When a "smart" TV crashes a Windows PC

Written by Guillaume
Publication date: {{ dayjs(1715011221*1000).local().format("L").toString()}}
Follow us
This article is an automatic translation

Beware, smart TVs can sometimes lack elegance in their exchanges with the Windows operating system.

It seems to have come straight from the fertile imagination of a TV series creator or, worse still, a B horror movie. A smart TV is said to be able to crash a Windows PC to which it is connected via the network. And not just once in a while, but on a regular, almost systematic basis, much to the despair of the owner of both objects. There's nothing phantasmagorical about this story, however: the TV in question does exist, it's a Hisense model 50Q8G and it belongs to Priscilla Snow, a musician and audio designer based in Montreal, Quebec.

Told by the Ars Technica website, the story is nevertheless surprising when told without any particular explanation. Priscilla Snow owns a Hisense smart TV and a Windows PC. Both machines are connected to the same home network, and the musician has encountered increasingly precise problems using her PC. Initially quite random, the difficulties she experienced always revolved around the same elements: inability to access screen display properties, MIDI keyboard refusing to work, task manager freezing, acquisition cards no longer recognized correctly...

Ars Technica

Logically, after ruling out a number of possible causes, Priscilla Snow was advised to reinstall her entire system on the grounds that, perhaps, her Windows had been irreparably damaged. Alas, the "solution" came to nothing, and Priscilla Snow encountered even more annoying problems, such as the taskbar disappearing altogether, before returning and disappearing again. The "solution" finally came in the form of an exchange on the Microsoft forums. A certain Narayan B. raised the possibility that the culprit was Hisense's smart TV and its handling of the universal unique identifiers used to discover devices on the network.

Indeed, rather than a unique identifier, the Hisense smart TV would regularly generate new identifiers. Too frequently for the same device. Unable to understand why and to realize that it's the same device, Windows would have seen its DAF (device association framework) database polluted by the smart TV. Quite simply, this information overload was the cause of the malfunctions. Thanks to these clarifications, Priscilla Snow is said to have solved her problem: hundreds of registry keys have been deleted and the " automatically configure network-connected devices " option disabled. However, this is a funny story for a smart TV, which isn't all that smart, and Priscilla Snow advises against buying this particular model.