Smart TVs become advertising screens? Mainland consumers: feel cheated

Several brands of smart TVs on the mainland (e.g. Xiaomi, Sharp, etc.) automatically play 15 to 30 seconds of ads after powering on, and a Guangzhou citizen is suing Xiaomi for this. Pictured is a Xiaomi store in Beijing on Jan. 15, 2021.

It was the Time of the mainland’s Consumer Rights Day 315. News sources say that without informing customers, several brands of smart TVs (such as Xiaomi and Sharp) on the mainland automatically play 15 to 30 seconds of ads after powering on, making consumers feel cheated and turning their TVs into advertising screens. A Guangzhou citizen complained to the Guangzhou Consumer Association about this and said he would file a lawsuit if no improvement was made.

According to a March 14 report by Punch News, a survey conducted by the “3-15” lead collection and visits found that eight of the 12 brands of smart TVs on the market (including Skyworth, Hisense, Konka, TCL, Changhong, Sharp, Haier and Xiaomi) automatically play 15 to 30 seconds of ads when they are turned on. Most of them cannot be turned off directly, nor can they be set to cancel or skip with one key, so consumers can only watch TV when the ads are finished.

Xiaomi, on the other hand, has only one TV priced at 49,999 yuan (RMB) that does not have opening advertisements. Salespeople at Hisense and Haier said that some smart TVs require consumers to contact customer service to cancel start-up ads after installation, and that if consumers do not initiate contact, start-up ads cannot be skipped or canceled. Changhong brand TV sales staff said, now only non-intelligent, does not support the network of TVs without advertising, other smart TVs can not avoid.

Only Sony, Samsung, LG, huawei 4 brands without start-up advertising. But Huawei sales staff said that although there is currently no, but do not rule out the future will be added to the boot advertising.

When these smart TVs were sold, the clerks did not tell consumers that there would be boot ads, so consumers felt cheated. On the online sales platform, the prompt stating “This product contains start-up videos (public welfare content, hot recommendations, commercials)” is mostly presented in small print, which is difficult for consumers to find. Two brands, Konka and Sharp, do not have any hints on the opening advertisement in the detail page, and consumers can only learn about it by consulting customer service.

According to the report, a Guangzhou resident, Liang Kai (a pseudonym), said he bought a 65-inch Xiaomi full-screen TV near the Chinese New Year for 2,899 yuan. He found that every time he turned on the TV, he was forced to watch 30 seconds of commercials, especially when he had a 2-year-old child at Home, and every time he showed his child a cartoon, the child pointed at the TV and said “buy buy buy” because of these commercials, which had a bad effect on the child.

What’s worse, Liang Kai communicated with Xiaomi’s customer service about this matter, but was told that he could not cancel the commercials, but could only “skip” them by clicking the back button of the remote control during the last 5 seconds of the commercial. Liang Kai believes that Xiaomi’s practice is deceptive, and asked for a return but was refused, so he filed a complaint with the Guangzhou Consumers Association and said he would sue Xiaomi if the problem could not be improved.

According to the report, Mr. Wen, a Sichuan citizen who bought a Sharp smart TV, responded that the TV he bought at the end of 2018 for 8,000 yuan had no ads in the past, but since the end of last year, the TV system automatically updated and the TV began to show ads, even after contacting customer service, but to no avail.

Mr. Wen said that the TV was bought at his own expense, and not a free gift from the brand, so why was the advertisement suddenly added? And without informing consumers, this is making the TV at home an advertising screen.

As early as 2018, a Changsha man opened a “de-advertising” Xiaomi Film and Television membership, but found that when you turn on the TV there are still ads, up to 90 seconds, so the man sued Xiaomi. Xiaomi said that the start-up advertising is the TV comes with, and film and television membership has nothing to do with.