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smart tv privacy
© Pavel Sytsko |
TV & streaming

The real reason TVs are so cheap: No more privacy

Ever wonder why larger-than-life TVs seem so much cheaper than they used to be? Are 4K TVs better? Tap or click for three things you need to know before you buy.

We may be coming out of a significant chip shortage, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers like Samsung from delivering precisely what the people want. What’s the catch?

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a big-screen TV, you couldn’t have been born at a better time. Sadly, the luxury comes at a steep cost. Especially if you value privacy. Keep reading to find out why TVs are so affordable these days.

Here’s the backstory

In 2013, a 4K-capable widescreen display would cost upwards of $10,000, especially from a name-brand manufacturer. Now, those same TVs come with a host of bells, whistles and smart features, and you can buy top-of-the-line models for a fraction of the price. What gives?

Many believe the difference (aside from refining the manufacturing process itself) is big data and the enormous profit to be found therein. Is your TV spying on you? It could be, just like many of the sites you visit. Now, every household is a Nielsen family.

Information regarding your habits and the stuff you like to watch can all be used to make up for the scant price tag you see on large-screen TVs. Over time, data-farming firms help manufacturers recover the costs they “missed out on” at check-out.

It just goes to show: the deal of a century will almost certainly come with some strings attached. Is it worth it? It depends.

Everybody from Roku to LG is capitalizing on this business, feeding that information into the revenue machine. Would your TikTok timeline be as engaging if your feed weren’t tailored to your interests?

How to keep your TV from spying on you

Some smart TVs come equipped with hidden cameras. Short of voiding the device’s warranty and removing it yourself, most people won’t be able to disable these embedded peripherals. If you’re hoping to minimize big data’s impact on your viewing experience, you could try any of the following:

  • Look into privacy settings that limit the amount of data your device sends back to the manufacturer.
  • Opt into any “do not sell my information” services your TV offers you.
  • Read your user agreement carefully, and choose a different brand if something feels suspicious.
  • Disable voice control features, which might stop the device from analyzing conversations around it.
  • Avoid “freemium” apps and channels, as these are usually funded by data collection.

One of the best ways to protect privacy from smart TVs is to turn off their tracking features. We’ve put together a guide on how to do it for the top TV manufacturers. Tap or click here to find your brand and learn how to disable tracking.

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