Major television manufacturers found to be vulnerable to ‘quantum loss’


We’ve all been there: In the aftermath of a long night’s binging on Game of Thrones, a friend or sibling tells you to “move out of the way.” You are defenseless. You remain immobile. You allow them to get exactly what they want. It was wrong. As it turns out, cleaning your TV — wiping the scuffs from the devices, buffering the video, priming the iWireless HDTV system, cleaning the remote — can screw up your broadband connection too. So the news of a flaw in the way that a major TV tech manufacturer calibrates those pretty devices is something you should be aware of.

In a public disclosure of a severe flaw, Belkin has detailed a technique to intentionally strip bandwidth from a digital signal and replace it with a series of wave forms that itself strips bandwidth. The term “quantum loss” comes into play: “When a waveform is generated by a set of fully charged nanoparticles, they can then be arranged in a series of different shapes based on the positions of the particles. . . . Regardless of whatever channel, the waveform always passes through the network. The observer is just creating their own version of the waveform that is causing the waveform.” As the Wall Street Journal points out, this finding actually goes back to 1981, and has been alleged to have had a significant impact since then.

To test how far Belkin’s release went, we tested the company’s TV-cleaning software on our own, and discovered that it failed to pass through some of the devices in the office. And though it might sound harmless enough, it’s been reported that the affected devices include the Sony KD-65X8005A and the Samsung UN65MU8000PQ, but also LG, Insignia, and TCL sets from a decade ago — so it could also affect devices made by TVs with current technology. You can go take a look for yourself, but be warned: even clean-smelling cleaning products can mess up your broadband.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.


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