Vizio got busted early this week for spying on users and sharing their data without permission. But the key there is the “without permission” part, because pretty much all smart TVs are collecting and sharing some kind of data on you. And so many consumers are now asking: Can I make them stop?
Happily, the answer is “yes.” As our colleagues at Consumer Reports explain, there’s usually some way to opt out of having some or all of your personal data gathered or shared. The details, though vary a bit by manufacturer.
Vizio’s controls have changed over time, but the key here is that you’re looking for the “Smart Interactivity” feature.
On new Vizio sets that use SmartCast, you’ll need to use your mobile app to disable it:
- Open your Vizio app
- Go to Settings
- Select “Reset & Admin
- Use the slider to disable “Smart Interactivity.”
On sets that don’t use the app for control, it’s similar except you do it on the actual TV:
- Press “Menu” on your remote, or use the on-set controls to navigate to Settings
- Choose “System”
- Choose “Reset & Admin
- Highlight “Smart Interactivity”
- Press the right arrow to disable it.
Samsung’s control scheme has also changed over time. On new models:
- Open the main menu and select “Settings”
- Look for “Support”
- Scroll to “Terms & Policies
- You can separately accept or reject the terms for:
- “Viewing Information Services”
- “Voice Recognition Services”
- “Nuance Voice Recognition and Privacy Notices”
- Disable “Internet-Based Advertising.”
Consumer Reports notes that if you opt out of voice-related services, your ability to voice-control your TV will be limited, but opting out of “Viewing Information Services” will have no noticeable effects.
Meanwhile, on older models:
- Open the Smart Hub menu
- Look for “Settings
- Choose “Support”
- Look for the “Terms & Policy” sub-menu
- Choose “SyncPlus and Marketing,” then disable the feature.
Consumer Reports once again notes that turning off Voice Recognition Services will disable voice control — which, when you use it, sends your voice commands to a third party vendor.
Stop us if this sounds familiar: The way to change the settings on your LG TV depends on how old it is. On LG sets from 2015 and later, running webOS:
- Open the main menu and choose “Settings”
- Scroll down until you find “General,” select it
- Look for “About this TV”
- Choose “User Agreements”
- You can separately read and agree to or opt out of:
- “Viewing Information”
- “Personal Advertising”
- “Voice Information”
As with Samsung models, Consumer Reports notes, disabling Voice Information will limit your ability to control your TV by talking to it, but you won’t notice any change from disabling the other features.
On older LG sets:
- Go to “Settings”
- Choose “Options”
- Look for “LivePlus”
- Disable it.