Friday, January 8, 2016

Your New Vizio Smart TV May Be Invading Your Privacy

Modern flatscreen TVs are far removed from the older models that we used for decades. These Internet connected "Smart TVs" are really large screen computers with built in apps. Having Apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, etc., a remote click away, is very convenient. As Apps are added to the TV platform it eliminates the need for all of those extra boxes and peripherals.

Unfortunately, manufactures are always seeking additional revenue streams - perhaps at the expense of your privacy.

Vizio, considered by many to be a top of the line "second tier" product, has a feature that you may want to turn off. This "feature", which is on by default, is capable of tracking your viewing habits and sharing them with other advertisers. Vizio calls this "Smart Interactivity".

The technology analyzes the programs you watch via cable, OTA or even across streaming services like Netflix. Your habits can then be associated with the IP address of your Internet connected TV. While IP addresses are not directly connected to a particular individual they are being combined with other information to gain a clearer picture of the user.

Cable companies in the US are not allowed to sell information about customer viewing habits, but this does not apply to manufactures. 

So how do turn this "feature" off? It varies slightly by model, but the steps below will assist you. 

1. Press the MENU button on your TV's remote.
2. Select either Settings or System (followed by Reset & Admin.) - depending on your model.
3. Highlight Smart Interactivity.
4. Press the RIGHT arrow to change the setting to Off.