I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, smart TVs are the worst. The extra software is usually clunky enough to get in the way of whatever you actually wanted to watch, and updates don’t come as quickly or consistently as they do on standalone streaming devices.
Most models come with some serious privacy issues as well, since companies often use them to track what you watch. Now, there’s one more reason to avoid a smart television: You could get hacked.
A study from Consumer Reports found that that Samsung’s smart TVs are susceptible to hacking. A similar vulnerability also affects television sets that use Roku’s smart-TV platform.
Hackers can apparently commandeer your TV to change the channel, raise the volume, or (worst of all) play random YouTube videos. They can’t actually spy on you or steal any personal information, but it could still be pretty unsettling.
For Roku TVs, all the hacker would need to do to take control is infect a computer or mobile device that’s connected to the same Wi-Fi as your TV with malware. Samsung’s televisions are a little harder to crack, but if you’ve used the company’s remote app on your phone you could be at risk.
If you’re worried about your smart TV getting hacked there are a few different things you can do to avoid it. When it comes to Samsung’s TVs, just don’t use the remote app and you should be fine. If you’ve imported one of Roku’s televisions, unfortunately they are a little tougher to protect.
Your best bet may be to disable the TV’s Wi-Fi connection entirely, essentially turning it into a dumb TV and then connecting it to a separate streaming device.
Of course, the easiest solution is to just not buy a smart TV in the first place. Get a regular television instead, and if you can’t find one just buy a computer monitor and plug that directly into your streaming device of choice.