Televisions have come a long way since the introduction of the giant plasma TVs everyone seemed to have in their living room. In recent years, the technology used with TVs has advanced drastically, integrating popular streaming services and internet capabilities. What’s really intriguing about this fact is that as TVs are getting smarter, they are getting cheaper as well. How could a technologically superior product cost less than its older relatives? As it turns out, these smart TVs are collecting vital data and selling it to third party companies. Key information such as the types of shows you watch, the type of ads you watch, as well as your geographic location are sold to these companies to recoup the lost revenue from selling these TVs at such a low price. A smart 65-inch TV with HDR capabilities costs roughly $500, a price that would have been nearly double only a few years ago.
This begs the question, is the cheaper price really worth it? Would consumers rather pay more for their privacy or do they not care at all? I think that this topic introduces a slippery slope that a lot of companies are on right now when it comes to data. Most of the controversy over data comes from social media platforms like Facebook or smartphones, but few think of their TV when it comes to valuable data. In fact, just last year Vizio had to pay the State of New Jersey because they were collecting data without the TV owners permissions. If this is happening with devices like smartphones and TVs, what other devices could be “watching” us?
Is the reality of data-hungry companies really the future? Is this a fair tradeoff to have access to such get technology? Would you pay more for the same TV just because it wouldn’t share your data? Personally, I don’t really mind if the data about what I watch is shared with other companies. However, as the integration of these devices deepens and more data about the consumer is collected, perhaps the consumer should be allowed to decide.