The suggestion that Samsung Smart TVs are “always listening” is a misnomer, and at the core of all the scuttlebutt. The fact is, Samsung’s Smart TVs are asleep on the job 99 percent of the time. They’re programmed to “wake up” when they detect a pre-programmed phrase such as “Hi TV,” but — and this is critical — until that phrase is spoken, they aren’t “paying attention” to anything you say, nor are they storing or reporting anything.
Today some of Samsung's Smart TVs are in the spotlight again as users discovered that the TVs are injecting ads when consumers are watching their own content! This unwanted feature is the result of Samsung's cooperation with Yahoo on display ad technology. At the time, Samsung promised this would be an opt-in feature but it seems it's being rolled out to more and more people:
The company’s partnership with Yahoo on display ad technology was reported several weeks ago, when tech writer David Chartier noticed Yahoo-curated ads showing up on his Samsung display while he used an Apple TV. At the time, Samsung promised that the app feature would be opt-in over time and claimed that the then-current need to opt-out would be temporary.
It seems that the company’s rollout is hitting more than isolated authors, and causing significant unhappiness as a result. According to Reddit user beans90, Samsung is now firing ads into the middle of the Plex app, which he was using to stream local content at the time. In other words, Samsung’s new plan for its advertising partnership with Yahoo appears to be showing you ads at any time, regardless of your current activity.