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Samsung's anti-theft technology can remotely disable stolen TVs

Samsung can remotely disable its TVs if stolen
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung South Africa has announced a new 'Television Block Function' to deter the theft and resale of stolen TVs. The crime-busting tech comes just weeks after the port city of Durban was gripped by a frenzy of rioting and looting.

"TV Block is a remote, security solution that detects if Samsung TVs have been unduly activated, and ensures that the television sets can only be used by the rightful owners," says Samsung South Africa.

When a Samsung TV is switched on, it connects to the internet and sends its serial number to the company's servers. If the number comes back as stolen, the blocking system kicks in, disabling the set and making it useless.  

Many shopkeepers in South Africa don't have the luxury of insurance, and some have had to watch in horror as overstretched police make little or no attempt to stop looters making off with precious electronic goods.

The system might not prevent thieves from breaking up stolen TVs and selling off the most valuable parts, but Samsung firmly believes the tech can "mitigate against" the sale of illegal goods "in South Africa and beyond". The technology is already pre-loaded on all Samsung TV products, apparently.

Legitimate buyers who find that their TVs are blocked incorrectly can appeal their case by emailing their proof of purchase, along with a valid TV license, to serv.manager@samsung.com. 

Most mobile phones have similar security features, allowing customers to remotely lock and wipe stolen handsets, but Dutch e-bike maker Van Moof has taken anti-theft technology to the next level. It not only fits its bicycles with tracking devices but also sends a crew of recovery agents to retrieve stolen bikes from anywhere in the world.

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Tom has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Men's Health, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile tech, electric cars and video streaming.