Do Smart TVs Have Cameras In Them?

Photo of remote and tv

With big data and AI using every search term to market better, the next logical step of privacy invasion is to be inside our living rooms. But don’t break out the tin foil hats just yet, as you may not have a TV with this built-in feature. 

So when you ask if your smart TV has a camera in it, consider the following: Not all smart TVs have cameras in them. You can find this information out by checking out the manufacturer’s details. Some more advanced models include cameras.

In the rest of this article, we will dig into common concerns behind owning a TV with a built-in camera. We will also address why you may not have to be concerned. 

You are Not Crazy 

If you are searching for this article, chances are you are (or already have) purchased a TV with a camera. Given that Google records your voice data, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. 

Northeastern University’s 2019 study reports that your TV sends data to advertisement companies like DoubleClick, which Google owns. Even worse, a 2018 Consumer Reports study revealed that some of these TVs had security issues. New Jersey sued Vizio TVs in 2017 for a $700 thousand settlement which confirmed the need for companies needing permission before gathering data.

If someone tells you that you are crazy about data collection and televisions, throw those name-callers a couple of these stats to them. 

Five Ways You Can Be Confident Your Smart TV Isn’t At Risk

With more TVs than ever having cameras and microphones with facial recognition and voice commands, it’s difficult to avoid them. Assuming all other televisions exploded (for some reason), we will go through different ways you can ensure your TV is secure. 

Change Your Default Security Settings

A big mistake that people make with new electronics comes from relying on default security settings. Admin passwords usually aren’t too complicated. Many of them are the word “password.”

After setting up your smart TV, be sure that you have a unique and complex password. Make sure it is difficult to guess and doesn’t come from any part of your life. Please avoid birthdays, dog’s names, and social security numbers.

Keep Your Security Patches Up To Date

Smart TVs, cameras or not, need to go through regular updates to ensure they meet current security standards. While there are some cases where updates can compromise security, they do the opposite for the most part. 

Software updates are usually in response to security flaws in their system. By following the TV manufacturer’s schedule, you ensure your TV stays secure. 

Check The User Agreement

Video chat with your overseas family is excellent, but it isn’t great if they use that data for nefarious purposes. The best user agreements have a detailed privacy policy dictating what they do with the collected information. 

Also, you are required to consent to the collection of data in most locations. Check with your state’s laws on websites like senate.gov

Disable Your Camera

If you want to continue to connect to the internet but don’t want your camera on, you can turn them off in the user settings. Typically, you can access this information using your tv remote. Look for the cog that symbolizes settings. 

If your TV’s camera doesn’t have an off switch, that might lead you to more desperate measures. 

Cover Your Camera With A Piece Of Tape

In the modern era of technology, sometimes you can’t use a technical approach. Thankfully, no camera can see through some good old-fashioned tape. 

Make sure the tape isn’t any of your heavy-duty stuff. Sticky tape that is hard to remove may require extra muscle, which could lead to you damaging your TV. Stick with electrical tape if possible. 

Why Do Smart TVs Have Cameras? 

Smart TVs have cameras for two primary reasons:

  • To allow you to communicate with your family via video chat (similar to your smartphone or tablet).
  • To utilize a combination of automatic content recognition software and voice recognition to pull up your preferences.

Automatic content recognition is when the television’s camera recognizes your face and uses that knowledge to pull up streaming services with your TV preference. In combination with voice recognition, the system can allow you to access your preferences without relying on a standard remote. 

Final Thoughts

If you like to have a camera and microphone for some occasions, the solutions above will work for you. Don’t enjoy your TV company having potential access to your living room through a camera? You may be better off without one. 

The moral of this story is to keep your technology companies on their toes. You own data about yourself. You should always have the opportunity to say no to the collection, even if it pulls up your TV shows a little faster

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