How to Stop Your TV From Tracking Everything You Watch

How to Stop Your TV From Tracking Everything You Watch
Photo: Proxima Studio, Shutterstock

If I told you that your TV watches everything you do, in the name of data collection and advertisements, it likely wouldn’t shock you. It’s 2022, after all; privacy is all but dead. Still, it’s not cool — so how do you stop your smart TV from tracking what you watch, so you can go back to the days of watching the Super Bowl or playing video games in peace?

How does your TV track what you watch?

Meet ACR: This technology, short for automatic content recognition, allows your smart TV to watch what you watch, identify what you watch, and use that information to both recommend new content and serve you more relevant ads. Your TV observes moments in a show or movie (sometimes including audio), and will send that information to a database to match it against a library of content.

This behaviour happens no matter what you’re watching on your TV, or through which mediums. Whether you use your smart TV apps, a Blu-Ray player, a device like an Apple TV, or a PlayStation — whatever you display on your TV, ACR can watch and report.

Most major TV manufacturers put ACR tracking in their devices. After Vizio got into hot water for not properly disclosing how much data they were stealing from customers, TV manufacturers now bake these settings into initial setup agreements. If you’re like me, you accidentally agreed to this tracking without realising it, because you were too focused on getting your TV set up to care about, blah, reading.

Anyway, if you have a smart TV, it likely has ACR tracking that you can disable. However, all TV manufacturers call this option something different. We’ll run through some of the top brands, what they call their ACR settings, and where to find them. Still, these brands change settings and settings names all the time; even if you have a TV from a company listed here, you might not find our instructions relevant.

If so, your best bet is to Google your specific TV model and where to find its ACR settings. You should find a guide from the manufacturer, or a walkthrough from someone with access to your TV and knows where to find the setting.

How to disable ACR on your smart TV

If you have an LG smart TV (like me), then your ACR settings are going to be under Live Plus. The setting sounds innocent enough, but it’s likely meant to so that you keep it enabled. You’ll find this option in All Settings > General > Live Plus. While you’re here, you might as well enable “Limit Ad Tracking” under Advertisement.

Let’s take a look at another popular TV brand, Samsung. If your smart TV is made by this tech giant, you’ll find your ACR options under Settings > Terms & Policies. Make sure to disable “Viewing Information Services” and “Internet Based Advertisements.”

Sony keeps their ACR options under Settings > System Preferences (or Device Preferences) > Samba Interactive TV. From here, disable Samba Interactive TV. In addition, you might find ad tracking features under About > Ads > Ads Personalisation.

Vizio’s latest TVs have their ACR option under Admin & Privacy > Viewing Data. Disable this option, and you’re all set. If you don’t see Viewing Data, look for Interactivity, Vizio’s old name for ACR. To limit ad tracking, head back one page to Advertising.

[Yahoo! Finance]

  

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