't late a lot of times.

dylan604 · 10 days ago

What would be full Black Mirror would have that voice message sent to the device the headphones are being used so that the actual message is heard as well. Maybe with the klaxon sound effect preceding the message. Oh, having the red light pulse as well still. No need to not use it when available. Maybe even combine movie universes and have an animated envelope read the message a la Harry Potter.

jes · 10 days ago

I have a color scheme in my Hue setup called “Rig for Red.” I like being able to say “Alexa, turn on Rig for Red in Living Room.” :-)

Cthulhu_ · 10 days ago

If you prefer shouting up the stairs through multiple doors over whatever it is they're doing, that's your prerogative of course.

nsxwolf · 10 days ago

Anyone remember home intercoms? They seemed to be incredibly popular in new home construction for awhile in the late 80s and early 90s where I live. They were very useful. They seemed to disappear without really being replaced by anything.

I’m considering getting a bunch of HomePod Minis to try out the intercom function.

Netcob · 10 days ago

I think that's basically just a notification. Where it gets creepy is when parents install 24/7 surveillance cameras in their childrens bedrooms.

I can kinda understand it when it's about being able to quickly check if your baby is okay, but I doubt every parent has the decency to disable it eventually to give their child some privacy.

There's no way there aren't lots of children growing up with zero privacy right now.

roody15 · 10 days ago

My wife and I have three children and we don’t allow any cameras in the house. We believe some level of privacy is needed for normal human development and a healthy overall sense of well being.

A4ET8a8uTh0 · 10 days ago

I don't see why. Can you elaborate? Black Mirror explicitly explores paths of technology gone wrong? I might be missing the concern here.

For the record; I think its cool. I do like my LG ( but it is not connected to anything ). This is the first time ever I am actually tempted.

mig39 · 9 days ago

I routinely SSH to my kid's iMac and use the 'say' command to deliver important messages. Like "this computer will be rebooting in 30 seconds ..."

MonaroVXR · 9 days ago

I need answers for this statement...

Ok open up, what is your kid doing on an iMac? (You didn't expect the question huh)

midasuni · 9 days ago

Self destruct. Then play the mission impossible music.

nkrisc · 10 days ago

But sending someone a text message on the phone isn’t?

ezconnect · 10 days ago

I just turn off the device wifi on the router if my child is not paying attention.

semi-extrinsic · 9 days ago

Nah. We have Nest Mini's in our kids rooms, and I will routinely cast my phone audio to those speakers, turn the volume to max, type my message into the Google Translate webpage and then press the "Read Aloud" button. It's funny and it works.

sneak · 10 days ago

Note that telegram is not e2e encrypted, so you're sharing your private family communications with logging servers in russia.

GranPC · 10 days ago

Telegram is indeed not E2E encrypted, and messages sent to/from bots cannot opt into E2E; but would you happen to have a citation handy for more information on these logging servers in Russia you speak of? Thanks!

throw10920 · 10 days ago

"In August 2014, SORM-2 usage was extended to monitoring of social networks, chats and forums, requiring their operators to install SORM probes in their networks."

orangepurple · 10 days ago

USA: PRISM is probably still a very active project. This is the program where the NSA would request access to major US companies (notably Google and Microsoft) and the companies would grant them access to some of their databases. The NSA slide says that "it varies by provider" what information the NSA is privy to, but it never breaks it down fully to say exactly which provider is providing which data. The NSA slides do mention email contents, photos, etc., so it's probably safe to assume that at least some of the major providers are/were providing contents and not just metadata.

kyrra · 10 days ago

Googler, opinions are my own. I wasn't at Google when PRISM was discovered.

As far as I understand, your take on this is incorrect. At least for Google, people that worked there were pissed, some posting nasty posts about the NSA hacking their network. My understanding was, that the NSA tapped the lines between data centers.

The NSA was able to hack Google, because there inter datacenter communication was not encrypted, partially because it was on private fiber that they fully owned. After this project came to light, Google already had a project in the works to encrypt all traffic between data centers, which they enabled shortly after.

lern_too_spel · 9 days ago

Your description of PRISM is wrong. The FBI issued court orders for the content (not metadata) of specific accounts to US Internet companies. The Internet companies reviewed the court orders and set up forwarding of some of those accounts' data. PRISM then ingested a subset of the data from the FBI DITU's systems (those collected from foreign accounts) into the NSA's databases. The slides Snowden released are very clear about this.

vmception · 10 days ago

And? Everyone with a cloud cron job or doing the same thing on a compute instance hosted somewhere has the same reality

Telegram is just a nice platform, have you tried using it? basically just a standard ui so that none of your bots need frontend development

Why regurgitate something about the optional e2e feature

pabs3 · 10 days ago

I hope the Software Freedom Conservancy lawsuit against Visio results in an open source distribution for TVs like there is OpenWRT for routers after their last lawsuit. Perhaps the OpenLGTV/SamyGO projects and other folks will join forces on a common distro for smart TVs.

tentacleuno · 10 days ago

> Perhaps the OpenLGTV/SamyGO projects and other folks will join forces on a common distro for smart TVs.

What's wrong with webOS? I assume LG have "Googled"[0] it to some extent with proprietary software, but there's documentation, a lot of open-source stuff, and overall it doesn't look too bad.


A4ET8a8uTh0 · 10 days ago

Not parent, but I think I can respond. There is really nothing wrong with WebOS ( I actually find very good for my needs ), but the focus is not on having one decent OS we can mess around with as needed. The focus is on ensuring that users have actual control over their smart TVs.

And this is where it gets fun. There is money to be made from harvesting data. Do you think companies will willingly give up the ability to keep 'users' in their grasp?

radicalbyte · 10 days ago

I for one would like to connect my webcam to my TV and be able to use it to chat with Zoom / Signal / WebEx / Jitsi / Teams / Hangouts / ...

cassianoleal · 10 days ago

> users have actual control over their smart TVs

I would add to that future updates, etc as well. LG stops bringing in major WebOS versions for older models, so you miss out on features and apps that would have no problems running on the hardware.

bogwog · 10 days ago

LG TVs are filled with ads on the operating system itself, there are built-in features which you can't use without agreeing to an invasive privacy policy, the general performance is dogshit after a few years of updates, and there are dark patterns.

For example, I have one Fire TV (and nothing else) connected to the HDMI port of mine. Whenever I turn on the TV, it correctly shows the HDMI input, but it always displays the WebOS app launcher for a couple of seconds, which covers a quarter of the screen. I know the difference between launching the Netflix app in WebOS and launching it through Fire TV, but I'm pretty sure the average non-techie doesn't.

WebOS itself is pretty good, especially considering it's open source. But I would neither trust LG to provide a safe or decent implementation, nor would I want to rely on the performance of whatever low budget SoC they're sticking into these TVs. An external Roku-like device would be the best option.

ziml77 · 10 days ago

WebOS has actually been more reliable than my Nvidia Shield. The Shield weirdly gets slow over time until I reboot even if I haven't really done anything on it. The Hulu app on these has also been broken for years: the first couple minutes after it starts playing a show will just show black while the audio plays. I don't know if that's a Hulu, Google, or NVIDIA issue, but what I do know is that I don't have any issues if I use the WebOS app.

tentacleuno · 10 days ago

> An external Roku-like device would be the best option.

Does something like this exist? A webOS box, so to speak? I would be very interested if so. It would be nice to hear of webOS outside of the context of TV's.

> WebOS itself is pretty good, especially considering it's open source. But I would neither trust LG to provide a safe or decent implementation

Me neither. It would be nice to have something I can trust is fully open-source. Would also be nice to use webOS like Kodi, though that is a truly crazy idea.

eropple · 10 days ago

LG TVs, at least as of my C7, have a menu setting to both hide the ads and to not show the home bar on startup.

brokenmachine · 3 days ago

I think it is consumer-hostile that LG TVs don't allow you to downgrade firmware.

So they release an update that breaks basic advertised TV functionality (like ARC, HDR, etc), and then all the consumer can do is pray for 6 months that they're actually working on fixing the problem that they caused.

That's bullshit.

ptsneves · 10 days ago

No updates, specially to the browser. That means an old version of chrome that most sites refuse to run with. It is just useless.

mindslight · 9 days ago

> What's wrong with webOS? I assume LG have "Googled"[0] it to some extent with proprietary software

You just answered your own question. Besides the Freedom issues and unwieldy bespoke UIs, embedded proprietary software inevitably becomes abandonware in a few short years.

pabs3 · 6 days ago

Others have answered, but I'm only interested in community based software distributions, or ones backed by an ecosystem of companies, not ones ran by a single corporation.

Retr0id · 10 days ago

See also: - A GUI app for easily installing homebrew applications on LG WebOS TVs - A repo of such homebrew applications - A one-click* LG TV rooting tool

*firmware-version dependent, an updated exploit supporting "all" firmwares is in the pipeline.

ig0r0 · 10 days ago

Many thanks for this. Rooting my LG TV with took a few seconds and now I am enjoying YouTube without ads which Pihole was never able block properly.

kristofferR · 9 days ago

An alternative universal solution is to just VPN to India and then buy Premium for $1.66 USD per month (399 rs per quarter).

ig0r0 · 7 days ago

I use youtube without an account a db login so not really a solution.

Nursie · 10 days ago

That's interesting.

To your knowlege does the rooting/installation of this stuff break existing streaming apps, or are they not affected?

Retr0id · 10 days ago

They are not affected.

drewg123 · 10 days ago

Do the homebrew apps obey the normal screen saver / burn-in protections? Eg, Netflix on the TV, when paused, will put up a fireworks screen saver very quickly. Will the homebrew youtube app do the same thing?

Retr0id · 9 days ago

Yes, the screensaver is part of the OS, not the app.

anktor · 10 days ago

Does anyone know of anything equivalent for samsung? I have a QE65Q75T model which I feel gets more ads as the weeks go by, and I didn't know this type of things were possible

Jleagle · 10 days ago


anktor · 10 days ago

That's something I'm looking, but I would also be able to personalize the UI of the TV, since it has a lot of clutter and things I am never going to use. Add to that the fact that some apps cannot be uninstalled and a tiny disk size, I would really like to "own" my tv more.

stevesimmons · 10 days ago

I so want this for my Samsung TV... since they did a firmware update that puts ads into the source selection screen.

And for what? A couple of dollars of side revenue. And whole lot of customer hatred.

imglorp · 10 days ago

Here's more reasons to hate: it's a serious surveillance device.

1. It uploads voice samples. Don't say anything sensitive in the room.

2.It uploads screenshots regardless of input. See other threads.

3.Front facing camera. Not kidding.

4. Audio beacons? Old news.

5. Targeted ad market, selling you.

6. If you don't give it wifi, it may decide to find some by itself anyway.

kall · 10 days ago

This is all horrific, but I was especially shocked by 6 so I read that. This seems to be only someone asking if this may happen, and no one answering that it would.

Of course this is the point of Amazon Sidewalk, so in due time, it probably will.

imglorp · 10 days ago

Okay, I found a better link. Here's a sighting in action:

Also two other observations. First, there is means: unsecured and public groups like xfinity, sidewalk, fios via some business deal maybe. Also in the means column is a full linux machine, totally possible (not saying it's happening but possible) to run Kismet all day in the background to look for auth. There's all kinds of pocket doodads at Defcon doing this. Second is motive: your data as revenue is the these things are getting so cheap. Why would they leave free cash on the table?

snvzz · 10 days ago

I would expect a friendly nearby neighbor's TV which has network to be able to act as access point for other TVs surveillance facilities.

They can technically do it, and I totally expect them to be doing it already.

grishka · 10 days ago

Audio beacons aren't plausible to me as a mobile app developer. Mobile OSes have been tightening their privacy controls for quite some time. At this point you can't run an Android app in the background without the user knowing. You have to explicitly request access to the microphone. In recent Android and iOS versions, the user will be notified about which apps used the microphone when. Besides, constantly recording and analyzing an audio stream would have a noticeable effect on battery life.

imglorp · 9 days ago

How about apps that already have permission, like Shazam, Siri, and GA?

As for battery, they would only need to sample a second every few minutes, to see if there was a beacon afoot, quick DFFT, and they wouldn't need to analyze much.

Not saying it's happening, just that it's easily possible. Look how many apps have location permissions that don't need it.

genewitch · 9 days ago

SoniControl firewall on android will either confirm or disabuse your conception of how common this sort of thing is.

with no media playing it never shows anything, but bring up some youtube or television and it squawks every so often.

phire · 9 days ago

Most of the examples you link don't prove what you claim.

1. Same issues as any voice assistant. It only uploads things when voice recognition is actually active, and puts a big icon on the screen to show this.

2. Not screenshots, it uses fingerprints to recognise content.

3. That TV is an older special model advertised with built-in camera for skype. The linked video raises a minor security issue that web pages you navigate to (on your smart TV, how many people actually do that?) can enable the webcam without you knowing.

Most TVs don't have a hidden front facing camera.

4. Audio beacons are hard-coded into the tv content, your smart TV doesn't add them. It's more of a privacy issue with smart phone apps using them, and the studios who add them.

5. Actually true

6. You link to a thread of someone asking if TVs might do this. Nobody has provided any evidence of TVs actually doing it, it's 100% theoretical.

IMO, the fingerprinting and advertising are bad enough. No need to invent extra FUD about what smart tvs can do.

oehpr · 9 days ago

What's going on with number 3?

Obviously there's a front facing camera, they're not hiding it. It's even a GOOD webcam, to disable it you push it into the bezel and that physically blocks the camera. Great design.

Beyond that, the criticisms are just "This is a proprietary OS by a company that makes hardware, it's not trustworthy." So why the focus on the camera? It's almost like you're trying to imply that Samsung is integrating hidden cameras just to covertly surveil their customers.

Sander_Marechal · 10 days ago

That crap forced me to finally pi-hole my entire home. I'm never buying a Samsung TV ever again, or other Samsung stuff.

My dryer broke yesterday. I specifically bought an AEG because it was a dumb dryer, not some smart appliance with an app and all that junk. Don't get me wrong, I love smart stuff. In fact, I plugged my new dryer into a Shelly S plug so my home assistant can send me a notification on my phone when it's finished. But I trust my HA. I can never trust Samsung again.

Pi-hole your network for a week and take a look at the logs to see all the crap it has blocked. You'll be surprised.

lordnacho · 10 days ago

I added PiHole on a RBP and it turns out up to half the rejected requests come from my various Samsung TVs. It's staggering how much traffic comes out of them. And that's in a home with two work from home adults in laptops all day.

What are other people's experiences with other brands of TV?

fossuser · 10 days ago

When I researched them a while back I came away with LG OLEDs being the best, particularly if you paired them with an Apple TV.

There are no good high-end “dumb” tv options.

genewitch · 9 days ago

TCL ran through my mobile hotspot data allowance (150MB) while off; i enabled the hotspot so it could get and update (the UI was jank out of the box). I use my hotspot with my console, i was using my projector in another room with the console and i got the alert about hotspot data.

I changed the hotspot password and now the TCL blinks its status light while it's turned on, to chastise me for disabling its internet.

There needs to be some regulation on this - because a boycott will never work, people don't think about boycotts or this sort of thing when they "need a TV today"; they either are shopping for a specific feature or going on price per square inch of screen or cheapest overall. These TVs blowing through 100MB/hr of internet data even while 'off' has to potential to lock people out of their internet connections, or get a large bill for overages. I only have 15GB of hotspot data, and i "need" that for the console, my fixed wireless home internet only has 150GB of data included in the plan, and even if i 'cheat' and use pdanet or something to use my cellphone without the hotspot data in the plan i only have 75GB of data there, as well.

So, in summary, smart TVs need to be regulated. And I really need to sniff that traffic while it's off because what could it possibly be doing? how much storage is on these things?

crtasm · 10 days ago

Note that some devices just keep retrying after a failed (blocked) connection, leading to massively inflated numbers in pihole.

bo1024 · 10 days ago

Projectors - great.

Scepter brand tv - Walmart -not greatest quality, but at least it’s dumb.

genewitch · 9 days ago

I've had Samsung on "boycott and complain" list, anytime someone asks me for a recommendation and samsung is an option i say "avoid samsung"; I started boycotting them after they told me to pound sand when i had an issue with my $800 4k monitor a couple months after i bought it. I had also bought a new samsung refrigerator around that time as well, and among other issues, it leaked water from the ice machine starting about 1 year after i bought it. I've had to replace the mainboard in it, as well.

So no phones, appliances, laptops, TVs, memory sticks, SD cards, and whatever else they make. Even if they magically got a better reputation for customer service, the shenanigans with the smart TVs is enough to keep the boycott up.

cameronh90 · 10 days ago

"I'm never buying a Samsung TV ever again, or other Samsung stuff."

I swore off buying Samsung stuff after the Galaxy S3. I eventually gave them another chance and bought one of their TVs since the reviews were great. Huge mistake. I hated that thing so much, and recently replaced it with an LG which has been fantastic.

freen · 10 days ago

Same. Spent an ungodly amount on the Samsung “frame”. After two RMAs because it randomly rebooted, the interface froze, etc. I’m looking for another tv that we can pretend is art when it is “off”.

IanSanders · 10 days ago

Pi-hole does not solve the problem completely unfortunately; it's fairly trivial to bypass network DNS. In theory any software could manually call one of the public DNS ip's or just have a fallback hardcoded list of IPs.

zbrozek · 10 days ago

Nothing solves the problem completely. Redirecting DNS at the router to a blocking DNS server goes a long way, but DNS over HTTPS is a tougher nut to crack.

koprulusector · 9 days ago

I block all dns outbound on my home network. My resolver uses DNS over https to Cloudflare. I consider any DNS / udp 53 traffic outbound unauthorized or a leak that should be prevented. If I see a beacon to a particular DNS server externally, I’ll create a NAT to point to my resolver so I can manipulate the answers, if I deem it necessary.

melbourne_mat · 10 days ago

You have a clothes dryer?

marceldegraaf · 10 days ago

Pro-tip: use a DNS provider that can block ads (e.g. NextDNS) or install Pi-Hole in your local network, and block Samsung's ad network domains.

It's sad that this is necessary to keep enjoying a device of $2,000+ that you own, but it has worked beautifully for my Samsung Frame TV.

josteink · 10 days ago

Samsung does this for their top end models? WTF!

I’ll put them on my list of devices to never buy then. Jeez.

ornornor · 10 days ago

They do a lot more than that. In particular, they take a screenshot of what you’re currently watching at regular intervals and send it to a content recognition server. That way they’re able to tell what every single Samsung owner is watching at any given time and even if you’re watching a show you downloaded or something that’s not on the air. They then sell this data to broadcasters for measuring audience but also to show you ads related to what you’re watching (if you watched ice age, maybe they’ll advertise another animation movie to you). And they also use that data to target you on other devices you own because they’re able to use your tv as a Trojan horse and figure out what other devices are on your network and thus belong to the same person. IIRC they also scan and extract what devices are connected to hdmi ports so they know what consoles etc you’re using to further complete your advertising profile. That was several years ago, I can’t imagine they’ve gotten anything but even more data greedy over time.

A good Samsung tv is an offline Samsung tv. A better Samsung tv is one you don’t own.

patrickk · 10 days ago

Samsung boasts about having Automatic Content Recognition[1] on their website.

There was a discussion on HN some time ago, many/all major tv manufacturers suck in your viewing data via HDMI fingerprinting (IIRC) in order to serve up unblockable ads and sell your viewing profile to ad networks. Many tv makers send data to Chinese based servers too, from memory. It’s nuts.


Edit, more reading:

sneak · 10 days ago

Just don't connect your tv to any network, wired or wireless, ever. It's much simpler.

slig · 10 days ago

It works until every device has a 5G chip on them.

3guk · 10 days ago

Disable Samsung TV Plus - - and you'll be most of the way there to removing a lot of the intrusive advertising that currently shows on the Samsung homescreen.

superjan · 10 days ago

I concur. This removed the auto play trailers on my parent’s TV.

LeonM · 10 days ago

> And for what? A couple of dollars of side revenue. And whole lot of customer hatred.

Don't forget that the HN crowd is not your average consumer. Most people don't care, or don't seem to have issues with the ads. They just want the best TV they can afford in terms of size and picture quality.

With companies this big, who have been in the consumer electronics market for decades, you can be sure that every decision (like putting ads in a menu) is tested over and over. Obviously Samsung knows that they will loose a tiny percentage of the enthusiast market by placing ads. But the margin on the sale of a TV is pretty slim anyways, and multiple years of ad income for every sold unit is probably worth losing a small fraction of your audience.

A4ET8a8uTh0 · 10 days ago

So funny story. I have two wifis in our house ( one piholed, one not ). One day my wife comes up to me asks me why there are ads on her game now ( she was using pihole all this time ). Edit: Turns out cable was pulled.

People notice, but you have to re-condition them. I know adless hulu and netflix did their part in that fight.

MereInterest · 10 days ago

> Most people don't care, or don't seem to have issues with the ads.

There's a difference between enjoying the current state and accepting the current state. A few years ago, while helping my grandmother find something online, I asked if she would want an adblocker installed. After explaining what it was, and what the effect was, she was over the moon for it.

Ads are noticed by everyone, and are pretty universally despised. The difference is that you and I know that there are options, while less techy relatives assume that nothing can be changed.

deergomoo · 10 days ago

I generally agree, but they put that crap on TVs that cost well into the thousands. Surely it’s only enthusiasts buying those?

matheusmoreira · 10 days ago

> ads into the source selection screen

Is there ever a point where these advertisers stop and think "no, this is too obnoxious"?

reaperducer · 10 days ago

The advertisers probably don't pick the placement. All they know is that their content is being shown on TVs.

matheusmoreira · 10 days ago

I assumed the TV manufacturers are also considered advertisers since the TVs show ads.

LargoLasskhyfv · 9 days ago

The link also hosts the last (obsolete now?) SamyGo. So there is something at least, from where one could start, instead of reinventing the wheel from scratch.

Don't know if it could be applied to current models at all. Not following that stuff, since not using TVs since 1996.

antihero · 10 days ago

I just wish I could get the auto-turn off timer to disable. I've disabled it everywhere in menus. Still, after a few hours of it being connected to my Apple TV 4K, it gives me the whole "TV will be turned off in five minutes unless you press a button on the controller" bullshit.

Other than that I just want the thing to be a lowest-possible-latency, accuratest-possible-colour dumb display. No cool shit, just a dumb accurate fast panel.

doikor · 10 days ago

If you can get your hands on a service remote it will allow you to access a menu to disable that and a bunch more (a lot of the OLED burnin prevention features you can’t normally fully disable)

0x53 · 10 days ago

If you have a phone with a IR blaster (mostly older LG phones) you have download an android app that with act as an LG service remote

heeen2 · 9 days ago

You can do it with a rpi, ir diode and resistor even. The tool for sending and receiving ir commands is called lirc

genewitch · 9 days ago

Huawei and Xiaomi phones have IR blasters as well. I always try to buy phones that have those, because A) "i lost the remote" and B) "shut off every TV at the store" is hilarious.

The first device i had that had this was a Palm, and it wasn't like "here's a remote control" it was "this 1 button will cycle every known TV IR code for the power button." Someone eventually released an actual IR blaster app for Palms, though.

BenjiWiebe · 9 days ago

Some old Samsungs have it as well, such as the Galaxy S5.

maweki · 10 days ago

Maybe you could periodically give some remote control command through one of the WebOSTV python libraries. Needs networking though. Alternatively, an Arduino/ESP that sends a useless IR signal.

mojomark · 10 days ago

This problem reminded me of an equally frustrating struggle I read about on Kiva [1], in which a woman named Svetlana in Maldova (a medical worker out of work due to severe back pain) and her husband (a driver) can't seem to scrape together enough capital to connect their house to a source of running water and eliminate the need to routinely lug water in from a nearby well.

Happy Thanksgiving!


kwertyoowiyop · 9 days ago

HN is intended for discussion of computers and related subjects, isn’t it? What’s wrong with that?

yjftsjthsd-h · 10 days ago

> This problem reminded me of an equally frustrating struggle

Could you perhaps explain the similarity?

MobiusHorizons · 9 days ago

I read it as a sarcastic and round about way of calling this a first world problem.

kayson · 10 days ago

I hope this eventually leads to the ability to remove ads. It's unbelievable to me that you can pay top dollar for a high end OLED tv and it will still drown you in ads and notifications. I ended up just disconnecting my tv from the internet entirely and using a dedicated Roku Ultra for streaming.

ornornor · 10 days ago

Panasonic OLEDs are the same price as LG but they show no ads whatsoever, don’t have gimmicky menus, and turn on in 5 seconds flat.

vbphprubyjsgo · 9 days ago

I have a 15" LCD from 1998 and it turns on in a few hundred ms. 2010s+ LCDs take about 5-10 seconds which is insanely slow (even for a casual user, in which case it causes more confusion when plugging cables in because he's likely to assume the cables are wrong and disconnect them because the screen didn't react right away). TVs take as long or worse because they are simply more poorly designed. 5 seconds is literally longer than it takes for a CRT to turn on and have a viewable picture.

The general quality of hardware can be gleaned as the inverse of how much software is in it.

As for vendor fetishizing: All monitor/TV vendors are terrible.

_puk · 10 days ago

Haha, I find the recommendation for Panasonic for an ad free experience quite ironic.

They were the first to go there circa 2013: boot screen, home screen and volume ads.

But, they got a lot of backlash, and I doubt it was as lucrative as expected, so it appears they removed them in more recent years.

ornornor · 10 days ago

Maybe the OLED displays are in a different class in their lineup. I only ever owned this one Panasonic OLED from 2018.

elabajaba · 10 days ago

Panasonic got out of the NA TV market a few years ago, and no warranty+exorbitant shipping costs means it isn't worth buying one in Europe and having it shipped.

They're also ending their inhouse TV production and outsourcing it for 2022, which probably means they're going to get worse.

dkdbejwi383 · 10 days ago

They moved to Android since 2020.

adanto6840 · 10 days ago

Shouldn’t have to do this at all, obviously, but at least if it’s android then you’re just a few commands away from removing most anything.

Used it to rid my Sony of all the annoyances and the continual “enable samba?” Prompts that kept coming up despite always choosing “disable” explicitly.

Google for “adb remove ads <model/brand>” or similar. 20 minutes helped my wife not be annoyed at popovers on the TV, and saved me countless time looking for the OEM remote. :D

KptMarchewa · 10 days ago

Wait, where do you get all those ads? I might be blind but I don't see any in my CX. Unless you count the "recommendation service".

Cthulhu_ · 10 days ago

> Unless you count the "recommendation service"

Which will never turn on if you don't agree to the terms & conditions. So far, I've been able to avoid things like ads, but every time the TV pops up with an update I get the Fear.

I do not want ads or voice commands on my devices. Especially not given I paid a premium :/.

yessirwhatever · 10 days ago

pihole + check connections made from tv + block em == no ads

vbphprubyjsgo · 9 days ago

> The main goal of the project is to improve the functionalities of the TVs by adding new features, fixing bugs and providing new software.

The solution to software in TVs is to have no software in TVs. A TV is just a big monitor you plug into your PC (albeit, with 10 years of input lag, caused by the said software that should not exist). General purpose OS like Windows or Linux are a good enough interface to choose what video / stream to watch. You can use some software that runs on startup to provide support for a remote control or whatever comfy thing you think requires buying Samsung Garbage Half Working GUI T5007. This fact was stumbled upon by most 20 years ago (largely due to the warez scene, who unintentionally provided a better user experience than anything corpos could create). The idea of needing a special proprietary GUI is purely artificial. Smart TVs were trying to become a thing for 20 years (and had all the same insane security problems from the get go as with any industry who's software is driven by high churn newgrads). Various marketing pitches failed and failed until around 2010-2012 (can't remember). If you are a geek and are trying to jerry rig a modified proprietary Smart TV firmware into your TV, you have fallen for the marketing trick. There's no way you would have come up with an idea like this if they haven't previously marketed Smart TVs as a thing. A much better and easier effort would be to bypass all the garbage circuitry in modern TVs and monitors to ensure they are an actual useful product that can consume and deliver a video input.

aqfamnzc · 9 days ago

> The solution to software in TVs is to have no software in TVs. A TV is just a big monitor you plug into your PC

I disagree - I don't think there's anything wrong with having a computer built-in to a TV, as long as the user has control over it (Granted, they obviously don't right now). For the average user, it's going to be far more convenient to be able to stream or play offline media without having to connect an external device. I'm hopeful we'll reach a point where we can install an openwrt equivalent for easy, dark pattern free operation.

vbphprubyjsgo · 8 days ago

>I disagree - I don't think there's anything wrong with having a computer built-in to a TV

The problem is bloat and bugs. And I like my peripherals to be peripherals. I don't think we need to go into discussion of the common user here. They were fine with set-top boxes.

Epa095 · 9 days ago

I wholeheartedly agree!

And still I use the webos apps on my LG to watch netflix, Disney, hbo and our national TV channel. It's weird how it goes. There is no getting away from the fact that as long as the app works on my TV its easier to install it and use the stock remote that doing something custom. And since it works OK for 99% of people, the TV producers will ad the little computer, and there will be nothing to save on buying a TV without (if you can even find one).

marcodiego · 10 days ago

This should not only be legal, this should be the law. A manufacturer/vendor should be obliged by law to hand out keys to allow the user to own the device that was bought.

matheusmoreira · 10 days ago

Yes!! I wonder if EFF, FSF actively lobby governments for such laws.

sneak · 10 days ago

Consumers are already free to choose to buy from manufacturers that do this. Consumers largely dgaf.

Additionally, companies like Apple know and believe that if consumers could exercise such control, a large number of them would be deceived into using such control to backdoor their own devices for advertisers and other shady characters, such as is the case in Android-land. Consumers often choose products specifically because they offer the feature that they are completely and totally managed by the vendor.

You may not like it, but many people who don't care much about their privacy from the vendor do.

marcodiego · 10 days ago

> Consumers are already free to choose to buy from manufacturers that do this. Consumers largely dgaf.

Can you point me one manufacturer whose is smart tv is simple for the user to replace the software it runs?

hjtkfkfmr · 10 days ago

The fact that they don't exist should tell you something - paying consumers don't care about this.

You sitting on the sideline are not a paying consumer, and there are two few like you for such a product.

Remember that all TV started dumb, and SMART TV's were always premium products.

ocdtrekkie · 10 days ago

Glad to see some work on this. The most expensive Smart TV in my house is the worst one because LG refuses to support their TVs more than a couple years: All the new streaming apps are only available on newer TVs, even if they're far cheaper and less powerful.

My experience with LG's TV software support may have driven me to Roku forever. Age old Rokus still tend to have fantastic app support and run modern versions of their OS.

square_usual · 10 days ago

> Age old Rokus still tend to have fantastic app support and run modern versions of their OS.

Yes, because Roku's business model is getting into your living room to spy on you. Of course they'd like to do that for as long as possible!

franga2000 · 10 days ago

It's the same with the TV vendors these days, only they want you to buy a new device every few years too.

kevin_thibedeau · 10 days ago

There's a menu setting to disable telemetry.

polished85 · 10 days ago

I mostly agree, but recently I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Apple TV app became available on my 2017 50" LG. I was able to remove my Gen 3 Apple TV box. The only app I use that is still not available is HBO Max. For that I bring my daughter's PS4 into the room, but who knows maybe that will also become available.

ChrisMarshallNY · 10 days ago

> The only app I use that is still not available is HBO Max.

That’s a biggie. Isn’t it available on the AppleTV app?

For myself, I only use my AppleTV (device), for streaming. I have an LG, but am not a fan of the weird WebOS UI, so I just leave it connected to the AppleTV.

polished85 · 7 days ago

No, Unfortunately HBO MAX is not available on Gen3 Apple TV.

taneq · 10 days ago

Our (now-7-year-old) LG TV was pretty good for the first 3-4 years. Now it's just a big monitor for a Raspberry Pi and very occasionally an old Bluray player.

KptMarchewa · 10 days ago

I think consoles are the best option if you want at least sometimes play some games. They sell so much of them that the application developers support them for a long, long time - the 2013 PS4 is still being sold and will still be supported for at least few years.

squarefoot · 9 days ago

The 1st goal of such software should be to neutralize and possibly remove all built-in malware/spyware, then disable any means that would allow the manufacturers to reinstall it or control the device in any way. A so called SmartTV must be able to 100% function without any Internet connection, and if having one it should benefit from it only in ways that are completely under the user control. Right now, there's a lot more junk that has to be removed rather than new functions to be added.

rootsudo · 10 days ago

The same time, it's a bit sad that people are doing this and putting this much effort into a toxic product.

I don't mind the fire stick/tv, and DNS rules but if it gets too much I just won't buy a tv and get rid of it.

I get that it's a nice piece of furniture and such, but if it's hostile, expensive and after a few years becomes worthless - why bother.

I'll fight by not purchasing a tv.

rxt_ian · 10 days ago

It's possible that buying the TV and removing the toxisity is more effective - you get the subsidised price, but the manufacturer never makes the ad money back.

martyvis · 10 days ago

Really like my 2020 LG TV. (First TV I have ever bought - I'm 58 and every other TV was either a gift, the 14" Sanyo from my parents-in-law in 1989, or hand-me-down)

The one thing I'd like fixed is when I watch an in-progress scheduled recording, say 15 minutes behind real-time, the TV jumps in to live TV mode rather than continue to play the recording. I have to manually go and select the recording and then jog forward to the point I was watching. Seems a strange default, certainly different to Kodi. I've been meaning to write a bug report but it would be interesting if this project has a fix.