Have you ever wondered why so-called smart televisions are priced less than stupid dumb box televisions? Look around. Logic dictates that the more smarts a television has, the higher the price tag.
Nope. That’s not how it works. Why not?
Television manufacturers get money from advertisers and data collection farms by collecting information about your viewing habits, and that helps to offset the lowered price tag. The hardware is something of a loss leader because television makers get revenue from other sources.
I have a few Vizio televisions around the compound and now I’m concerned that television manufacturer might be onto a new revenue stream that will dampen my enthusiasm for high quality and low price.
Smart TV manufacturer Vizio has formed a partnership with nine media and advertising companies to develop an industry standard that will allow smart TVs to target advertisements to specific households
Not only do I get followed across the interwebs by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Samsung, now my television will be in cahoots with nefarious advertisers to deliver ever more messages I don’t want while extracting personal information I want to keep.
Addressable advertising, or targeting viewers on the household level based on their interests, has long been the goal of TV marketers. But TVs lack cookies that internet browsers use to allow ads to follow people around the web. And TV manufacturers have so far used different technology and standards to enable addressable advertising, hindering the industry’s growth
So far, Samsung is not on the list but combined, Vizio and the Korean company would managed to control about 50-percent of the television households in the U.S. So-called smart televisions are smarter than we may realize.
Tom’s Guide as a good primer on smart TVs, but suffice it to say that whatever you see on your television screen is being tracked by someone somewhere all the time.
Can a smart TV watch you?
Yes, it can. Information you share on a Facebook app on a TV or when ordering on Amazon or Netflix on the big screen is shared in the same way as when you conduct such business on a PC or a smartphone.
Some smart TVs come with a built-in camera and microphone.
Computer researchers demonstrated ways to break into particular smart TVs that had built-in video cameras and microphones, and then eavesdrop on people in their living rooms.
Why are smart TV’s relatively inexpensive these days?
In early 2017, Vizio agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle claims alleging that the company had collected viewing data from 11 million TVs without getting the owners’ approval. The claims accused Vizio of secret monitoring that included information about not just app use but also what owners watched on their disc players, cable systems and even over-the-air broadcasts.
We live in a capitalist world where everybody is out to get your money, and if they can’t make money by selling you something, they’ll make money another way; in this case, by allowing advertisers to follow you wherever you go.