There’s a simple reason why your new smart TV was so affordable: It’s collecting and selling your data

black friday shopping target tvs

  • The vast majority of televisions available today are “smart” TVs, with internet connections, ad placement, and streaming services built in.
  • Despite the added functionality, TV prices are lower than ever — especially from companies like TCL and Vizio, which specialize in low-cost, high-tech smart TVs.
  • There’s a simple reason that smart TV prices are so low: some TV makers collect user data and sell it to third-parties, which can offset the cost.

Massive TVs with razor-thin frames, brilliant image quality, and streaming services built-in are more affordable than ever thanks to companies like Vizio and TCL.

If you want a 65-inch 4K smart TV with HDR capability, one can be purchased for below $500 — a surprisingly low price for such a massive piece of technology, nonetheless one that’s likely to live in your home for years before you upgrade.

But that low price comes with a caveat most people don’t realize: Some manufacturers collect data about users, then sell that data to third-parties. That data can include what type of shows you watch, which ads you watch, your approximate location, and more. 

TCL P-series, Roku TV ad

A recent interview on The Verge’s podcast with Vizio CTO Bill Baxter did a great job illuminating exactly how this works.

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