Smart TVs are being abandoned by brands after just two years
Appliances such as washing machines or TVs run the risk of losing features and functionality or posing a security risk after just two years as manufacturers fail to provide important technical updates.
Consumer body Which one? looked at popular smart TVs, dishwashers, washing machines, smartphones, inkjet printers, smartwatches and fitness trackers and found that hardly any brands came close to matching the life expectancy with their smart update policies.
For example, smart dishwashers cost almost £300 more up front, on average, than traditional ones (average £746 against an average of £455). Smart models offer remote control using an app – so people can start, pause and stop washing using their smartphone, tablet, Alexa or Google Assistant. The app can determine the most suitable program for washing dishes and select washing cycles that are water and energy efficient.
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However, these smart features are put at risk when the product loses software support from the manufacturer, and the risk of online hacking also increases. LG dishwashers may lose support just two years after launch despite the estimated lifespan of dishwashers being 13 years.
LG’s smart TVs and washing machines similarly only have guaranteed support for just two years after launch. This despite the fact that the estimated lifetimes for TVs and washing machines are almost seven years and 11 years respectively. LG told What? that the TVs can receive up to five years of support for critical security vulnerabilities.
Which? also found that Sony only offers guaranteed support for its smart TVs for two years from launch, while for Samsung’s smart TVs it is three years. HP guarantees support for its smart printers for only three years, although the estimated lifetime of inkjet printers is 13 years.
Rocio Concha, which one? director of policy and advocacy, said: “It is unfair for manufacturers to sell expensive products that are supposed to last for many years and then abandon them. This means the product may lose the features that justified the high price tag and potentially create a safety risk or add to the mountain of electrical waste if it needs to be replaced.
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“Manufacturers need to step up their game and provide important technology updates for their smart products for a longer period of time, or the government should consider further intervention in this area, including specifying a minimum number of years for which these products must be supported.”
Which? approached 119 brands about hundreds of smart device products, in 20 different categories, and as of November 2022, only half (49%) had responded with clear information about support periods. Big name brands including AEG, Apple, Epson, Hoover and Whirlpool failed to respond with guaranteed update support periods.
Some companies like Hisense, which supports smart TVs for 10 years, and Miele, which supports smart dishwashers and washing machines for 10 years.
See: Your Smart TV may be vulnerable to hacking