As more and more of us sign up to streaming services such as Netflix, the demand for smart TVs has, naturally, increased, with Internet-enabled models a feature of many homes.
When it comes to splashing out on a brand-spanking-new set you might be pleasantly surprised by the price, and the reason for this is that some manufacturers can keep their costs low by collecting and selling customers’ data, according to one expert.
CTO of electronics firm Vizio Bill Baxter spoke on the Vergecast where he revealed that some smart TVs are gathering data about their owners and then flogging that data on to third parties.
The data collected can include viewing habits, such as which shows and adverts you watch, as well as your approximate location.
When asked if Vizio sets run automatic content recognition, Baxter said: “Absolutely. So, it’s what the glass on the TV sees, just to be really straight. Whatever the TV sees.
“If the user has gone through the setup process and opted in to content recognition, then we will enable that for certain use cases, because there are restrictions, and we don’t want to violate the customer’s privacy rights and we certainly anonymise that data and we don’t try to, in any way, infringe on their privacy.”
But he was also quick to point out that by auto-collecting the data, consumers are actually helping the industry and, in the longer term, themselves; before adding that people can opt to switch it off: “If you opt it in and then we can translate that into better serving you in many different ways. And so, there are real benefits.
“And so, you won’t see us shying away from trying to continue down that path, but you will also see that we will continue to lead the industry in terms of how consumers can find out what we’re collecting, specifically what we collected, what we’re going to use it for, and how they can turn it off if they don’t like it.”
He added that the data can be used to ‘sell some movies…sell some TV shows…sell some ads’ and that without that way of making cash customers would have to fork out more for their smart TVs. So, small price to pay, I guess?
Featured Image Credit: PA