Some smart TVs (especially top-rated TVs) feature a camera and microphone, making it easier for users to make video calls to their families. The microphone often enables voice recognition as well. However, smart TV owners have been asking where the camera is on my smart TV. This question stems from the fact that hackers can get into some smart TVs and use the camera.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Smart TVs may contain a camera, which can be found on the top edge of the TV.
  • These TVs may also include microphones or collect viewing data.
  • The options to turn off each of these features typically reside in the settings menu.

Where Is the Camera on a Smart TV?

The camera may be positioned in a similar location to the front-facing camera on a smartphone. Consumers can find the camera on a smart TV by looking for a little circle where the lens is situated, typically on the top edge of the TV. By putting the camera on the top of the screen, brands ensure that the camera can see the user, who will presumably sit directly in front of the TV given the opportunity. Additionally, the camera should see a relatively broad view of the opposite side of the room.

What Other Aspects of Smart TVs Collect Data?

The microphone on a smart TV may use your voice control to gather more information about you as a viewer. For example, every time you tell a smart assistant to do something, your voice is sent to a server to search for the proper action. Many brands state that they do not save this information on the server. However, someone nefarious can easily hack the microphone as they would the camera.

Most smart TVs also include automatic content recognition (ACR.) ACR uses data from the TV to collect information about your viewing habits. This feature works much like the recommendations on Hulu or Netflix, but it takes the data from multiple streaming services and apps. For example, researchers at Princeton and the University of Chicago found 69 percent of Roku channels and 89 percent of Amazon Fire TV channels tracked what was being watched.

How Do You Turn Off the Camera and Microphone?

TV settings typically control the camera, microphone, and ACR features. They also control things like language. So, if you discover your TV is in Spanish, you can always adjust or change the language settings to your preferred language. In one warning, the FBI recommended putting tape over the camera on your smart TV to help protect your privacy. However, that method may be unnecessary for some smart TVs with cameras that consumers may push down into the bezel. You would have to get up when you wanted to use the camera for both of these methods. You can also find additional settings for your camera under the “Settings” menu.

More smart TVs contain microphones compared to smart TVs with cameras, including many of those TVs with cameras. To use the microphone, you usually need to activate voice control during setup and then say a voice command. These commands activate the various virtual assistants. Whether you say “Okay, Google” or “Hey, Siri,” you use one of these commands. To avoid the microphone listening for these commands, you may disable the microphone. This option, much like the camera, must be turned on during set-up, though some TVs circumvent that. However, the setting for microphones should be found in the “Settings” menu.

How Do I Protect My Viewing Data?

Viewing data collection came under the spotlight when Vizio circumvented its privacy policy to collect viewing information. To prevent your TV from collecting your viewing data, you can usually find information about the options through the “Settings” menu. Many brands place these settings under “Privacy” or “Viewing Information.” Also, don’t forget to delete your personal information before donating a TV or getting rid of it.

F.A.Q.S

Can people hack a smart TV to spy on You?

Your smart TV could be hacked if the hacker is on the same network as you. To protect your network, consider applying a password.


Can I see when the camera is turned on?

Most smart TVs with cameras do not include an indicator that the camera is on. However, some of these TVs have a camera that can be pushed down into the bezel, allowing you to block its view.


Can I tell when the Microphone is listening?

Some smart TVs have a microphone symbol that shows on the TV when it’s listening. Others have an indicator light. However, if your TV is listening through your microphone, it will typically respond to your command.



STAT: Researchers at Princeton and the University of Chicago found 69 percent of Roku channels and 89 percent of Amazon Fire TV channels tracked what was being watched. (source)

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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