Hey Samsung, don’t you use your own stuff or are you just lazy?

I recently upgraded from a 2012 Samsung Smart-TV to a 2015 model. Both are amazing machines with great picture quality and a lot of apps and awesomeness inside. The upgrade however feels more like a downgrade at times. I am pretty much consistently able to break the device in various ways through the most silly methods.

A little background on how I use it; I don’t have an aerial connected, so the “TV” part is unused. Connected is a PS4, a Raspberry Pi, and a desktop computer all over HDMI. The RPi is my main method of consuming media, and the YouTube app is frequently used as well. I also use HDMI-CEC (AnyNet) to control everything with the TV-remote. All of this worked great on the 2012 model, but the 2015 one isn’t playing along as well.

If I have got the Pi selected, open YouTube smart app, and then go back to the Pi, the AnyNet connection fails. It does this by not forwarding any input to the Pi, and 10-15 seconds later show a huge popup about this. This happens even if I’m already refreshing the AnyNet device list, in which case the dialog can not be dismissed. The same thing tends to happen if you use the built-in media player to play from Plex or similar, and then switch back to the Pi. At times, this error message sticks, while the refresh dialog goes away, requiring a reboot if I want to enjoy content without an error message covering 1/3 of the screen.

Even more confounding is the process of switching to the PS4. After booting the PS4 with the Pi selected, the PS4 source sometimes remains grayed out. Attempting to select it renders a message about “low or no signal”, similar to selecting the composite input. Rebooting the TV (amazing that I even have to use those two words in the same sentence) doesn’t help, and the only way to activate the PS4 source at this point is via AnyNet. Opening the AnyNet device list and selecting PS4 then switches to the source, but with no audio. Rebooting the TV again will present the PS4 with audio.

Now, if I don’t power up the PS4 prior, but rather use AnyNet to power it up, since the PS4 v3.0 firmware the PS4 will instead of showing the user selection screen show the “entering rest mode” message, and a minute or so later it suspends. This probably isn’t Samsung’s fault though (Hey Sony! Don’t you use your own stuff or are you just lazy?) as the same thing happened on the 2012 model, which was a bit more functional than the 2015 model.

What about booting the PS4 with the TV in standby? Well, that almost works, besides the fact that the correct source isn’t selected, so you get the previous source and have to select the PS4 yourself. For being a “smart” TV, using it sure requires a lot of manual labour.

There is also the matter of consistency. I have noticed no less than 3 different ways to display notifications; a toast along the top edge of the screen, a toast in the bottom left corner of the screen, and a dialog smack dab in the middle of the screen with a huge OK button to dismiss it. If you were to just show a message in the bottom left corner telling me that the AnyNet device is not connected, this would at least make it possible to refresh the list after you realize the remote has no effect on the Pi media-center, but instead you display a notification that can’t be dismissed without also dismissing the AnyNet device list and the entire refresh process. Pressing anything at this time will make sure that the same message will pop up again 10 seconds later.

Some additional “honorable mentions” include the volume buttons randomly stop working, the time being displayed on startup is the time of the last shutdown, and how I’m being prompted to scan for channels immediately after selecting not to scan for channels in the exact same dialog.

The update that arrived up on the 9th of November took it from v1411 to v1412 but didn’t fix any of these issues.

So I am waiting with anticipation for a proper firmware upgrade right now, to make my TV usable without having to resort to voodoo to get things done. Samsung, I would be happy to test the upgrade for you to make sure that the claimed functionality is actually functional. I think this would come handy, as it seems you don’t do any testing yourself.