Dig a bit deeper and you get into service provided by Samba TV and or Inscape and you can find that they're sending back frames of video in a lot of cases to track what you're watching.
This data is becoming a huge mechanism for subsidizing TV sales and the interactivity is being looked at as a huge opportunity to recoup some of the ad spend being lost via streaming and fewer 30 second spots.
With new TV's its time to view them as private as a browser (With less controls).
Or maybe at high volume it becomes negligible anyway.
This behavior is despicable and we must not accept it just because "I wouldn't connect the network cable/wifi anyway". Because one day that isn't an option and by then it is already too late.
Their userbase is almost universally clueless as to what it is these devices are doing and what the goals of Sonos, as a company, must be.
They should have been one of the good ones - and I had such enthusiasm for their products - but they have proven to be very, very antagonistic towards their users.
Imagine my surprise when it turned out only being $4 a month to remove commercials. It almost hurts my feelings knowing how little I’m worth to advertisers...
For example I would never subscribe to a service with ads, regardless of price. The Hulu tier that includes ads would have to pay me about $30/mo before I would consider switching from the ad free tier.
The number might be unrelated to ad revenue at all and they figured that was the perfect threshold between capturing the highest number of "cheaper" subscribers while also maximizing new ad-free subscribers.
Services revenue in general is where all devices are going. If you subscribe to Netflix on your smart TV, the TV maker gets comms. Again, this referral/conversion model is pretty dated. Otherwise TV maker has no incentive to pre-bundle your app (same as Windows, some Android phones, Lenovo laptops, etc).
The big one is "supports popular services out of the box" is a selling point to consumers.
Even if it boots up to a store page where you can download them all, a whingy answer for "Does it do Netflix" will drive buyers to the next TV.
I was pretty put off the first time this happened. That said, I don't even know if I looked through the settings to see if I could turn it off..
It sends audio and/or video fingerprints (not frames, for privacy and bandwidth reasons), which are matched against a fingerprint database. Whatever people see on TV is usually 10 to 60 seconds behind the real live stream at the broadcaster (which is where the reference fingerprinting happens). GeoIP data can be used to roughly deduce where the TV is located, in order to better filter out false positives out of multiple matches (e.g. in the US where lots of programming on east/west side is just shifted by ~3 hours due to time difference).
* in theory, as a civil matter, they could make you destroy any unlicensed copies, but they would have a hard time getting criminal charges pressed, as well as proving damages from watching a TV show from an unlicensed provider vs a licensed one
It all comes down to lack of transparency/oversight and the option to exercise control as an individual.
"Advertisers like ACR data because it provides second-by-second feedback on how their ads are performing. Nielsen provides its data in 15-minute blocks, so if viewers tuned out after the first ad in a pod, the advertiser has no way of knowing. And since IP addresses are included, companies like iSpot.tv and Data + Math are able to use that information to create multi-touch attribution ratings that help advertisers understand how certain ads and placements helped move viewers through the sales funnel, from seeing the ad, to googling the product to actually buying it. It’s a lengthy process that requires a lot of data and a lot of rigor, but it’s an excellent way to prove to marketers that TV advertising actually works."
Breaking down the parent's post:
What's funny about this is that I think this is a legitimate and relatively non-evil use case.
- parent is saying that fingerprinting so the advertisers know who saw the ads is legitimate and relatively non-evil.
It all comes down to lack of transparency/oversight and the option to exercise control as an individual.
- parent acknowledges that not telling the user and not making it configurable can be problematic.
If you consider tracking an anonymous identifier for the purposes of better marketing "spying" then I think that's a stretch. Calling out TV in particular for it is a bit silly - it's simply everywhere.
"...without their consent and without telling them about it."
Yes they are. You opt in or out when you buy the TV. They tell you about it then. You can be like most people and not read the fine print, but then don't be all surprised when someone's pulling the wool over your eyes.
If information about me or my machines is being collected without my express informed consent, that counts as spying.
Also "anonymous identifier" is a bit of an oxymoron. If the identifier is unique, then anonymity is not part of the equation.
Eventually the marginal increase in profit is less than the marginal increase in adtech cost. I wouldn't be surprised if many industries passed that point years ago. There's probably a lot of hype and hubris disguising that fact, but someone's going to make a successful business case out of cheap, low-creepiness spray-and-pray advertising.
Smart TV interfaces are almost uniformly worse than set top boxes (one or more of: bad UI, slow CPU, weird quirks, few updates) so you should avoid it anyway.
The current Apple TV (which I cite only because of familiarity) has a great UI, every major app, and robust HDMI-CEC support so you might never have to touch your TV’s remote again.
And Apple respects your privacy.
I was actually really pissed a while back because my in-laws were over and when I came home they told me "For some reason you hadn't connected your TV to the internet. We gave it your wifi password, and now it works!" Thanks. Now I have to change wifi passwords, and the power light on the TV constantly blinks because it thinks it should be connected to the internet, but isn't.
And you really believe that?
Consider that even the most trivial thing that makes Apple look bad gets leaked. If Apple was selling your private information, it would have leaked long before now. Also their financial reports show no indication of revenues that could be associated with private information marketing.
And regarding Apple - I hear this "not their business model" argument often but I see zero real life reasons why it couldn't be but we wouldn't know it. It is like saying that "John only trades tomatoes, it is impossible to him to sell cucumbers, it is not his business model". How is even related, monster corporations have multiple divisions with multiple business models, one doesn't exclude another.
PS: this is for the sake of discussion. Personally I also tend to think that Apple collects much less data than FAGM, and there were experiments that indirectly support this theory. I'm thinking about moving to Apple ecosystem but it is rather costly and will cause vendorlock. Not an easy choice.
Yes, I think most people understand this and say "selling data" as shorthand (because, for a lot of people, it's a distinction without a difference).
E.g. Some TVs will honor wifi off setting. Or alternatively setting the TV to use the Ethernet port.
Or if it needs something on the other end, set up old underclocked Raspberry Pi as a basic router/DHCP server that connects to nothing; power it with TV's USB port.
If you've got a fancy router, connect it to your network with a fixed IP and firewall deny all packets from/to its IP.
If you've got a fancy AP, set up an alternative SSID that connects to an unused VLAN or otherwise routes to nowhere.
(I'm almost astonished that advertising networks haven't switched to using raw IP addresses everywhere.)
The firewall has the same DNS block-lists as the Pi-Hole, but also has subscription lists of IPs to avoid. Most of those are spammers or malware, but can include whatever other category of malfeasance you desire.
With 5G, you will have the same problem. And I'd be very reluctant to buy anything stationary which has 5G connectivity.
1. Leave the antenna connected
2. Unplug the antenna, leave the connector unterminated.
3. Terminate the connector with ball of tinfoil.
4. Use a proper impedance matched termination.
5. Terminate with a proper impedance as close to the wifi chip as possible
5./b Also cut the antenna trace on the PCB as close to the chip as possible
Measure signal strength in all scenarios.
I specifically bought a smart TV with Roku instead of whatever software Samsung/Sony is doing for these reasons.
Yeah, exactly for their users in China.
And I would guess it's only audio fingerprinting, rather than full video.
When I noticed my Roku TV was sending something to some remote analytics or tracking server every 30 seconds whenever it was turned on, I just blocked everything coming from it.
Eventually though I factory-reset it and didn't bother connecting it to the network at all. All the on-TV apps are junk and I'd rather just use an Apple TV (which sends it's own analytics, I know).
And GDPR only requires that you opt in. So when you sign into the TV for the first time, it gives you an opt in choice and many do it. The States is less regulated but will be soon.
Edit: Also, on your first point, ACR is generally a variation of fingerprinting technology. It wouldn't be sending entire screenshots of whatever is being displayed even if it's not broadcast content, at least not in any variation I've heard of. It was the idea of uploading the entire image that I was questioning before.
And I also don't think it's easy to escape the scope of GDPR. I'm just saying companies come up with ways of being "GDPR compliant" and they've done so.
> We don’t use pre-ticked boxes or any other type of default consent.
> We use clear, plain language that is easy to understand.
> We specify why we want the data and what we’re going to do with it.
> We give separate distinct (‘granular’) options to consent separately to different purposes and types of processing.
These are of course just guidelines, but if you don't explicitly inform your users that you will be sending images of what's on the screen over the Internet, you are likely to get in trouble. (And no, a giant EULA-type wall of text probably wouldn't be sufficient)
My Sony "smart" TV has updated itself and tried to force me to use a new app
How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight
I no longer have a TV connected to the internet, I only have a local Plex connected to the TV and a Chromecast for things like Netflix.
Which is always the issue - people want a 65" TV, but they don't want to spend $6000 on it. But if they can have it for $2000 (for example) they're all over it, glossing over the mostly unobtrusive privacy invasion that goes with it.
They are in my go bag now for when I have to go last minute and get checked in
That's a far cry from relaying an audio recording of a surgical conference containing HIPAA-sensitive data.
Insurance might be interested, for one party. Or parents. Or pimps.
> The researchers also found that other smart devices including speakers and cameras were sending user data to dozens of third parties including Spotify and Microsoft.
Maybe someone can find the referenced studies to see what data is actually sent...
> other smart devices including speakers and cameras
In my perspective, these are other devices entirely, like smart speakers and those video hubs the FAANG companies produce, or maybe entrance cameras.. Some reasoning: what kind of television doesn't have speakers.
So what are the options for a consumer willing to pay for privacy? Will console manufacturers be more respectful for example? (I've considered a console to serve as a bluray player / host OS for streaming apps that also plays games).
Or are we stuck using dumb tvs and connecting out laptops to them via HDMI? (And thus no 4K iirc)
> If a "theatrical release" watermark is detected in a consumer Blu-ray Disc audio track, the accompanying video is deemed to have been sourced from a "cam" recording. If the "AACS watermark" is present in the audio tracks, but no accompanying and matching AACS key is found on the disc, then it is deemed to have been a "rip" made by copying to a second blank Blu-ray Disc.
Edit: that same page says its now a requirement for all consumer bluray players to use this tech. But I don't remember seeing those messages for years. The pirates must be winning with their methods of changing the signatures.
Don't buy a TV at all. Instead, buy a large monitor and hook it up to a computer to act as a media center.
>Or are we stuck using dumb tvs and connecting out laptops to them via HDMI? (And thus no 4K iirc)
HDMI 2.0 (2013) supports 4k/60Hz.
HDMI 2.1 is significantly more ambitious with 8/10k resolution and variable refresh rate.
Edit: I've checked with my wife who has an ad supported Kindle for over a year and keeps it in flight mode for months at a time. It never did that to her. So either Amazon changed that a long time ago, or I've believed a lie.
So not only did mine exit flight mode it somehow re-enabled updates and updated itself.
I just use a Kobo now.
I'm not saying it's ok to ignore flight mode options, but neither is the expectation to completely avoid ads when buying this very version of the Kindle.
EULAs are an entirely separate problem, though.
Kindle Voyage 1st generation, if that's relevant.
Worrying. "Flight" mode exists for a reason and should not be overridden.
Don't get me wrong the Kindle shouldn't do what it's doing but it's by no means a safety issue.
But, more importantly, it puts your phone's radio through an unusual high-power-draw situation that the phone's manufacturer may not have bothered testing for, which can make phone batteries explode that might not have otherwise ever exploded.
Oh, and also, a plane-load of people whose phones are all ranging hogs circuits on a bunch of towers at once (for no productive purpose, since the phones don't have high-enough SNR to actually communicate anything useful with any of the towers they can "see"), so the cellular service providers have politely asked the FAA to get people to not do that.
2.7 million people fly on airplanes every day.
Even if you think the vast majority of them turn their phones off, it's still a huge number of people who don't.
Was on a full plane from CA to TX a while back. During the final landing approach I heard dozens of alerts as the plane got nearer to the ground.
Nobody cared one bit.
That sounded way too low so I checked -- I think your number is US domestic flights, worldwide we have about 12.6 million daily passengers.
> The FAA did not consider changing the regulations regarding the use of cell phones for voice communications during flight because the issue is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The ARC did recommend that the FAA consult with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review its current rules.
So it seems to be the FCC that has made this decision (in consultation with the FAA it sounds like).
It's a totally different affair if you are receiving a signal by a 100 Watt transmitter at 10 Km or a signal from a 1 Watt transmitter at 5 meters distance. The 1 Watt transmitter will overpower anything in its band with great ease and any dirt on the spectral output will have the same effect in other bands. Note that most cellphones will crank up their output if they can't connect to a base station that they can receive.
Of course plane designers will still do what they can to reduce this nuisance but leaving our phone on makes it harder than it should be. Please turn your phone off or to airplane mode and consider it a very small price to pay for flying an airplane.
Yes, flight mode does matter, no it probably won't crash a plane but does it have to before you would consider following a very simple rule?
If airplanes could be brought down by turning on a cellphone you would never have been allowed to travel with one in the first place.
Yeah that's gross. Btw, Amazon does sell some cheaper ebook readers on the understanding that they will show ads. Was that the case here?
It was fairly straightforward to replace the ad images. Now it shows me cat pictures when turned off.
As others suggested: it was an app-supported Kindle indeed. So it's not like Amazon went crazy unprovoked evil or something.
What's the worst that could happen? It's not like a plane's gonna fall out of the sky - Exhibit A.
I have couple kindle paperwhites of different generations, and none of them did any unexpected update for years.
It's getting to the point where it's not even watchable. I click back to exit and maybe go back later but I have hundreds of partially watched videos I've forgotten about.
YouTube has YouTube Red so you can kill ads. Seems like either way you're going to pay.
And they're paying for that. Well, more like, and YOU'RE paying for that.
Or somebody will invent a small short-range backhaul-less 5G spoof microcell you can put next to the TV that will confuse the TV's modem into connecting to nothing.
Or just wrap the TV in a Faraday cage. But keeping the screen visible might make that tricky.
There's always been rumours that some Intel vPro CPUs have modems (and entire secondary CPUs..) built in to the chip itself.
Atom x3/x5/x7 processors have a modem in the CPU package.
I imagine disabling the modem without breaking the TV would be impossible.
Edit- my bad, it was a Hitachi. The vizio tv I have was purchased last year. However both are dumb, they have no internet capabilities at all
It makes it a bit more convenient to switch between my Roku/Switch/PC when I can push a button on the remote to have the devices ping the TV themselves.
I do prefer a dumb TV, but it doesn't have to be completely brainless.
Which is great news - they are fantastic displays, they last forever, and they behave just like a very big computer monitor.
NEC commercial displays (P461, for instance) are not expensive. I highly recommend you look into it.
The UI seems to gotten much more sluggish over the last year or two. I have a 500 Mbps internet connection, but speed tests in the TV's browser measure only 40 Mbps (on Wi-Fi or Ethernet). The TV's apps load images and data as if I'm on a 2G connection.
The Amazon and YouTube apps hang if I turn the TV off and try to resume playback later. I have to switch to two other apps and then back to Amazon to force the app to crash. Then I can launch it again. And sometimes the only way to exit the Netflix app is to power cycle the TV.
They do, but from what I understand you'll pay more for such panels. As I understand it they're intended for commercial use.
That actually sounds like the dream.
Plan on getting one with a stick PC.
I used to joke with my brother and turn his TV on/off, he went crazy thinking the TV is broke.
Type in "4k -smart" without the quotes in the search box. Use the filters on the left to narrow it down to TVs (like selecting what size you want).
In general, my last like, 5 Samsung products have been disappointing, mostly due to software, or lack there of.
I have never seen a single ad or anything remotely like it. The only thing is the remote has dedicated buttons for Amazon something and Rakuten (both not available in my country) and Netflix.
Basically create a new hidden ssid and make a new rout that goes nowhere
Then enter SSID and password into the tv
You can monitor that interface too
Stop making everything connected, or at least make it work properly without Internet access, and stop connecting devices at any cost.
But I can imagine it popular in apartment buildings. To be fair, if my TV connects to a network on its right own, I'd return it.