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Guide: How to turn off Smart TV tracking (ACR)

08 Feb 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

Your Smart TV is most likely using automatic content recognition (ACR) to spy on your viewing habits, regardless of what you are watching. Here is how to turn off ACR and other types of tracking systems.

Turn off ACR on your TV

Vizio got caught but most Smart TVs track your viewing habits in very detailed ways. Manufacturers must ask for your permission first but it is often buried deep into the terms and conditions. Your user data is used for targeted advertisement, content recommendations, and other things. It is also sometimes shared with third parties.

Consumer Reports reports that all top five Smart TV brands in the US use ACR (automatic content recognition). Here is how to turn ACR off. While we are at it, we may as well turn off voice recording in your living room and other questionable practices (remember to do it on your smartphone, too)


LG

Recent LG Smart TVs with webOS:
Settings -> All Settings -> General -> About This TV -> User Agreements -> turn off ‘Viewing Information’ and ‘Personalized Advertising’ and ‘Voice Information’.

Older LG Smart TVs with NetCast:
Settings -> Options -> turn off LivePlus


Samsung

Recent Samsung Smart TVs with Tizen:
Settings -> Support -> Terms & Policies -> turn off ‘Viewing Information Services’ and ‘Interest Based Advertising’ and ‘Voice Recognition Services’ (Nuance)

While you are at it, you may also want to disagree to ‘Online Remote Management’.

Older Samsung Smart TVs with Smart Hub:
Smart Hub -> Settings -> Support -> Terms & Policy -> turn off ‘SyncPlus and Marketing’ and ‘Voice Recognition Services’ (Nuance)


Sony

Sony Android TVs:
Settings – Initial Setup -> agree to Sony Bravia policy -> turn off Samba TV

Also go to Settings -> About -> Ads -> turn off 'Ads Personalization'.

You may also need to go to the Apps -> locate ‘Samba Services Manager’ -> clear cache, force stop, and disable it.

Chromecast is built-in so you must deactivate data collection here, too:
Google Home app (on your smartphone) -> Menu -> select your TV from Devices -> click the three dots -> Settings -> turn off ‘Send Chromecast device usage data and crash reports’

If you own one of Sony’s non-Android TVs you may also check to see if Samba TV is running.


Other Android TVs

Other Android TVs do not typically use Samba TV but you can follow the other steps outlined in the above section for Sony Android TV.


Roku

Recent Roku TVs:
Settings -> Privacy – Smart TV Experience –> turn off ‘Use Information for TV Inputs’ -> Advertising -> check the ‘limit ad tracking’ box

The same approach should work for Roku streaming players but you cannot completely disable data collection.


Vizio

Recent Vizio Smart TVs with SmartCast:
System -> Reset & Admin -> turn off ‘Viewing Data’

Chromecast is built-in so you must deactivate data collection here, too:
Google Home app (on your smartphone) -> Menu -> select your TV from Devices -> click the three dots -> Settings -> turn off ‘Send Chromecast device usage data and crash reports’

Older Vizio TVs:
System -> Reset & Admin -> turn off ‘Smart Interactivity’ or ‘Viewing Data’


Keep them out

So, what know? Make sure these settings remain off even after the next software update that sometimes prompt you to once again agree to terms and conditions.

And tell your friends and family about it...

- Source: Consumer Reports, CNET, manufacturers



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