Our Smart TV Has Got Ears And Eyes Too

Smart TV – How Good Do We Know About It?

How many regular old fashioned CRT televisions we come across nowadays? May be a few that too in the petty shops where they sell Coffee and Tea. We can locate the small tv boxes either at the top of a refrigerator or at the stone bench inside those shops. Good Old appliances which very well had met the actual need for a television. The boxes that got disappeared almost due to advanced smart tv with more number of variants like OLED, 4K and more.

smart tv

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

The variants which most of us do not even understand. Not only us it is even applicable to the representative who explains it to us when we hit a store.

Where do you prefer to buy your appliances? Maybe from corporates like Croma, Reliance Digital, Amazon or from a local dealer if you live in India and through Best Buy, Walmart, Costco if you are living in the United States of America.

But, while buying the bigger smart tv for our home, do we understand everything about it?

I still remember that I googled and made a list with few things which I wanted to ask the representative while buying my Samsung smart LED tv. The list had the information about the number of USB, HDMI ports, applications, 3D features etc which are on the smart tv.

Not only me, I am sure everybody does the same research while buying a smart tv for home. But, the fact is that most of us won’t have an answer other than a smile on our face if we ask ourselves how many features in the smart tv we are utilizing.

Smart Tv, Ultra HD, Curved, OLED, 4K resolution And Lot More…

The first was the Black & White CRT TV which the color televisions had replaced. Then came LCD which we had welcomed as it saved us more space though it consumed the price which we use to invest on to a TV stand furniture. Followed by PLASMA, LED, OLED, HD, Curved TV, 4K and more smart tv with loaded features.

The same smart LED tv which we thought helping us save more space had pushed us to a liability where we end up buying or renting a house with a bigger living room. We wanted our living room to be big enough so that the bigger smart tv we had bought is well placed. When I say liability I am referring to the house (which costs more than we can afford) we are planning to buy or bought.

The Privacy Factor:

The smart tv of today not only comes with loaded features but also with the things that take a toll on our privacy. This is the reason why I had mentioned that “Our Smart TV Has Got Ears And Eyes Too”.

smart tv

Do You Know?

The smart tv with voice recognition feature sends all the information we say being in front of the smart tv to a third party service provider?

smart tv

If you own a smart tv like Samsung or LG or Sony or Vizio or anything similar, then it is best that you disable the voice recognition feature now.

The main purpose of collecting the voice details is to increase the performance of the smart tv. The collected information via speech is converted to text by an unknown firm or a person. In most of the models, we need to enable the mic to use voice recognition. But, there are few Samsung tv models where the microphone is always ON.

So, our smart tv listens to everything we discuss sitting in the living room while watching tv. Let us assume that you are discussing some sensitive information with your family member. Yes, you guessed it right. That information gets transmitted to a third party service provider.

Do You Have A Face Recognition Feature Also In Your Smart TV?

You need to be extra cautious.

The microphone and the camera can send details about your current state on top of what you are discussing. If you are falling into this category, then you are providing both your speech as well as a glimpse of what you are doing to an unknown person.

Wonder Where The Microphone Is?

The microphones are located in two places most of the time.

  1. Inside our smart tv.
  2. Inside our smart tv remote control.

To Believe Or Not To Believe?

Let’s take Samsung as an example here. Please go online and look for the privacy policy of Samsung Smart TV. You will find a clause relevant to “Voice Recognition”. You can also find the information on your TV irrespective of their brand.

Below are the screen captures for a quick peek.

smart tvsmart tv

Where To Find Your TV Privacy Policy And Disable The Feature?

SonyGo to Setting >>> General >>> About This TV / TV – About >>> Legal information >>> View Privacy Policy.

LGGo to Setting >>> General >>> About This TV >>> User Agreements >>> and opt out of Viewing Information, Personal Advertising, and/or Voice Information.

VizioMenu >>> Settings >>> Smart Interactivity, or any option with Automated Content Recognition and turn it off.

SamsungHome >>> Settings >>> System >>> Expert Settings >>> Voice Interaction and turn it OFF.

For Policy Document – Home >>> Settings >>> Terms & Policy

Kindly note that the navigation might vary based on the model hence it is good if you go through the user manual which came with the smart tv or navigate via settings option on your TV.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Smart TV:

  • Look for all the features which you find it to be useful. Do not rely fully on the representative to spoon feed on everything.
  • Chances are there that the representative does not know about some of the things or miss to convey some of the things to us. To Err is Human.
  • Be smart by choosing your smart tv size based on the distance between your couch and the wall where the TV is mounted.

smart tv

Image Credit: the-home-cinema-guide

  • Do not go for a bigger tv when the viewing distance is less. It won’t give you a great viewing experience until you move to a bigger room.
  • Do not stretch yourself and buy a smart tv focusing on a particular feature unless you are sure that you would use it frequently. I use only Youtube app and nothing else.
  • Read the user’s manual, at least the main things like features, policies related to privacy etc.

Things To Consider After Buying A Smart TV:

  • Turn Off the mains when you are not watching TV.

– This way you not only ensure your privacy but also save money on your electricity consumption.

– This tip also helps in extending the life time of your smart tv.

  • Try to use the remote control instead of voice recognition.

– Get up, move from the couch or sofa and grab the remote instead of commanding your TV.

  • Ensure that the TV camera is not on record or display mode even when the smart tv display is blank.
  • Opting for a universal remote might help to stop the remote control mic from collecting what you speak.

As you now know what needs to be done to make your tv deaf and dumb, please do it on time.

Feel free to share your views in case if you have got any other information like the one we had discussed above so that it would be helpful to everyone.

References:

https://www.samsung.com/uk/info/privacy-SmartTV/?CID=AFL-hq-mul-0813-11000170

http://www.thedailybeast.com/your-samsung-smarttv-is-spying-on-you-basically

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