Home Theater

HDBaseT Snafu? Don’t Update Samsung TVs!

Some dealers and manufacturers are claiming the latest Samsung TV update disables HDBaseT, advising users to shut off auto-updates for now.

HDBaseT Snafu? Don’t Update Samsung TVs!
Home-technology dealers and manufacturers are reporting video outages on Samsung 6000, 7000 and 8000 Series smart TVs that are connected to HDBaseT switchers and extenders.

Julie Jacobson · February 1, 2017

The folks at UK's #LiveInstall tweeted yesterday that Samsung's latest update (v1160) for Internet-connected TVs is a dog. Reportedly, the update has rendered some Samsung TVs unable to communicate via HDBaseT, meaning HDMI sources connected to HDBaseT switchers or extenders can't be played.

The affected TVs go dark.

The new software is said to have "serious incompatibility issues with the HDBaseT chipsets used in most HDMI over CAT5/6 distribution products," the Tweet said. "This software version was released on 25th January but may not have been downloaded/installed by many TVs yet."

The warning: Shut off auto-update immediately on web-connected Samsung displays, notably the new 6000, 7000 and 8000 series.

The message continues:

This update from Samsung at present seems to render all of the HDMI inputs on these TVs unable to connect to or receive a picture from any devices utilising the HDBaseT chipset which includes video matrices, exteder kids and spliiters."

HDBaseT is a widely used technology from Valens Semiconductor that extends HDMI signals over long distances of Category 5+ (Ethernet) cables.

The initial #LiveInstall Tweet was inspired by Blustream, a UK-based maker of HDBaseT switchers.

False Alarm or a Real 'Thing'? 

At this point, it's hard to tell who has been affected by this allegedly bad Samsung update. Commenting on Twitter, some dealers say they've seen issues since the update; others report no problems.

Chris Pinder, founder of the A/V switching company HDanywhere tweeted, "confirmed" on the disruption.

The HDBaseT Alliance posted, "Not aware of probs. w/ Samsung - checking, will update."

UK-based integrator Electric Orange mentions at least one customer affected by the update:

Several folks have commented that video works fine in 1080p, but fails in 4K mode.

Nick's assessment above seems to resonate with other dealers and vendors, who suggest down-rezzing to 1080p for now.

Multiple parties seem to be reaching out to Samsung, which hasn't commented publicly on this alleged snafu. CE Pro is reaching out as well.

Blustream principal Phil Davis tells CE Pro this is not a false alarm: "We are pretty certain of the issue and hear Samsung are working on a fix. We have dealers with basic point to point kits that are working. No one is certain of the exact problem but we know the latest firmware on the TVs has knocked out HDBaseT compatibility."

The company issued this alert to dealers:

It has been drawn to our attention that a firmware update by Samsung on 25Th January 2017 has stopped screens from working with HDBaseT products including matrix, splitters and extender products. This problem is effecting all manufactures who use HDBaseT chipsets in their products.

The Samsung firmware update effects 6, 7 and 8 series screens. On majority of Samsung screens they are shipped with ‘Auto Update’ active, meaning that as long as the screens have internet access they will update to this firmware version and then cease to work. It is strongly advised that the auto update feature is turned off from within the settings menu in the Samsung screen. Please see below screen shot of the auto update feature within an 8 series screen.

Software update (version 1160) for Samsung TV's has just been discovered to have serious incompatibility issues with the HDBaseT chipsets used in most HDMI over CAT5/6 distribution products. This software version was released on the 25th of January 2017. The software release was issued to their 6000, 7000 and 8000 series TV's. 

This update from Samsung at present seems to render all of the HDMI inputs on these TVs unable to connect to or receive a picture from any devices utilizing the HDBaseT chipset which includes video matrices, extender kits and splitters. This will obviously affect many manufacturers including Wyrestorm, CYP, Blustream, HDAnywhere etc.

If you have any affected customers please follow these steps:

1. Switch off your Samsung TV
2. Switch off your broadband router to prevent the TV from connecting to the internet when it's turned on
3. Switch the TV back on again
4. Follow the excerpt from the user manual in the attached file to navigate to the Auto Update settings and set this function to ‘Off’
5. Exit the setting menu on the TV
6. Turn on your broadband router again to re-enable your internet services

It’s also worth noting that having read the manual for the 7000 series TVs it states that the Auto Update function is automatically enabled when you accept all the Smart Hub T&Cs during the TV setup process, so even if you think you have not enabled this function it probably will be anyway.

How Does Something Like This Happen?

"It's an HDCP timing issue," says Martin Ellis, principal of the HDMI switching company Pulse Eight, and a long-time member of HDMI standards boards.

Samsung's disruptive update is not unlike others that affect HDCP timing, thereby crippling video distribution.

"It affects non-HDBT products also," he says. "In the UK, connecting Sky directly into the TV can cause it to happen every so often."

"If all vendors followed our mantra of giving the installer ultimate control then this industry could avoid these damaging updates."
— Martin Ellis, Pulse Eight

LG has "HDBT issue that threw us," Ellis adds. "Their 2016 models don't work with HDBT and we have to use a workaround."

Assuming Samsung "caused" this TV fiasco, the company could roll out a fix, says Ellis, "but obviously it's not great for the end customer, and they will blame the A/V installer."

Meanwhile, Pulse Eight is looking more deeply into the Samsung issue -- the company has 6000 and 7000 Series TVs in the lab -- but Ellis does not believe the issue is a universal phenomenon.

In any case, "I'm happy to go on record saying that we are not affected by the issue in version 2.3+ of our software."

Ellis says he knew about the potential Samsung problem "and we pro-actively fixed the issue on our end last week and a silent update went out to our customers."

He adds, "Because we can hotfix stuff (such as fixing HDCP timings) in our kit in hours, the moment someone mentioned it to us, we sorted it and silently fixed it, not thinking anything of it."

Meanwhile, CE Pro has reached out to other vendors to share their experiences.

Some Advice

"My advice is that if you are installing a managed system, then make sure you manage all aspects of the install. Disable auto-updating features of products you cannot remotely manage," Ellis says. "Leaving things to auto-update when you (the installer) have no control of it could be terminal for a relationship or leave you seriously out of pocket."

Ellis notes there are numerous network-monitoring services that provide insight into the health of networks and connected devices.

"Sadly," he laments, "often all they can do is monitor, because the manufacturer doesn’t expose a management interface. If all vendors followed our mantra of giving the installer ultimate control then this industry could avoid these damaging updates."

That begs the question: Should installers even connect "smart" TVs to the network in the first place?

Responding to the Samsung thing, dealers on RemoteCentral.com are disussing that topic. One integrator comments:

You can't really win if the TVs are connected to the [network] after you successfully configure things. LG has problematic firmware as well that broke HDBaseT. Sony breaks IP control nearly every release and even when it does work not all functions are 100%. Yet another reason I never want a TV on the [network]. Want streaming devices?...use a Roku, Fire, AppeTV.

The merits of connecting include IP control from home-automation systems; integration with third-party services such as Amazon Alexa; and better-quality streaming through TV-based apps.

CE Pro will keep you posted! Please share your experiences in the comments section below.



Secure Your Free Pass to CEDIA EXPO 2019

Register before Sept. 2 to gain free access to the opening keynote, product training & education series as well as the show floor including Innovation Alley and much more. Don’t miss your chance. Sign up today.




  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

Follow Julie on social media:
Twitter · LinkedIn · Google+

Julie also participates in these groups:
LinkedIn · Google+

View Julie Jacobson's complete profile.



  Article Topics


Home Theater · Displays · Networking & Cables · HDMI · HDBaseT · News · Products · Blustream · HDBaseT · Pulse Eight · Samsung · All Topics
CE Pro Magazine

Read More Articles Like This… With A Free Subscription

CE Pro magazine is the resource you need to keep up-to-date on the latest products, techniques, designs and business practices. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!

Comments

Posted by jhamill1 on February 3, 2017

Thank goodness everyone in their right minds has been selling Sony and LG rather than Samsung lately.

Posted by Sandra on February 2, 2017

All,
The HDBaseT Alliance is working with Samsung to reach a solution to this problem. As Martin pointed out above, the problem is not an HDBaseT issue, but we are working closely with the manufacturer to bring the best solution to users.
In response to HDA - sometimes the Alliance is not immediately aware of the communication between members and Valens, so we apologize for the “we are not aware” tweet, as we really were not aware at that point in time. We are now… smile
Julie - I do think that calling it an “HDBaseT Snafu” is a catchy headline, but a bit misleading, no?

Posted by John Nemesh on February 1, 2017

Installers really shouldn’t be attempting to put UHD/4k video over a HDBT extender in the first place!  Even the BEST systems can’t yet handle UHD at 60 fps with HDR and 4:4:4 color.  I have been advising dealers to use HDBT for 1080p sources only for now…and to use fiber optic HDMI for UHD connections.

Posted by Littlehomer on February 1, 2017

Hi Julie!

If that looks like I’m aiming at the comments made by Martin, I’m not. It’s happening across the board.

I agree. It’s a good idea to disable auto updates at this time in Samsung TVs to avoid this whilst it’s actually figured out. No harm at all.

Can you explain what you mean by Crestron “don’t use Valens out of the box” for HDBaseT? As in they use a repeater chip after the HDBaseT chipset? Valens, unless I’m mistaken, are the only people making HDBaseT technology chipsets.

I agree again, it’s wise to report this sort of issue.

It’s good to have a go-to person for comments on this sort of issue. No one would deny you that.

Many Thanks, Daniel

Posted by Julie Jacobson on February 1, 2017

Thanks for your comments, Daniel. For the record, I personally reached out to Martin Ellis, who is my trusted advisor on all things HDMI. His comments were only in response to my questions.

I think it’s healthy to disable auto-updates now for the Samsung TVs in question until the issue is sorted out. No harm in recommending that move to clients right now.

As noted in the story, this clearly is not a widespread issue, mostly anecdotal reports here and there. Crestron has not seen problems yet (they don’t use Valens out of the box for HDBaseT). Control4 has heard of a handful of issues.

So, yeah, I think it’s wise to report about this issue at this time. Any puffery you discern from Pulse Eight is all generated by me, not them. If he is getting fallout from his contributions to my story, then I will eliminate some of his comments.

Posted by Littlehomer on February 1, 2017

Hi All,

My views do not necessarily reflect those of HDA and are entirely my own.

It’s interesting how we’ve had this before and I don’t remember the “uproar” being the same. But I am happy to be proven wrong. Panasonic CX series TVs had similar issues, as have LG (as discussed in the article). The way these issues are handled has always been the same. People scramble for information and will run on whispers and rumour.

There’s a scramble to become the first to break the news. Then a scramble to appear the most technically competent and turn it into a sales opportunity.

The wider issue to discuss, to me anyway, is that large international TV manufacturers can do this without testing with a piece of HDBaseT product. Even though some of them are part of the HDBaseT Alliance.

Is this market a minnow to them? So much so, that they don’t have to listen to our requests to repair it? That we have no decent avenues of communication into their organisations to actually speak to someone about it?

I for one will be waiting on fact. To suggest that all HDBaseT product does not work with all Samsung TVs when they update is incorrect. We have only two confirmed models of Samsung that are effected, with only VS100 based matrix product. VS010 product in our range does not appear to be effected.

I am particularly worried by HDBaseT (at least the twitter account), who appear to be disconnected from Valens, are tweeting they know nothing. I have a case open with them from Monday where the issue has been reported and discussed.

Information control is the key. Not to cause panic and not to cause hysteria. Up until Tuesday, we did not know if it was just our product affected or others. With only five reports of the issue to date with our customers, should we all jump to the conclusion this is massively widespread? Should we be working to get a decent solution and some positive news before we harm confidence in a technology we all rely on so much?

Can HDBaseT manufacturers come together in a safe place to share information like this in a confidential fashion? So instead of us all fighting to have our product appear the better at handling this sort of event, we actually all know the true specifics of the problem before we go to press?

Many Thanks,

Daniel

Posted by Littlehomer on February 1, 2017

Hi All,

My views do not necessarily reflect those of HDA and are entirely my own.

It’s interesting how we’ve had this before and I don’t remember the “uproar” being the same. But I am happy to be proven wrong. Panasonic CX series TVs had similar issues, as have LG (as discussed in the article). The way these issues are handled has always been the same. People scramble for information and will run on whispers and rumour.

There’s a scramble to become the first to break the news. Then a scramble to appear the most technically competent and turn it into a sales opportunity.

The wider issue to discuss, to me anyway, is that large international TV manufacturers can do this without testing with a piece of HDBaseT product. Even though some of them are part of the HDBaseT Alliance.

Is this market a minnow to them? So much so, that they don’t have to listen to our requests to repair it? That we have no decent avenues of communication into their organisations to actually speak to someone about it?

I for one will be waiting on fact. To suggest that all HDBaseT product does not work with all Samsung TVs when they update is incorrect. We have only two confirmed models of Samsung that are effected, with only VS100 based matrix product. VS010 product in our range does not appear to be effected.

I am particularly worried by HDBaseT (at least the twitter account), who appear to be disconnected from Valens, are tweeting they know nothing. I have a case open with them from Monday where the issue has been reported and discussed.

Information control is the key. Not to cause panic and not to cause hysteria. Up until Tuesday, we did not know if it was just our product affected or others. With only five reports of the issue to date with our customers, should we all jump to the conclusion this is massively widespread? Should we be working to get a decent solution and some positive news before we harm confidence in a technology we all rely on so much?

Can HDBaseT manufacturers come together in a safe place to share information like this in a confidential fashion? So instead of us all fighting to have our product appear the better at handling this sort of event, we actually all know the true specifics of the problem before we go to press?

Many Thanks,

Daniel

Posted by Julie Jacobson on February 1, 2017

Thanks for your comments, Daniel. For the record, I personally reached out to Martin Ellis, who is my trusted advisor on all things HDMI. His comments were only in response to my questions.

I think it’s healthy to disable auto-updates now for the Samsung TVs in question until the issue is sorted out. No harm in recommending that move to clients right now.

As noted in the story, this clearly is not a widespread issue, mostly anecdotal reports here and there. Crestron has not seen problems yet (they don’t use Valens out of the box for HDBaseT). Control4 has heard of a handful of issues.

So, yeah, I think it’s wise to report about this issue at this time. Any puffery you discern from Pulse Eight is all generated by me, not them. If he is getting fallout from his contributions to my story, then I will eliminate some of his comments.

Posted by Littlehomer on February 1, 2017

Hi Julie!

If that looks like I’m aiming at the comments made by Martin, I’m not. It’s happening across the board.

I agree. It’s a good idea to disable auto updates at this time in Samsung TVs to avoid this whilst it’s actually figured out. No harm at all.

Can you explain what you mean by Crestron “don’t use Valens out of the box” for HDBaseT? As in they use a repeater chip after the HDBaseT chipset? Valens, unless I’m mistaken, are the only people making HDBaseT technology chipsets.

I agree again, it’s wise to report this sort of issue.

It’s good to have a go-to person for comments on this sort of issue. No one would deny you that.

Many Thanks, Daniel

Posted by John Nemesh on February 1, 2017

Installers really shouldn’t be attempting to put UHD/4k video over a HDBT extender in the first place!  Even the BEST systems can’t yet handle UHD at 60 fps with HDR and 4:4:4 color.  I have been advising dealers to use HDBT for 1080p sources only for now…and to use fiber optic HDMI for UHD connections.

Posted by Sandra on February 2, 2017

All,
The HDBaseT Alliance is working with Samsung to reach a solution to this problem. As Martin pointed out above, the problem is not an HDBaseT issue, but we are working closely with the manufacturer to bring the best solution to users.
In response to HDA - sometimes the Alliance is not immediately aware of the communication between members and Valens, so we apologize for the “we are not aware” tweet, as we really were not aware at that point in time. We are now… smile
Julie - I do think that calling it an “HDBaseT Snafu” is a catchy headline, but a bit misleading, no?

Posted by jhamill1 on February 3, 2017

Thank goodness everyone in their right minds has been selling Sony and LG rather than Samsung lately.