Followup: My TV seemed to have reverted to the 14xx firmware again. Update would not work. I finally ditched the wired network and switched to my guest wifi. Then I got a successful update to 1500 in about 15 minutes time. The SmartHub apps started working too. Since my home network performs flawlessly for everthing else, the only theories I can come up with are The wired ethernet hardware is flaky. The TV caches things about the network longer than it should. Something was corrupted for the wired settings, but switching to wireless reset the cache. Both ideas are really grasping at straws. I have little patience for debugging this further (that is, moving back to wired to see performance). At this point I am sticking with my isolated guest wifi because I don't trust this thing on my home network.
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Wow. This firmware is a gigantic pile of fail. There have been numerous suggestions in this thread (and others on the net) which recommend fixes that are hacky at best. At worst, they are inexcusable when they have lingered for over a year without a firmware update that fixes them. The cloudfront.net hack - Any solution that requires blocking some DNS resolution at your router is simply wrong. Hardcoding the name of the CDN into the firmware. Really? The only constant url should be a samsung.com address, from which it loads a configuration that contains URLs for the remainder of the process "Set your location to anything but the US". Why does your TV even care? The only reason this could matter is so that they can make sure the overly broad terms of service for the US market are toned down in jurisdictions that care more about personal privacy. I did a firmware update to 1500 a few days ago. It took nearly 18 hours (wired gigabit ethernet). I didn't pull out the network prober to watch it, but I couldn't write something that slow if I tried. Check out the attached image. You can not delete any of the pre-installed apps.So I have to live through the clutter of 20 things I will never use, for the 5 I want. After tying some of the tips (no full factory reset yet, since I don't want to have to reupdate the firmware for 20 hours), I still do not have any working smarthub apps. They open, but they do not function. The closest is the TED app. I can select videos, but they never get past the first frame. I'll give it a few days to see if the apps update. If not, I will unplug the network cable and ignore it. Between the Tivo and the Mac Mini underneath I have all the resources I need.
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