My Opinion

nothing but my opinion

Samsung Flat Screen TV Reboot Loop

Samsung had once a good quality, but as everything needs to come cheaper and by maximizing their earnings even Samsung has lost a lot of their reputation until now. In the truest sense, the cheapest components, for saving fractions of cents in production, are getting used. During development, predetermined breaking points are already planned so that the device will be defective soon after the end of the guarantee. Such a behavior is getting called planned obsolescence. The Italian and french consumer protection association are already preparing class actions against Samsung for the reason of planned obsolescence.

I think that everybody remembers the scandal about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which exploded. Samsung did not learn from their failures until now. A few days ago a Samsung Galaxy S7 exploded inside a shop in Germany.

In my case the problem gets shown on two TV sets, which are showing exactly the same failure. One is a 46" flat screen bought around 3 years ago and the other one is a little bit younger and smaller.

The problem is simple described. After watching some time TV the TV-set makes a reboot and as soon the boot has finished it goes immediately again into a reboot. In my case is the reboot not caused by a power failure or an overheat problem. It is simple a problem in the firmware, which seems to get used in their base version on all Samsung flat screen TV sets. If you search at Google for Samsung TV reboot loop then you'll get around 1,290,000 results. That shows already that the problem is a very common one. By taking a look at the Samsung page for an update for the firmware of your model, you'll get disappointed, because most of the times you'll only find the version 1 of the firmware software. Samsung is simple too lazy or too greedy to bring up some new firmware versions for the older models. It looks that Samsung is thinking, that their programmers are error free like Gods and for this reason they don't need to fix any failures in their firmware programming.

Exactly for this reason Italy and France are already investigating against Samsung for the reason of "Planned obsolescence". Samsung seems to be so stupid to think that customers, who made already a bad experience with one of their products will buy a new device from them.

So I have written on their website about my problem with the TV-set:

I have with the specified TV the problem, that I'm running into a reboot loop when I'm connecting a HDMI device. I have tested it with different HDMI devices (DVD player and cable modem). Some times the reboot loop starts after hours and some times a few minutes after turning the TV on. At the moment the TV is running without problems using the AV Input.

So I don't think about a problem of the power supply. I'm thinking more about a timing problem of the processor. The mainboard from the TV got changed around 2 years ago for the reason that the remote control did not work.

Maybe you have some technical idea about the failure and how to fix it without trashing the TV and by a new one.

Samsung replied me with the following standard information:

  • Make sure to use a High-Speed HDMI cable using a new HDMI cable (ver.2.0 or up). Secure that the HDMI cable is tightly connected to the HDMI port of the TV and the proper source was also selected, for example, HDMI1, HDMI (ARC).
  • Disconnect and reconnect all cables between the TV and the home theater
  • Make sure all cables are properly inserted
  • Ensure that your cables are not faulty. To verify, try using a different cable
  • Make sure the correct input is selected on the TV
  • Restore the unit to factory default settings:
    1. To factory reset your TV, press the MENU button on the remote
    2. Select Support
    3. Select Self Diagnosis
    4. Select Reset
    5. Enter the PIN (The default PIN is 0000)
    6. Select OK

As I had already all the points except the last one checked before I have sent them the failure description, I have made the factory reset from the TV and which wonder it has been working for the next nine hours. After 9 hours the TV has been running into the same problems like before.

At this time I have unplugged the HDMI cable without unplugging the power cable and the reboot loop stopped immediately. I made again a factory reset on the TV and plugged in the HDMI cable again. The TV has been working fine again.

Exactly this behavior is showing that there is no hardware failure available. It looks like there is a usage counter built in, which is defined to small and produces an overflow. In such a case the failure is a built in feature that you need to trash your device after a given time. Samsung will only make money by selling some unnecessary services and hardware (mainboard), which gets refurbished for the next customer with the same TV set. Why else does not get initialized the storage area, which gets only initialized during a factory reset, during each start of the TV? I had also tried to simple unplug the power cord during a reboot loop and let it unplugged for more than one day. The reboot loop has continued immediately after plugging the power cord on again. So during booting the TV the memory does not get initialized.

I had given them a new chance to bring up some information about the problem by giving them a feedback about the results I had found out:

I'm trying only to reproduce the failure. Especially such a failure seems not to be a simple hardware defect. Maybe Samsung will find the problem in the firmware. For this purpose you should also inform the technical department as it looks that the same failure exists in other models too. You only need to make a search in Google about "Samsung reboot loop" and you'll get enough results. I'm not asking for some money, I would be happy already if the problem gets found and fixed.

According your last email I have made a factory reset at the TV. Plugged in the HDMI cable and the TV has been running fine for 9 hours without any problem. After these 9 hours the failure has been back. The TV rebooted 2 times like in the reboot loop, has been running fine for a few minutes for ending up in the endless reboot loop afterwards.

I unplugged in this situation only the HDMI cable without unplugging the power cord before and the reboot loop stopped. The TV switched itself into the TV mode, but I have no antenna connected as I have here cable TV.

I switched to the AV mode and the reboot loop has been coming back. In this situation I unplugged the AV cable (only the yellow one for the picture transmission has been connected) and have been running a factory reset.

Afterwards I reconnected the HDMI cable and the TV has been running fine again.

I think that your software is writing something back to memory and after a time the memory content has some wrong information and results into the reboot loop. During booting of the system this part of the memory does not get initialized and for this reason the reboot loop is coming up, even when you have unplugged the power cord for more than 1 day (like I have found out during my tests before I have contacted you the first time).

Maybe the problem is coming up with the aging of the used chips too, but for me it looks like a stack overflow (typical programming failure). Don't worry, nobody is perfect and something like that happens to other companies like Microsoft, Apple, etc. too.

If you simple initialize during each boot the part of the persistent memory where you are updating something during the normal use of the TV then the reboot loop will be avoided. A simple reboot can even happen during a power failure. But in any case you should search for the failure, which is the reason for the reboot, in your firmware. It seems that you have the same problem in many models.

On the other site Samsung will run into problems if they are not fixing such problems, because Italy and France are already preparing another law suite against Samsung for the reason of "planned obsolescence". If Samsung is faster in fixing their program errors than these countries are starting their law suites, than Samsung will have no problems and will not destroy their own reputation more than it is already destroyed.

That Samsung has some problems with programming gets shown here on the website too. By following your link in your email response and filling out the form here an error message is coming up - simple take a look at the attached file:

Error message: Page unauthenticated calls.

As the device is already out of warranty, they tried to send a technician to me on my costs for verifying the error. It is cheaper in such a case to trash the device and buy another one from another vendor, who is providing a better quality. The technician will not sit in front of the TV for hours for free of charge.

If you buy today some consumer electronics, then you should not buy the newest model. Search for an older model and verify the problems published online before you decide to buy the device.


Ink war: HP exercises vigilante justice via firmware update

Hewlett PackardJustice and consumer advocates should take care at last, what the industry is doing to their customers via update features. In some cases such as the recent one from HP, it was even illegal.

With changes of a few bytes from a printer firmware, the IT giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) has just destroyed millions values of its customers: an automatic update ensures that certain ink cartridges of other manufacturers of the printers are no longer acceptable. The customer has paid both, cartridges and printer are both his property. But that does not bother the group at all.

The way how HP treats the property of its customers and the following of the property rights is disregarded, arrogant and presumptuous. HP spreads the following message for even mocking their victims: For giving the best support to their customers, the safety of their products will get continuously improved. Since the end of 2015 we have introduced in the printer models OfficeJet OfficeJet Pro and Officejet Pro X new features that secure the communication between the ink cartridge and the printer and protect HP's intellectual property. These printers could be operated with refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges with an original HP security chip; other ink cartridges may or may not work. In some cases, these are "features" have been installed as part of a firmware update. The group leaves unanswered the question of which law gives HP the right to implement these features, i.e. the shutdown of third-party cartridges have been installed.

This means that Office Jet Pro devices no longer print with special replica cartridges from far East, as well as cartridges refilled and stocked with China chips. Refill and cartridges vendors that use HP chips, are, however, not barred. For example the cartridges from Pelikan will continue to work in the HP printers.

Cat and mouse game

The repartee between the printer manufacturers and providers of alternative cartridges began even before the first cartridges chips: back then it was patented plastic cones, partition walls or integrated light-emitting diodes. Since the cartridges are equipped with a chip - officially, it should save the ink level, reverse-engineering experts build the chips of each new generation of cartridges. It takes several months for the alternative inks provider can use the replica in their cheap cartridges. The printer manufacturers responded first with new types of cartridges and better encryption, which work only with new types of printers.

Since printers and especially multifunction devices are getting smarter, manufacturers such as HP, Canon and Samsung to analyze differences between the original and replica chips and adapt the software to their devices so that they can identify and lock out replicas. Initially it worked only with newly produced batches. With cloud and mobile printing multi function devices, however, are always connected to the Internet and can install updates automatically.

A firmware update that locks out foreign chips, HP has not released for the first time. By 2015 blocked updated Office Jets cartridges Ninestar. At that time the cartridge manufacturer replied with a modified chip, which the printer accepted again. Insider are suggesting now to not allow offered firmware updates and have also warned from updates for Epson, Lexmark and Samsung devices.

For printers and multi-function devices with wireless or Ethernet connection, the automatic firmware update can usually disable via the web front-end. To call it, just enter the printer's IP address in the URL line of a browser. Otherwise you will find the option in the adjustment or the printer administrator menu.

One reason for the continuous ink-war between printer manufacturers and suppliers of alternative inks is subsidizing discount printers and multi-function devices with overpriced ink cartridges. Some manufacturers such as Brother and Epson have with some printer series (Ink Benefit, EcoTank) abandoned this form of financing and selling expensive printers, which however included ink for thousands of pages and can be refilled as low with original ink that replacement inks worth barely.

War on the backs of customers

In plain language, that's nothing different, that HP will fight its war with their mostly Asian competitors on the back of their customers and violated their rights. Who wants to go against product falsifications or patent infringing copies, requires judicial orders to let them seize and destroy. HP but simply enters the printer of its customers via network, modifies the software and thus makes the cartridges, which they are believing that they are illegal, useless. This is a new form of vigilantism by firmware update. The competitor itself or commercial wholesalers, but the customer also not as usual have the damage. This is a novelty.

It is time that the judiciary takes care of such machinations. The intentional change of a computer system is punishable as computer sabotage pursuant to § 303b paragraph 1 point 3 of the Criminal Code in Germany. Other countries have a similar right situation. All such update functions fulfill this offense. Decriminalization they can therefore only stay if they are justified by a consent of the owner.

Making HP liable

This is no different than the syringe a doctor gives: The syringe is a bodily injury and only covered that we agree on the basis of thorough information. Nobody would sign immediately upon entering the practice, that the doctor now and for all eternity can do what he wants, without any responsibility and assumes the risk of any side effects. And no judge would let go by such as consent for a medical intervention. The IT industry, but feels to do it exactly according to the motto: Where no plaintiff, there no judge.

And it's time that worry the consumer centers to these shenanigans. You can warn companies that approve such conditions by their customers to stop and if necessary sue to refrain from such contractual clauses. Individual consumers can hardly. Because the damage may be low for individual consumers, in the sum of thousands affected in one small country alone, it goes into millions and the company should be held liable.