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


Many of those have Ethernet and/or WiFi, but I’d expect they’re more tolerant of not being connected. The typical usage involves connection to a PC, and the Ethernet may just be there for integration with a Crestron system.


Yes, I think that’s generally the case. The networking is there as a more modern equivalent to the RS232 serial ports they used to have, for system integration.

My projector has an Ethernet jack for that reason, but doesn’t complain if it’s not connected (and almost certainly doesn’t bother spying on you if you do connect it).


I never owned a TV before and I’m in my mid-thirties. The only reason I bought a new smart TV was because I wanted to watch 4K movies and I finally have the money to throw around. I also wanted to play my old PlayStation games, as in PS1.

I paid $900 on sale for 55in LG Smart TV and found out finally what a privacy nightmare Smart TVs were. I was promptly mocked by Best Buy employees for not knowing and told to just give up on the idea of privacy it doesn’t exist.

I call bulshit, and nearly returned to the TV to make the point the TV companies that they can go fuck themselves. No one but me has a right to see what is showing on my TV. It’s beyond invasive what they are doing now. They have no right to do this but no one in Congress has a spine to call them on it.

People keep saying all the time well just vote with your wallet. In reality nothing actually works that way. Once somebody has figured out they can monetize something they will keep pushing it until they get money out of it, because people are stupid and acquiesce to evil for convenience every time. This is what makes capitalism actually dangerous, the people that have the money to make money know that they can keep making money because eventually good gives up and people stop trying to fight back.

In the case of me I kept the TV because I found out fortunately just by chance LG is probably the most reasonable of all the assholes. I cannot use any of the features on my TV because every feature has its own separate user agreement that I have to agree to and I refuse to agree to any of them. I got a Chromecast Ultra to stream 4K video, and I only cast things to the TV, and use the HDMI ports to watch dvds, and the Antenna in with an RF modulator box for the PS1.

I will never use the apps built into the TV, I will never have TV service to the TV. I will never use my voice to control the TV. And I sure as hell will never enable suggested viewing or any of the other stupid shit that they put on this that I am forced to agree to give them my viewing habits to use.

I can’t believe it is legal to produce devices this violating. I will never buy another TV after this. When this breaks- or if I find out it is spying on me despite every effort to stop it because I never paid for this invasion of my privacy- I will take it to LG’s offices, and throw it straight through their fucking window.

You think I joke LG? It WILL be going through your office windows, invading YOUR privacy, if it ever invades mine!

I want a bill that is the opposite of the dmca passed right now that outlaws this kind of shit and every technology that harvests personal data unannounced in the United States. I am sick of being monopolized and violated by everything around me without my knowledge or my consent. Its like being digitally stalked. Its wrong!


But you did not return it, voting with your wallet.

I don’t mean to criticise you, but your post actually proves a point: manufacturers can get away with spying on their customers. And even if some people return the TV, that probably won’t change much as long as the majority don’t. LG and others can afford to lose a few customers if that means they can fleece the others.

I also hear the same sentence that “privacy is dead” regularly. It reminds me of “there is no alternative” and indeed we should collectively worry about losing alternatives.


Sure sure, capitalism.

Except if this weren’t a market failure, you would have SOMEONE selling a 55 inch dumb tv, placed prominently next to Samsung’s 55 inch smart TV in the store.

Fact: drag the CEO of the next company to have a data breach out back and shoot them, and suddenly this problem goes away everywhere. No need to harm the other stakeholders from that executive decision.

Also fact: don’t do that. It WOULD work, but don’t

As for why Vizio doesn’t sell a dumb tv next to their smart TV: dumb TV’s are more responsive, and work better. They wouldn’t be ABLE to sell smart TVs if they also sold equivelant similarly priced dumb tvs


As cool as pihole is, it’s becoming part of the problem. Pihole is run by a very rare 1% of the 1% - people who are aware of their privacy issues AND those who have the technological abilities to do something about it. When you run pihole (or similar hi-tech privacy tool) you are giving up on the societal approach to fixing the problem for everyone.

For example, I can run NoScript successfully because I can easily deal with sites that require extra scripts to deliver their content. That means I stopped caring about the privacy of others, because I selfishly solved the problem for myself. But most people can’t or won’t be able to apply my solutions, so they’re forced to put up with them. And as I’ve solved my own issues, I’ve removed myself from the small pool of people who might actually care enough to fight this. I suspect the same is true of most of the rest of us.

I have to hope my occasional donation to the EFF helps. But so far, the only thing they’ve been able to do is to offer other weak tools like Privacy Badger.


Most computers have an HDMI out these days. Hook one up to your TV and you’ll have all the streaming services you could want. If a firmware update does become available, connect your network to your TV, install the update, and disconnect your TV from the network.


There’s also something to be said for simply not having a TV. I know I’m in a very small minority, in that I just don’t like TV and don’t want to own one—but it does have the benefit that I don’t have to be concerned about lack-of-privacy from a TV. But as you say, it means I’ve solved my own issues apart from society, though in a different way.


Except that, in my experience, the people who don’t apply these solutions tell me that privacy is dead, that I am an idiot for not buying the latest chinese phone, want me to use google pay, send me link requiring to use a social account and happily tag my face on Facebook. So my sympathy is running thin.


Came here to say the same (and thought that I ought to check if it had already been said).
The Dell 4K screens seem very nice and are less reflective that TVs so less reflections than on a normal TV,
They are more expensive than the a standard TV though


You have a point there- except I did learn what the thing is capable of, and specifically how to disable the “smart” parts that spy on me. Hence, it should not be, therefore, I don’t definitely need to return it. Furthermore even if I wanted to there is no way for me to get a large working TV that’s not smart anymore unless I visit a junkyard.

I would like to agree with the premise of just taking the CEOs of these crony companies out back and removing them from the market by force, but I cant advocate for that, its wrong. I wish there was a way to just walk unto their offices, pick them up, carry them down to the dumpsters, and throw them in with the trash to kick them out, but even that is implausible.

I just want this new economy of digital stalking to end.
I can’t believe in the age of trump and even before what America seems to allow.


You know what they could do to lower the price? Have it phone home with information about what you are watching and then Dell could sell that to marketers.


That is exactly my point, actually. We get told that capitalism offers more choices and there is that.


As mentioned elsewhere the ubiquity of distributed WiFi by folks like AT&T, Xfinity, Charter & other providers means a device could be supplied with a certificate and profile to try to access these semi-public networks.

To say nothing of the availability of cheap cellular modems.


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