Samsung says it can turn off the TV remotely if it finds out that the TV has been stolen. The feature is called “TV Blocker,” and Samsung says the feature was recently activated in South Africa after a number of Samsung TVs were removed from company warehouses amid a wave of protests and unrest last month.
Samsung said the technology is “already pre-installed on all Samsung TV products” and “guarantes that only legitimate owners with valid proof of purchase can use the TV.” However, from Samsung’s description, it’s not clear whether the feature will be used to prevent mass thefts or just to help individual consumers.
For the TV blocker to work, Samsung needs to know the serial code of the stolen device. When the set connects to the internet, it checks the list and serial code on Samsung’s servers, and if it finds a match, it disables all TV features.
Blocking a stolen TV in South Africa would have been relatively easy. They are taken from Samsung’s own warehouse where the company will track its inventory. Regular customers who have their TVs stolen can report a serial code to the company to disable them remotely, but it’s unclear if Samsung offers or plans to offer such a service. (I will update this story when I contact the company and get a response.)
However, the company says that if a South African customer accidentally blocks one of their TVs, they can unblock it by sending a proof of purchase to [email protected]