As smart TVs become the only option, your privacy choices fizzle out

CNET | 6/18/2019 | Alfred Ng
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Old TVs are going extinct. That means fewer options for protecting your privacy.

If you're worried about your privacy, there are precautions you can take like staying off social networks, using cash or watching out for certain apps. But when it comes to watching television, more and more you're out of luck.

Televisions - Amount - Data - Viewers - Technology

Smart televisions collect a massive amount of data on viewers, through a technology called Automatic Content Recognition. It recognizes everything you're watching on the TV, and shares that data with advertisers. Other TVs can collect audio through recordings, while apps can be used to track viewings by listening through the phone.

It's just one of the examples of how technological convenience is being turned into a potential violation of your privacy. Televisions have long led the trend of making more things around the house smarter, with the inclusion of Wi-Fi capabilities and cameras. As a result, good old-fashioned dumb TVs are going extinct, so a return to simpler times isn't that easy.

TV - Level - Capability - Stephen - Baker

"You really can't find a TV that doesn't have some level of smart capability," said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Group.

IHS Markit said smart TVs made up 70% of all TV sales in 2018, and that's only expected to grow. Baker said that you'd have to downgrade to a television from 2013 or 2014 if you wanted a dumb TV.

TV - Makers - Devices - Internet - Connection

TV makers aren't interested in devices without an internet connection because their customers want access to streaming services, he said. Connected TVs are also more enticing since they're cheap, so TV makers can subsidize the cost by selling data instead.

"It's been mooted that TV manufacturers aren't making any money on the TV themselves, they're monetizing the data that they generate," said Ken Munro, founder of security company Pen Test Partners. "Or conversely, you'd get a bigger TV for the same...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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