Vizio exec: we'd have to charge a premium on "dumb" TVs to make up for the money we'll lose by not spying on you


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/11/telescreens-r-us.html


#2

How about buy a smart tv but don’t connect it to your network at all? Seems like an easy solution. I dont know, i have a dumb tv so its something i’m not very familiar with.


#3

There’s no law requiring you to connect your TV to your Wifi or ethernet network. Air gapping is still an effective security measure.


#4

But the TV’s nag more and more about lack of connectivity and, “You should check for updates” everytime you turn it on, instead of just showing the picture you wanted to see.


#5

I’d be happy to pay a bit more for a dumb TV, and not even for privacy reasons – I don’t like that the apps on these platforms are often extraordinarily shitty, and very rarely updated. I’d much rather just plug in my own system like a Roku or an Xbox, so I can control how I use these services.

I was very happy with Vizio’s 2016 displays; they had Google Cast built in, and nothing else. It was perfect. Then they updated it with all this extra crap, started tracking all kinds of stuff, etc. It’s just disappointing. If I’m spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a display, I should be able to decide what’s on it.


#6

Hit me up if you know how to jailbreak a tv. I’m interested.


#7

They sold me a 38" dumb tv for $135. I’d call his bluff.


#8

My parents tried that - they got a Smart TV and didn’t hook it up to a network, and found that even without that, it was constantly trying to second-guess the resolution and aspect ratio of incoming video from their cable connection, changing when a commercial plays, and then not switching back afterwards, resulting in everything else being stretched and/or cut off. I gave them my older “Dumb” TV (Dynex’s last LCD TV product, it’s still a better TV than most of what’s on the market.) and then the video just worked.

I bought myself a new 60" 4K Dumb TV at Costco, and it also works perfectly - admittedly I don’t have cable, just a PC and game system that it’s hooked up to, but it’s never had a problem. Everyone I know who has a “Smart” TV and cable is constantly having issues though.


#9

“Smart” TVs piss me off to no end. I just want a fucking big panel with inputs.

I decide what goes in, and fuck you if anything comes out.

That said, if the price of a dumb TV has to be more to make up for the manufacturers of 1984 profit loss, I’ll pay it.

Just make the fucking thing.


#10

I bought a ‘dumb’ 55" 4K RCA screen a year ago … quality is meh , but I’m quite happy with a 4K M-BOX player and Chromecast 4K I have hooked up to it. Half the pre-loaded apps on a Smart TV are for subscription services I have no use for and as long as the CEC works, it is fairly simple to hop around devices/inputs.

Also, apps change, providers come and go - had Crave TV for only a month because none of my hardware (aside from a proper computer) could access the service … Maybe a Roku would have worked but I’ve already bought my media player and won’t be playing that game… you can’t win.


#11

Hm, i wonder it possible for a device manufacturer try to ping home with small chunks of data even if its locked out of a wifi connection. I can see them trying this if they thought they could get away with it


#12

I am just kind of floored at the honesty and transparency that the reason they are pushing “smert” tvs is because of the downstream revenue from user monetization. And I guess that their customers for that revenue stream isn’t the purchaser of the device…


#13

It would need a connection that can transmit data back to whatever device is connected to the network. With WiFi disabled this is possible now that many HDMI cables contain an Ethernet path, but that depends on the graphics card in your PC having said Ethernet path enabled, which should be configurable.


#14

Presumably in addition to the revenue streams offered by ‘smart’ features, these features require additional maintenance, which means that they’ll become ‘obsolete’ more quickly as the software eventually outstrips the hardware. If you only rely on your tv to display the picture you get from other sources (dvr, blu-ray player, apple tv/roku, etc), you would not need to upgrade it as frequently.


#15

Still needs some kind of layer 1 connectivity. No network, no communication.

Granted, the pop-ups and nag screens are deliberately annoying and they probably purposefully disable other functionality as a deterrent.


#16

More to the point, would the TV manufacturers be willing to offer an extra-cost version of their TV sets with no surveillance features, and see what fraction of their customer base buys them?


#17

My Roku remote has 3 buttons that don’t work because somebody’s MBA degree failed when predicting the watching habits of the american public, and they can’t be reprovisioned into something useful because Roku makes an extra 3 cents to hard code them.


#18

Vizio is dealing with a class action lawsuit from a couple years ago when they were caught sampling pixels from what was being displayed, and bundling that with other metadata to marketers. The offending feature is called Smart Interactivity. They could compare the pixel samples to know what shows, commercials, etc you watched.

Vizio is way worse than Samsung and Lucky Goldstar.

One researcher found that the data stream included the name of the file from the USB stick he had the TV play! I recall he fed it some made up video file names like ‘midget_porn.mp4’ just to confirm what he was seeing.



#19

How about we figure out where the set phones home, and block those outgoing attempts at your home network firewall?


#20

And when you figure it out, you can go help my mother set up her network too.