Samsung said that it was “currently conducting a full and thorough investigation into the cause as our top priority”.
Several Samsung smart TV owners took to Reddit to complain that a silent video advert for Pepsi kept appearing in Plex, an app for streaming video from a computer among other sources.
“I watch most of my TV shows on a Samsung Smart TV and it has been fantastic for the past year. Recently it has been stopping half way through a show or a movie and has played a pepsi ad that is muted,” said user beans90 on Reddit explaining that the adverts do not interrupt viewing on any other platforms, including PC, PlayStation 4 and tablet computers running Plex.
A Plex spokesperson told GigaOm that the company was not behind the pop up ads.
Separately, users of Australia’s Foxtel streaming TV service reported a similar issue after having updated the Samsung SmartHub, which allows users to download apps.
“After about 15 minutes of watching live TV, the screen goes blank, and then a 16:9 sized Pepsi advert (taking up about half the screen) pops up and stops Foxtel playing,” said a users known as darlinghurst on the Foxtel company forums. “It’s as if there is a popup ad on the TV.”
Other users took to the forums to complain of the same advert interruptions using Samsung smart TVs leading a Foxtel support representative known as Beta_Boy to state: “This absolutely should not be happening and is being escalated immediately.”
A Samsung spokesperson told the Guardian: “We are aware of a situation that has caused some Smart TV users in Australia to experience programme interruption in the form of an advertisement.”
“This seems to be caused by an error, and we are currently conducting a full and thorough investigation into the cause as our top priority. This situation has so far been reported only in Australia. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience experienced by our customers.”
In 2014 it was revealed that Samsung has partnered with Yahoo to create adverts and other “interactive experiences”. These experiences were said to be “opt-in”.
It appears that an update to the Samsung software powering the smart TVs has enabled the pop-up ads by default.
Samsung is not the only company looking to monetise smart TV platforms with adverts. Panasonic smart TVs display banner ads in some situations and streaming box manufacturer Roku has pursued revenue share agreements with streaming services using its platform.
Advertising companies including Yahoo and appTV offer solutions for advertisers to place promotions on smart TVs, while smart TVs that log user activity offer the potential for targeted advertising similar to the services internet advertising companies such as Google offer.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 11th February 2015 13.26 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010