- Smart TVs collect data about what you watch with a technology called Automatic Content Recognition, or ACR.
- You cannot stop all data collection without disconnecting your computer from the Internet, but you can disable ACR on many models.
- Smart TVs may use a different name for ACR and controls can be difficult to find. ButCR has instructions below.
You may not know it, but your TV knows and shares a lot of information about you.
Almost all newer TVs are smart TVs, which connect to the Internet, making it easy to stream video from services like Hulu and Netflix. Streaming apps on your TV can collect data about you even if you never log in. And your smart TV will also collect information from the manufacturer, possibly including your location, what apps you open, and more.
These companies may also capture your voice when you use the microphone on a smart TV remote, and they may collect data about you from third parties.
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Consumer Reports started reporting on this data collection in 2015. We have been looking at Smart TV data collection in our labs.since 2018and incorporate our findings into all of ourtv ratingsevery year.
(If you are buying a new game, see thebest tvs of 2022.)
We've found that you can't stop all data collection, but you can reduce intrusion by disabling a technology called Automatic Content Recognition, or ACR. This smart TV technology tries to identify every program you play, including those you receive via cable, over-the-air broadcasts, streaming services, and even Blu-ray discs.
With a variety of names depending on the brand of TV, ACR can help its staff recommend programs you might want to watch. But the data could also be used to target advertisements to you and your family and for other purposes. You cannot easily review or delete this data later.
Vizio got into trouble with federal and state regulators in 2017 for collecting this data without users' knowledge or consent. Since then, TV companies have been more careful about asking permission before collecting viewing data. It's tricky to do this the first time you set up a new TV andeven harder to reach later.
But for many of us, it's worth doing. You've already paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for your TV. There is no need to provide them with your personal details either. Below are instructions for disabling ACR on all major smart TV platforms including equipment from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio; Google TVs from companies like Hisense, Philips and TCL; Roku devices from brands like Insignia, JVC, Hisense and TCL; and Amazon Fire TV Edition TVs from Hisense, Insignia and Toshiba.
You can alsoreset something called an advertiser ID, which companies use to collect information about you. Changing the ID periodically can reduce tracking.
Scroll down or click on a link to go directly to your own TV's Smart TV platform:
Televisores Amazon Fire TV Edition
Android e Google TV
amazon fire tv
The Amazon Fire TV Edition platform is built into several Insignia and Toshiba models, as well as a new series from Hisense; all are sold primarily through Amazon and Best Buy. Unlike other companies with smart TV platforms, Amazon says it doesn't use ACR technology to track every show you watch, and it doesn't collect data through a set-top box or any other non-Amazon device connected to TVs. 🇧🇷
However, the system collects information about the shows you watch through an antenna and through streaming apps such as Netflix available on the Fire TV platform. (Of course, if you watch some of the Amazon Prime videos, the company knows these details, too.)
During setup, you'll be asked to choose a full or basic experience. (On previous Fire TVs, you can sign in with Amazon or opt out.) If you choose the latter, you only get access to live TV, plus five streaming services: Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Now, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. If you choose the full experience, you get hundreds of other channels and apps, use of the Alexa voice service, and the ability to sign in (or create) an Amazon account. With either option, you must agree to Amazon's privacy policies and terms and conditions during initial setup.
To disable scheduling data collection, go to Settings on the Home screen or the button on the remote > Preferences > Privacy Settings.
Under Privacy Settings, there are options for Device Usage Data, Collect Apps & Wireless Usage, and Interest-Based Ads. They are all enabled by default, but you can disable them. There is also an option that allows you to reset the Advertising ID, which can reduce tracking.
Device usage data collects information about how you use the TV for advertising and marketing purposes.
Collecting app and over-the-air usage data collects information about what you watch if you use an antenna and the frequency and duration of use of third-party apps. (Note: Disabling this will not affect data collection by the Fire TV Recast device, Amazon's wireless DVR, if you are using one.)
Turning off interest-based ads will not only affect your TV, but other Amazon devices as well, like an Echo smart speaker. You will continue to see advertisements; they just won't be personalized.
On older suites, you may need to go to Applications instead of Preferences to adjust your privacy settings.
Android e Google TV
The Google TV platform is gradually replacing the company's old Android TV smart system.
Brands using these systems include Hisense, Philips, Sony (alsocovered separately, below) and TCL. In terms of privacy, there's not much difference, and we did our review using a Google TV 2022 by Hisense.
Google says that the Google TV platform itself does not use ACR technology to capture the specific content being watched. However, the individual TV brand can do this and has its own privacy policies and user agreements.
For example, Hisense has its own user agreements, which you will see once Google TV is set up and which you must agree to. You may opt out of the Information Display Services, which is Hisense's ACR technology. If you do, the TV will not provide program recommendations.
Google may not use ACR, but it collects data from TVs that use its smart TV platform, and you cannot disable Google policies during setup.
However, you can control location services and prevent the TV from collecting diagnostic information that the company says it uses to improve the TV's performance.
After setting up an Android or Google TV, you can limit the data collected for targeted ads. On Google TVs 2022, click the Settings button on your remote > Privacy > Ads. There you can reset the Advertising ID or delete the Advertising ID data.
On 2022 Android TVs, click Settings > Device Preferences.
On older devices using Android TV, find the Settings icon at the top of the home page, scroll down > About > Legal info. There you can opt out of receiving personalized advertisements.
All of LG's smart TVs use the company's webOS platform.
LG's settings menus change from year to year, just like other smart TV platforms. On new LG devices, start by clicking the Settings button on the remote, scroll down > All Settings > Support > Privacy & Terms.
Click on it and you'll see the User Agreements, as well as an option called Do not sell my personal information. You can activate it using a toggle button. If you do so, LG will limit third parties' use of your information, but will still collect information so that you can use LG services such as Live Plus and LG Channels (described below).
Until recently, you could disable LG's ACR by clicking View Info. The technology powers LG's Live Plus feature, which makes program recommendations based on what you watch and listen to on your TV. Disabling it will improve your privacy, but you will receive less specific program recommendations. But Aspect is also an ACR technology and, like the other options, it is disabled by default. We reached out to LG to learn more about this technology, what it does and how it interacts with other ACR technologies that LG employs.
The interest-based and cross-device advertising agreement allows LG to collect information from your TV to deliver targeted advertisements not only on your TV, but also on other devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The Who function. Where. Which lets you get information about TV content, like the name of the band in a song you're listening to or an actor and actress in a show you're watching. It also allows you to purchase products at any time. Agreeing to this allows LG's partner TheTake, which provides this service, to access preview data for this purpose.
Note: For 2019 and earlier sets, press the Settings button on the remote and scroll down > All Settings > click General. From there, you can access user agreements and settings under About This TV.
About a dozen TV brands now use the Roku TV platform, including Element, Hisense, Insignia, JVC, Philips, RCA, TCL and Westinghouse.
There are a few ways to limit data collection on Roku TVs.
The Smart TV Experience is where ACR technology resides. Click this option and you can uncheck Use information from TV's inputs, which will disable the TV's ACR technology. This will limit tracking of shows you receive through an antenna or any other device, like a cable box, connected to the TV, but Roku may still collect and share data about the apps or streaming services you use. .
If you disable the use of information, it automatically disables push notifications, which uses ACR technology to power Roku's More Ways to Watch feature. This allows you to watch a live show that has already been running from the beginning, or see what other episodes are available.
Under Speech, you'll see Microphone Access and Speech Recognition. They provide several options (Ask, Always Allow and Never Allow) to allow or prevent channels from accessing the microphone on your remote or mobile device if you are using the Roku app. There is also an option to reset channel permissions.
Under Advertising, you can limit ad tracking or reset your advertiser identifier, which replaces the ad identifier associated with your Roku device. You may still see ads, which may appear on Roku services or third-party channels, but they shouldn't be personalized.
There are a few ways to access privacy controls on Samsung 2022 TVs, where you'll find options to control interest-based advertising, information display services (Samsung ACR technology) and voice recognition services.
On the TV remote control, click the Start button > Menu > Settings > All Settings. Scroll down and click General & Privacy > Terms & Privacy. (On some older models this is called Terms and Policy.)
On this page, you can opt out of interest-based ads by unchecking "Enable to make content and advertising on Smart TVs more interactive". When you opt out, a "Limit Ad Tracking" sign is added to inform third parties to stop serving targeted ads. However, you will still receive generic ads. (We haven't tested the effectiveness of this in practice, but we've found that the cookieopt-outs on websites often don't work well.)
Under Terms and Privacy, you will also see Privacy Options, Terms and Conditions, Smart Hub Privacy Notice, Information Services View, and Interest-Based Advertising Services Privacy Notice. (Also, there is an option to reset the advertiser ID, which can reduce tracking.)
You can check or uncheck the information display service and interest-based advertising boxes. This controls the collection of data used for targeted advertising.
That's easy, but it's more difficult to disable voice recognition services, which collect data when you use voice commands to search or open apps. To access the control, click Privacy Options > Privacy Center > Voice Recognition Services. There, you'll see text instructions for disabling this feature, but we found them to be inaccurate. The text says the controls for changing your choice of settings can be found under Terms & Privacy, where you can select "Speech Recognition Services" or "I consent to Speech Recognition Services on this device". We didn't find any of these options in the Terms & Privacy menu.
On some older computers, you can access all of these controls by clicking the Settings icon in the main menu or the button on the remote and finding Support > Terms & Privacy or Terms & Policy > Privacy Options. Even on older Samsung Smart TVs, ACR controls are found in the Smart Hub menu. Find the Settings icon, click Support and find the submenu titled Terms & Policy. Once there, look for SyncPlus and Marketing and you will find an option to disable SyncPlus. You can also disable Voice Recognition Services, which will disable voice commands.
All of Sony's latest TVs use the Google TV platform, while older TVs have Android TV.
You then need to continue through the next two screens until you reach the Samba TV user agreement where you have the option to enable or disable. You can disable Samba TV later by going to Settings > System > Samba Interactive TV.
Two years ago, we noticed that Samba TV wasn't on all Sony TVs at the time we tested them. A Sony spokesperson tells us that some models may not launch with Samba TV, but may be added later. If so, you should receive a notice giving you the option to cancel the Samba TV service.
If you agree, you'll see options to View Data, which is Vizio's ACR technology. Vizio explains how it's used and gives you the option to decline or accept it. The same goes for activity data, which tracks and sends data about how you interact with SmartCast and apps. This is used to make program recommendations and deliver targeted advertisements within some of the apps. If you reject it, you will not be able to stream audio or video with SmartCast.
On previous Vizio TVs, the controls were located under Management & Privacy. Even on older sets, the controls were under System, then Reset and Manage. And instead of View Data, you may need access to Smart Interactivity for these controls.
James K. Willcox
I've been a tech journalist for more years than I'm willing to admit. My specialties at CR are televisions, streaming media, audio and television and broadband services. In my spare time, I build and play guitars and basses, ride a motorcycle and enjoy sailing, hobbies that I still don't know how to combine safely.
How do I turn off the snooping feature on my smart TV? ›
After an Android or Google TV has been set up, you can limit the data it collects for targeted advertisements. On 2022 Google TVs, click the Settings button on the remote > Privacy > Ads. There you can reset the advertising ID, or delete the advertising ID data.Can you disable smart TV features? ›
For those who don't have the option to sever their smart TV from the Internet, there's a second method for dumbing down a smart TV: find the ACR setting and turn it off. ACR goes by different names depending on which company built your smart TV.Can someone watch me through my smart TV? ›
The FBI says many smart TVs are unsecured, making them vulnerable to hackers. If they can take it over, they could turn it off and on, raise the volume or activate the camera to watch you. In a worst-case scenario, the FBI claims, hackers could stalk you through your bedroom TV's camera and microphone.How to stop Samsung TV from listening? ›
- Navigate to Home > Menu > Settings > All Settings.
- Go to General & Privacy > Accessibility.
- Select Voice Guide Settings and disable Voice Guide.
Some newer smart TVs are equipped with a built-in camera, but many are not. It really depends on the model. If your smart TV has facial recognition or video chat features, chances are it has a camera. If it does, you should be able to find the lens if you look closely at the edges of the screen.Where is the hidden camera on my smart TV? ›
How Do I Locate the Cameras and Microphones on a Smart TV? Cameras on Smart TVs are often found at the upper edges of the TV, on the bezels. A small circle for the lens usually denotes these cameras. If the unit has thin bezels, these cameras are hidden within this location, and usually are popped out when needed.How do I restrict my smart TV? ›
- From the Android TV Home screen, scroll up and select Settings . If you don't see this option, scroll down.
- Scroll down to “Personal,” and select Security & Restrictions. Create restricted profile.
- Set a PIN. ...
- Choose which apps the profile can use.
- When you're done, on your remote, press Back.
YES – Both your Android smartphone and your TV have Miracast technology. If both Android smartphone and your TV feature Miracast technology, then you are able to wirelessly pair them.Can a neighbor connect to my TV? ›
Hi, If your neighbors share a wifi network with you then they will be able to cast or control your cast devices.How can I tell if I'm being spied on? ›
- Unfamiliar Applications. ...
- Your Device is 'Rooted' or 'Jailbroken' ...
- The Battery Is Draining Fast. ...
- Your Phone Is Getting Very Hot. ...
- Unusually High Data Usage. ...
- Strange Activity In Standby Mode. ...
- Issues With Shutting Down the Phone. ...
- Odd SMS Messages.
How do I stop my TV from spying on me? ›
I recommend you access these platforms with a streaming device like Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, or a Fire TV stick. That way, you'll get the same features as a smart TV — just without the spying. Using a VPN with your streaming device will add more security.How do I disable listening devices? ›
- Navigate to Settings Select.
- Google > Account Services > Search, Assistant & Voice > Voice.
- Select Voice Match and, finally, toggle off “Hey Google”
If the hidden camera is living streaming video, you may be able to see it on the local Wi-Fi network. Software, like Nmap for computers, or apps like Fing for iOS and Android devices will scan whatever Wi-Fi network your computer, smartphone or tablet is connect to and list the devices.Can a smart TV without a camera be hacked? ›
No, some smart TVs do not have a camera or a microphone. However, these TVs may still be controlled by a smart device on the same network. Can a smart TV be hacked? Smart TVs can be hacked by malicious people as long as the hacker is on the same network and the settings are not secure enough.Do all smart TVs have cameras in them? ›
Smart TVs may contain a camera, which can be found on the top edge of the TV. These TVs may also include microphones or collect viewing data. The options to turn off each of these features typically reside in the settings menu.Can a TV be used as a spy camera? ›
Some TVs have in-built cameras, while others need to be tweaked to function as a camera screen. If you have an internet connection, you can improvise your TV screen to become a camera. What is this? You can convert your TV screen to a camera provided the TV input and camera output match by using a USB or HDMI cable.Can someone connect to my TV without Wi-Fi? ›
Screen mirroring that uses wireless display technology like Miracast actually creates a direct wireless connection between the sending device and the receiving device. Therefore, no Wi-Fi or internet connection is required to mirror your phone screen onto your smart TV.How can someone cast to my TV? ›
- From your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Home app.
- Tap the left hand navigation to open the menu.
- Tap Cast screen / audio and select your TV.
Asking your neighbour to turn down their TV can feel awkward, but it could be a simple solution to the problem. If this doesn't work, then it's worth considering talking to their landlord or reporting your neighbour to the council.
How do I stop my neighbors TV from hearing? ›
- Add a rug or two. ...
- Invest in a white noise machine and earplugs. ...
- Incorporate more furniture. ...
- Invest in some sound-reducing curtains. ...
- Utilize a door draft stopper. ...
- Speak with your neighbors. ...
- Offer suggestions to them.
- Change your password. How can you stop neighbors from using your wireless internet? ...
- Update your router's firmware. It's important to update your router's firmware to keep its security up to date. ...
- Hide your SSID. ...
- Choose a router that supports WPA3. ...
- Use a VPN.
|Tool Name||Best For|
|mSpy||Monitoring chats, photos, videos, and location of Android and iOS devices.|
|XNSPY||View photos, videos, and social media chats on your kids' android smartphone.|
|eyeZy||Feature-heavy cell phone spying app for Parents and Employers.|
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on Biometrics and security.
- Tap Install unknown apps.
- Check if any toggle switch button is enabled.
How to use an audio jammer to block a listening device
- Speak more softly.
- Have the conversation closer to the audio jammer.
- Turn up the volume on the audio jammer.
Use Several Listening Device Detectors
A radiofrequency detector can scan for transmitters. Turn off all wireless devices, including smartphones and routers, then slowly and carefully move the bug detector around your home. Anything that's broadcasting a radio signal will be found.
It's also a common misconception that a phone can be hacked or that someone can listen to your phone calls just by knowing your phone number. This is not possible and is completely false. You can read more information here.Can TV record conversations? ›
No, the feature is only turned on when the user activates it. The voice recognition feature of the TV is easily activated or deactivated by the user.How do you stop your new TV from tracking what you watch? ›
To turn this off, go to your TV's Settings > Preferences > then scroll to the “Right to Privacy Settings.” Turn off the setting labeled “Collect App and Over-the-Air Usage Data.” You can also turn off Interest-based ads in this section.How do I stop random people connecting to my TV? ›
- Deny Permission. ...
- Secure your Network. ...
- Disable Connections. ...
- Block with Router Settings. ...
- Solution #1: Block Bluetooth Pairing Requests on Your TV. ...
- Solution #2: Turn Off Nearby Sharing on Your Devices. ...
- Solution #3: Disable Screen Mirroring on the SmartThings App.
How do I make my smart TV private? ›
- Head to Settings and scroll down to a tab labeled Initial setup.
- Unchecking them all and clicking proceed should stop them from collecting your information.
If you want to turn off location tracking on Android apps, open the Settings app on your Android device and go to the Location option. You can turn location tracking off here.How do I stop device tracking? ›
- Swipe down from the top of the screen so that you see your Quick Settings menu, and long-press on the Location icon — or swipe down, tap the Settings icon, and choose “Location.”
- You're now on the Location page. Find the “Use location” feature at the top and toggle it off.
- On your Android device, open the Chrome app .
- To the right of the address bar, tap More. Settings.
- Tap Privacy and security.
- Tap Do Not Track.
- Turn the setting on or off.
Press and hold the Power button on your phone. Edit controls. To remove a device, tap the check box next to the device name.Do smart TVs have a camera in them? ›
Smart TVs may contain a camera, which can be found on the top edge of the TV. These TVs may also include microphones or collect viewing data. The options to turn off each of these features typically reside in the settings menu.How can I make my TV discreet? ›
- On an Electric Lift.
- Behind Curtains.
- In a Gallery Wall.
- Inside an Armoire.
- Behind Artwork.
- Behind Sliding Barn Doors.
- Behind a Vintage Map.
- Flush Against the Wall.
If your neighbor is on the same WiFi channel as you, the devices can connect to each other. If you can see their TV screen through the window, you can connect and project. Feels kind of creepy.