February 5, 2023

Fun fact: The first Compaq portable computer was released in 1983 and sold for over $8,400 in today’s dollars. Wow, times have changed.

Still, your computer is a significant investment, and you want it to perform well for many years. Tap or click my five-minute fix to speed up your PC.

You don’t have to deal with the same types of issues as your TV, but one common question I get is what’s the best way to wipe off fingerprints and dust. These are the wipes that I buy time and time again. and These smaller wipes are perfect for glasses, phone screens, and computer monitors. love them.

Unfortunately, you have to think about tracking on your TV just as much as you do on your computer or phone. Read on to find out how you can welcome spies into your living room—and what you can do about it.

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In this illustration photo taken on July 19, 2022, the Netflix logo is seen on a TV remote in Los Angeles.
(Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

Why are TVs so cheap?

Remember the day when big flat-screen TVs were a total luxury?

TVs are now packed with tons of extras and smart features, and you can pick up top-of-the-line models for surprisingly low prices. What gives?

It’s all about data. You already know that your private information is valuable. One way to stop greedy data brokers is to remove yourself from their people search sites. Tap or click on links and instructions to get the job done.

Think about what your TV knows about you and your family. These figures make up for the low price of the new TV. Over time, such data farms recoup more money than they make on these devices.

Are you shopping for a TV? There are a lot of buzzwords and marketing jargon that will cost you more. Don’t be fooled. Here’s my shopping advice on what to skip and splurge on. Spoiler alert: choose 4K, not 8K.

Safety Tip: Are You Making This Serious WI-FI Mistake?

Is it worth it?it depends

It’s hard to do much in the digital world without being tracked, monitored, or monetized in some way. Some struggle to find a workaround, choosing to pay for extra privacy or use alternatives that focus on users rather than data mining.

Tap or click the six alternatives to Google Search.

Others raised their hands to say it’s the price we pay for the free, cheap services and devices we need to survive.

I fall somewhere in the middle. Yes, you have to accept some tracking and data collection if you want to use anything from your smart assistant to your inbox.

But you don’t have to blindly approve every collection method. As long as you’re willing to dig into your device’s settings, there’s a lot you can do to take back your privacy. Here are three quick privacy fixes you can make in minutes.

When it comes to your TV, start here.

Televisions are for sale at a large store in Chicago on February 8, 2022.

Televisions are for sale at a large store in Chicago on February 8, 2022.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images/File)

Stop your TV from spying

Many smart TVs are equipped with cameras that most people don’t realize. There’s not much you can do other than void your device’s warranty and remove it yourself. You can cover it up, but who wants to have electrical tape on their TV screen?

Start with your smart TV’s tracking features — especially Automatic Content Recognition (ACR).

What is ACR and how do I turn it off? This is a visual recognition feature that identifies each commercial, TV show or movie that airs on your TV. This includes streaming boxes, cable/wireless TVs, and even DVD and Blu-ray players.

This data is collected and used for marketing and targeted advertising purposes. If this all sounds too creepy, there are ways to turn it off. The exact method depends on your TV brand.

Vizio

On older Vizio TVs using Vizio Internet Apps (VIA), go to the TV’s system Then: Reset and manage > intelligent interaction > leave.

On Vizio Smart TVs with the newer SmartCast system, go to system > Reset and manage > view data > switch to leave.

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Samsung

On newer Samsung devices, go to set up > support > scroll down to Terms and Policies. Here you can turn leave View messaging services (Samsung’s ACR technology), Internet-based advertising (for personalized ad tracking), and voice recognition services.

On older Samsung Smart TVs, go to the TV’s Smart Center Menu > set up > support > looking for Terms and Policies > then disabled SyncPlus and Marketing. You can also disable the speech recognition service in this section.

Remember that turning off your Samsung TV’s voice recognition service will disable its voice commands.

LG

LG’s ACR technology is incorporated into its newer WebOS-based smart TV, the LivePlus.To turn off this feature, go to the set up > all settings > scroll down to General > Scroll down to the LivePlus > switch to leave.

To limit other forms of data collection on LG Smart TVs, please go back to set up > all settings > scroll down to General > about this tv > User Agreement > Switch Personalized Ads to leave.

Got Roku, Fire TV, Sony, TCL, or any brand? Tap or click here for steps to disable tracking on your TV.

Sony Bravia KD-65AF9 4K TV, taken on September 19, 2018.

Sony Bravia KD-65AF9 4K TV, taken on September 19, 2018.
(Olly Curtis/What Hi-Fi Magazine/Future via Getty Images)

More steps to keep your habits private

Here are some more tips to try if you want to minimize the impact of big data on your viewing experience.

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maintain your technical knowledge

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today. “It’s a full 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech questions for callers like you from around the country. Search it wherever you get the podcast. For your convenience, click the link below to Get the most recent episode.

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