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Smart TV Tracking You? Here's How To Stop It From Spying On You

8 February 2017, 6:10 am EST By Vincent Lanaria Tech Times
Your smart TV tracking you isn't really a big surprise, but that doesn't mean it's OK. Here are a few ways to stop it from spying on you and keeping tabs on your viewing habits.  ( Adam Berry | Getty Images )

Your smart TV is spying on you.

Sounds like a bad tagline from a B-movie, but it's real — for most TVs, at least.

Recently, Vizio got caught tracking their customers on more than 11 million sets without their consent, and as a result, it had agreed to cough up $2.2 million to settle the charges. Not only that, but it can no longer keep tabs on users unless it gets clear permission from them.

That pretty much straightens things out, right? Well, for Vizio TV owners, it sort of does, but for the others, there's still a ways to go.

Here's what you can do to steer clear of all the hubbub:

Get A Set-Top Box Or Dongle

There are many set-top boxes and dongles to choose from that can give you your internet-streaming fix, from Netflix movies and shows to YouTube videos, and they're arguably a whole deal better than smart TVs.

First off, they typically have more features to offer. Second, they have better interfaces, making them easier to use. Last but not least, they are more affordable than a top-of-the-line smart TV.

Sure, some streaming devices also track viewing habits, but users often have more control on them.

Replace Your Smart TV With A 'Dumb' TV

A "dumb" TV won't have the know-how to spy on you and collect data. That's mainly because it can't connect to the internet.

In this case, that's a good thing. If you mix this up with a streaming device, then you wouldn't even need to spend a day without Netflix.

Needless to say, it's a lot cheaper than a smart TV too.

Turn Off Wi-Fi

If you already have a smart TV, then the obvious solution is turn off Wi-Fi. That essentially turns it into an ordinary TV, and by extension, that means there's no way for it to send data to companies.

Wait For Other Companies To Get Slapped With The Same Restrictions

There's also the option to just wait for every brand out there that makes viewer-tracking smart TVs to get the same treatment as Vizio, but that's not really a viable option, as other manufacturers may have to make the same or worse blunders that Vizio did before this happens.

A bit of a long shot, but still, it could happen.

Grab A Vizio Smart TV

Seems counterintuitive, but purchasing a Vizio smart TV could actually be a good idea. Considering that the company has been ordered to turn off tracking by default and that it now has to explicitly get your permission before it can collect data, its TVs may arguably be a great buy now.

If you decide to go with this route, or if you're a Vizio TV owner left with no other choice, here's what you need to know to stop it from spying on you, coming straight from the horse's mouth:

Step 1: Push the Menu button on your remote or open the HDTV Settings app.

Step 2: Go to System.

Step 3: Choose Reset & Admin.

Step 4: Look for Smart Interactivity and press the right arrow to set it to Off.

Note: New Vizio TVs running the SmartCast system have their tracking set to Off by default.

That's basically all there is to it to stop your smart TV from spying on you, but there are more ways too, including buying a model that has a more accessible option to turn off tracking.

With all said and done, what do you think of the list above? Drop by our comments section below and let us know.

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