One thing you should consider with any new TV, just like a phone or smart home device, is how you handle your privacy. In many ways, you will look back on the content you see on the big screen. While most modern televisions do not track you with physical cameras, their Smart TV software platforms often track.
From Amazon and Roku to Samsung, LG and Vizio, all major smart platforms and televisions capture your viewing data. Software and hardware manufacturers are thus "improving" their product offering by, for example, adapting show recommendations and the ads they show. The ability to run ads may be frustrating and help reduce the cost of buying a new TV or streaming stick.
A tracking tool is called Automatic content detection. This is a software that recognizes the images on your TV. ACR works regardless of whether the images are transmitted via an app or an HDMI port such as a cable box, Xbox or PlayStation. The good news is that you can turn it off.
To find out how this works, we examined all the Smart TV systems of the major TV makers of 2019, as well as dedicated streamers from Amazon, Roku and Nvidia (which use Google). Here's what we found and what you can do about it. Just click on the following link to jump to your device.
Which TV is the easiest way to control your privacy? Roku
The worst operator in our tests was Vizio. The privacy controls were so complicated that in our initial search for hiring we had to reset our TV to factory settings to make sure the right things were turned off.
These two represent the extremes of the systems we tested. Below is all the information and step-by-step instructions on how to take control of your data.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon uses data to operate, improve, and troubleshoot devices, as well as "evaluate customer engagement, identify potential quality issues, analyze our business, and adapt marketing offerings, including ads." The exact data collected varies by apps and services.
This way you can regain control. All settings can be found at Settings then Settings and then Privacy Settings .
- Select Device Usage Data and set this up.
- Go to App Usage Data and disable this setting.
- Select Internet Based Ads and disable this setting.
- On some Fire TV sets TVs Amazon also collects data from what you see with an antenna. Search for these TVs Radio Data and turn them off.
Google Android TV
The data collected includes terms you search for, videos you watch, views and interactions with content and ads, voice and audio information when you use audio features, buying activity, people you communicate with or share content with, activities with third-party providers. Party pages and apps that use our services.
Google states thatas a platform does not perform ACR or monitor what particular content users view.
How to control data on an Android TV device such as the.
- Go to Settings Scroll to a section labeled Personal Click Usage and Diagnostics and make sure that the tab is disabled ,
- To manage other data that Google has about you, such as: For example, YouTube and Search History, and web and activity data, go to myactivity.google.com.
Roku states that while some data is shared with advertisers, "your ad data will not be shared with advertisers."
You may need to do the following to limit or disable tracking.
- Open in the main menu of Roku settings and go to privacy .
- Make sure that the advertisement check the box Restrict display tracking is being checked.
- To disable ACR, navigate to the Smart TV Experience tab, and make sure both options are turned off.
This restricts and disables Roku's captured data However, this does mean that Roku will not be able to make the same recommendations for the content.
LG Smart TVs (Web Operating System)
LG is the only manufacturer we have contacted and who has not responded to our questions. Therefore, we can not confirm what data the system collects. Here's how to limit this.
- Select General in the main menu Settings .
- To disable content recommendations, call AI Service and disable AI Recommendation so that LG can no longer track this usage data.
- Here you may revoke your consent to Interest-Based Advertising Display Information Live Plus . With this feature, LG captures viewing habits with ACR, as well as LG Channels .
- By calling Additional Settings from this general menu, you can also disable Cookies which keeps track of which web displays appear on your TV and make sure they are the same Ads do not appear "continuously above a certain level".
Samsung Smart TVs (Tizen)
Samsung smart TVs use ACR when providing recommendations for viewing or displaying more relevant ads. In addition to ACR, the company also collects status information about the TV to diagnose problems or improve products.
Disabling Viewing Information Services should disable ACR detection. That's the way you can do it.
- Select View Information Services and uncheck I agree to turn ACR off.
Sony smart TVs (Android TV)
We used a Sony Bravia Android TV in our review, but the experience should be comparable to other Android TV devices.
- Go to Settings and scroll to a tab labeled Initial Setup .
- Clear these check boxes and click Next to prevent your data from being collected.
Vizio smart TVs (SmartCast)
According to Vizio, the captured display data is device-level information about playback on a Vizio Smart TV, such as a Vizio Smart TV. Shows, movies, networks and ads. The data is "never associated with identifying information such as" name and contact information. "
The company states that the data collected is" licensed to media companies, advertisers and metering companies. "Unfortunately, Vizio has a hard time reviewing or disabling this tracking on its recent SmartCast televisions. 19659028] Go to Settings by tapping the menu on the remote.
Unfortunately, Vizio states that even when the data display is off, information is collected when "users use SmartCast Home" for new models or "Smart Interactivity" for older TVs. SmartCast Home is the Vizio platform for streaming apps.
"Activity data includes device-level information and clicks and impressions collected to support and maintain the SmartCast experience, as well as to continually enhance and enhance Vizio products, including the creation of new services or the provision of recommendations . " The company informed CNET that the data collected here was "not licensed to third parties."