Is your TV spying on you? | What the Tech? viewer question answered

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — Smart TVs are a real bargain. If you were to buy a big 65″ set five or six years ago, you would have paid thousands of dollars.

If you get the same set today, an even better one, you may pay under $500.

The reason is the answer to a question we get frequently: Are our TVs watching us?

As a matter of speaking, smart TVs do watch the people watching them. It’s probably not how you think. Most TVs don’t have cameras.

Samsung is an exception as some of its models have cameras embedded in the bezels around the screen.

TVs do watch what you’re watching. Manufacturers call this “post-purchase monetization.”

Instead of relying on sales, they earn revenue for as long as you own the TV by gathering and selling information about what you watch, how long you watch it, and what you search for.

Your name isn’t connected to your data but your home’s IP address is. Based on what you watch on TV, you may see more targeted ads when you open Gmail, browse social media or the internet.

You can also turn off data collection on most smart TVs. In your TV settings, look for privacy options and turn on “limit tracking”.

If you’re really concerned, you can unplug the TV from the Internet. However, you’ll lose most of the functionality you bought the TV for. If you want to know if your TV has a camera, consult your user’s manual. By and large, those are going to be SAMSUNG TVs.

So yes, TV prices continue to drop, but we’re paying for the TVs for as long as we have them, with our information.

In its earnings report, TV manufacturer Vizio revealed it makes double on selling information than what it earns on TV sales.

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