Don’t adjust your set: Bold Samsung ad will make you think your TV is busted

Televisions rarely conk out these days, but an upcoming prank ad from Samsung is set to have millions of Brits wondering if they should fire up their smartphone and Google: “How to fix a knackered TV.”

The bold ad campaign will launch in the U.K. this weekend as part of the tech company’s efforts to highlight its new line of QLED TVs and its incorporated Ambient Mode, which helps the display blend into its surroundings.

The 20-second ad will begin with a few seconds of simulated “static and interference” before the display suddenly goes black. And then … nothing.

As irate viewers begin hurling a range of colorful insults at their “faulty” television, the blackout will end after six seconds with an on-screen message that reads: “This is your TV screen … most of the time a void full of nothing.”

It’ll then explain the virtues of Samsung QLED technology and how its Ambient Mode is able to cleverly replicate the background, or, alternatively, show a slideshow of your favorite photos, play music, or display information such as news headlines and weather forecasts.

Samsung is highlighting the campaign with the hashtag #TVblackout and has sent some poor fella onto the streets of London with a TV on his head and a sign that reads, “No more blank screens.”

Samsung appears to be playing a high-stakes game with its unusual ad, especially as it will be shown during a break in the UEFA Champions League Final between Liverpool and Real Madrid on Saturday evening, May 26. As any sports fan knows, sudden disruption of a live broadcast during a big game is enough to make your heart miss a beat — even during a commercial break.

“The large black rectangles which have come to dominate our homes over the past 50 years will soon be a thing of the past as televisions adapt to complement and reflect our modern living environment,” Samsung’s Robert King said in some press bumph. “Our QLED Ambient technology marks the end of an era and we are about to witness a dramatic change in the way we install, watch, and enjoy television.”

The company said that its own research discovered that 60 percent of British adults believe that blank TV screens can often “dominate a room or stand out too much.” The findings also pointed to the idea that these days “we care more about concealing technology within the design of a room.”

Samsung appears to be spending big on its #TVblackout campaign, supporting it with lots of multi-channel content such as teaser digital ads, movie theater screenings, and a spot on the country’s most famous digital ad board in Piccadilly Circus in central London.

The company is gaining something of a reputation for offbeat TV ads. In 2017, it showed one of a washer doing its thing for a full 200 seconds. Samsung described the ad as “a soulful ballet of technology in motion,” though to most people it was a washer washing some clothes.

Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

Surprising nobody, Vizio makes moves to fill your TV with targeted ads

Vizio wants to change the way that TV-based advertising works, partnering with nine media and ad companies to create a standard by which all smart TVs can showcase targeted ads to viewers.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Home Theater

Pandora now lets you mess with the secret sauce for its music playlists

Pandora introduced a new feature called Modes, allowing subscribers to pick between six different algorithms that determine what the popular music streaming service will decide to play.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in April 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for April 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Movies & TV

Study up for season 8 with the best Game of Thrones theories

Season 8 of Game of Thrones is still on the horizon, meaning there's still time to brush up on the best theories about the show. Whether you're one of the last adherents of the Cleganebowl or a King Aerys truther, here are our top theories.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Deals

Building a 4K home theater? Grab a discounted Denon A/V receiver from Amazon

Denon makes some of the best 4K A/V receivers on the market, and a handful of Denon’s latest models are on sale on Amazon now. If you’ve been thinking about building a home theater and are looking for a 4K receiver that doesn’t cost…
Home Theater

Apple’s new AirPods bring only minor updates to the much-loved originals

Apple has announced its new AirPods, the much-anticipated follow-up to Apple's wildly popular AirPods. With optional wireless charging and hands-free Siri, it's a minor update, but a welcome one.