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posted by janrinok on Sunday April 17 2022, @02:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-connect-them-to-anything dept.

https://www.techdirt.com/2022/04/14/its-still-stupidly-ridiculously-difficult-to-buy-a-dumb-tv/

Historically, "smart" TVs aren't always particularly smart. They've routinely been shown to have lax security and privacy standards. They also routinely feature embedded OS systems that don't age well, aren't always well designed, don't perform particularly well over time, are slathered with ads, and are usually worse than most third-party game streaming devices or video game consoles.

Yet when if you go shopping for "dumb" televisions — as in just a high quality display with a bunch of HDMI ports and not much else, you're usually going to be out of luck. There are options, but guides on this front will usually shovel you toward computer monitors (too pricey at large sizes), or business-class displays (ditto).

[...] Of course it's challenging because TV manufacturers now make more money collecting and monetizing your personal data than they do selling the actual hardware. Last year Vizio noted it made $38.4 million in one quarter just from tracking and monetizing consumer viewing and usage data. It made $48.2 million on hardware (which also includes soundbars, and other products) in that same period.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Sunday April 17 2022, @03:45AM (19 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Sunday April 17 2022, @03:45AM (#1237617)

    TV manufacturers now make more money collecting and monetizing your personal data

    Nobody sees this as wrong?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @03:54AM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @03:54AM (#1237619)

    $150 4K TV, baby!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:15AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:15AM (#1237623)

      32" curved 4k monitor for $400 here. No smarts whatsoever. Just displays the shit. Needed some tweaks Tom's Hardware suggested (factory defaults were completely tarded), and I love it.

      If I want a bigger screen, I have a VR headset for that.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:19AM (1 child)

        by RS3 (6367) on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:19AM (#1237648)

        32" curved sounds like a win. What brand / model?

        If I want a bigger screen, I have a VR headset for that.

        Great idea, and exactly what I was about to post.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @06:04AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @06:04AM (#1237661)

          Samsung UR59C. Tweaks are here [tomshardware.com].

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by MIRV888 on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:22AM (5 children)

      by MIRV888 (11376) on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:22AM (#1237649)

      I always figured they were selling the TV's at a loss to get the data.
      I'm in the 'TV never gets connected to the internet' group.
      I have a media server I watch everything thru HDMI.
      It feels very Orwellian to be monitored in your home. (I realize smart phones are already doing it.)
      Monitored not by the government, but corporations. That seems like a bad thing to me.
      The 4th amendment is #4 in for a reason.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by srobert on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:44PM (3 children)

        by srobert (4803) on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:44PM (#1237719)

        "The 4th amendment is #4 in for a reason."

        But the 4th only stops the government from snooping on you without a warrant. Nothing stops Google, Amazon, etc. from doing so, especially since you clicked on "I agree to the TOS". Didn't you read the Terms of Service? Why not? It's only 500 pages of lawyerly gibberish.
        Orwell was only partially right. He was right that developing technologies would be used to spy on citizens. But he predicted the government would be doing all of the spying. Actually government is the only entity that can reign in the totalitarian reach of corporate power. But that can only happen if "We the People" consent to the government having the authority to do it. And "We the People" have been so deeply gaslighted by corporate propaganda that that's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

        Now, go call your Congressman and tell him not to interfere with our unlimited power to serve your interest or else.
        Meanwhile, when you agree to the Terms of Service, your abuse is entirely consensual.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:27PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:27PM (#1237726)

          I would like to lead a campaign to make "TOS" officially, legally, worthless in all jurisdictions - and broadly advertise that result.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday April 18 2022, @03:09AM

          by RS3 (6367) on Monday April 18 2022, @03:09AM (#1237832)

          Being the US has become a corporatocracy, seems like Google, Amazon, Apple, MS, Meta, etc., pretty much are the government.

        • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Monday April 18 2022, @09:24PM

          by MIRV888 (11376) on Monday April 18 2022, @09:24PM (#1238027)

          Absolutely. We hand over freely what the government would need a warrant to take.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @06:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @06:03PM (#1237728)

        Because they had already added 3 by the time it occurred to anyone they needed it?

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:26AM (3 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:26AM (#1237632)

    Same mechanism brought us AM/FM radio, broadcast programming, etc. I doubt that the receivers were much subsidized in the past, but the only content they could receive was certainly advertising funded so the net effect is the same.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by dalek on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:38AM (2 children)

      by dalek (15489) on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:38AM (#1237657)

      Targeted advertising is a good thing. Please hear me out before modding me down. It's common sense to know your audience. You won't see the same ads during an NFL game as you will watching an episode of the Bachelor. It's common sense that these generally appeal to different demographics, therefore the ads shown are different. Targeted advertising has been done for decades and there's nothing wrong with it. Content producers generally researched this information by hiring companies like ACNielsen to pay people on an opt-in basis and voluntarily share this information. I have zero problem with this because it's on an opt-in basis and people control what information they share. The advertising you refer to was placed by the content distributor or the content producer, and you weren't tracked unless you opted in and voluntarily shared information. That's how advertising works on those platforms. The content distributors and producers have to pay their bills, and are providing you an ongoing service. It's reasonable that they would need advertising because you're not paying them directly, at least not in the US, and they have recurring costs to continue providing the service.

      In the case of a dumb TV, the manufacturer generally isn't going to need to provide software updates. They have no recurring costs. Even if you're getting software updates, those aren't provided perpetually. They're usually provided for a limited period of time, and the manufacturer can budget those costs and build them into the purchase price. They don't need a second revenue stream from advertising as long as they charge enough up front to cover any costs from providing software updates later on. Advertising is hyper-targeted, directed at individuals instead of demographics. People are often tracked without being aware of what they're opting in for when buying the device. EULAs aren't exactly known for being easy for people to read and understand.

      Smart TVs are totally not the same thing as the advertising for commercial AM/FM radio and over-the-air TV. Unless the service is paid for by donations and tax dollars, you're not directly paying for commercial AM/FM radio and over-the-air TV stations. They have recurring bills to pay, and advertising pays those bills. Absolutely none of that is true for smart TV manufacturers.

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      THIS ACCOUNT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @07:47AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @07:47AM (#1237678)

        Targeted advertising is a good thing. Please hear me out before modding me down. It's common sense to know your audience. You won't see the same ads during an NFL game as you will watching an episode of the Bachelor. It's common sense that these generally appeal to different demographics, therefore the ads shown are different. Targeted advertising has been done for decades and there's nothing wrong with it.

        What you describe is contextual targeting, based on content, not on the person watching the content. There's nothing wrong with that. Tracking and profiling people, like tv manufacturers apparently do, is problematic.

        Contextual targeting does work. In the Netherlands public broadcaster NPO on their websites switched from tracking to contextual targeting, and they saw their ad revenue increase [theregister.com].

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday April 17 2022, @01:50PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday April 17 2022, @01:50PM (#1237700)

        You forgot the best part of OTA updates for "smart TVs": obsolescence at the click of a mouse button. CEO needs to boost sales numbers in the coming quarter: push an update which nudges owners to buy a new TV - either by making the old one glitchy, pushing sales promos (obvious and covert) into the software, etc. Best for the people in control, that is, and that's never really been the "consumer." Consumers have a choice to consume or not, but that's nothing like having the choice of producing or not, how to produce your product, how to sell it, etc. Vape manufacturers had the option to produce a product without nicotine, not marketed to adolescents whose brains are still forming nicotine receptor pathways, etc. They had that option, but they took the other one - not because they didn't know what they were doing, but because they were willing to accept the backlash down the road to make a quicker buck before the backlash hit. Big tobacco did a quick hit-and-run on the processed food industry - if you follow the money I would expect that a lot of it pivoted to healthcare after their work was done in the grocery store aisles.

        All of this is "opt in" nobody's "making" teenagers buy nicotine vape cartridges that happen to be twice as addictive as cigarettes, nobody is making people buy processed foods that have pivoted from causing heart disease to causing diabetes (heart disease kills the customer too quickly, diabetes is chronic suffering with a much longer payback period and overall healthcare bill.) Entertainment delivery devices are small potatoes by comparison.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RedGreen on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:27AM (2 children)

    by RedGreen (888) on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:27AM (#1237633)

    "Nobody sees this as wrong? "

    Of course some people do, but most are sheep that just have to have the next new shinny no matter the costs to them or their privacy. If enough people spoke with the wallet then the parasite corporations would change their methods of doing business, but then we are back to the sheeple and their need for the next new shinny toy that they just have to have because their anti-social media influencer told them so..

    --
    "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by RS3 on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:23AM (1 child)

      by RS3 (6367) on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:23AM (#1237650)

      Nobody sees this as wrong?

      I'm afraid your sheeple analysis is spot-on. The people who really need to see it as wrong are called Senators and Representatives of the corporatocracy. [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RedGreen on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:51AM

        by RedGreen (888) on Sunday April 17 2022, @05:51AM (#1237659)

        "The people who really need to see it as wrong are called Senators and Representatives of the corporatocracy."

        Never going to happen the bribe money or campaign contributions as they like too call them are to strong an incentive to keep the parasite corporation in control of it all. The best that can be done is to keep yourself safe and out of their grasp. I have been online for going on forty years and I can google my name without finding a trace. I had to look up when a 2400 baud modem was released I think that is the slowest speed I ever connected at. Unfortunately most could care less about any of that and in fact willingly give away their information for them scum to use and abuse, then whine like little bitches when it catches up with them. Oh they should do this or that to keep them getting it, how about the never giving it away to start with...

        --
        "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17 2022, @04:31AM (#1237635)

    To the executive class it is a wonderful innovation. Like most things the executive class likes, it needs to be outlawed with harsh penalties for violators.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18 2022, @05:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18 2022, @05:51AM (#1237855)

    The EU certainly thinks this is wrong, the GDPR doesn't allow this without people freely giving explicit permission for this, clearly separated from other matters (not hidden in general conditions), with a clear explanation in plain language of what is going to happen with the data. People have the right to see the data, to correct errors in it, and to revoke the permission previously given at any time. A tv manufacturer collecting all kinds of data without the buyer being aware of that is clearly illegal in the EU.

    Enforcement is a problem, and many corporations from outside (and no doubt several from inside) the EU act as if their profit motive counts as a legitimate interest that allows them to do anything they want, ignoring that the supervisory authorities of EU countries time after time make it perfectly clear that legitimate interest is a much stricter criterion than that. But the legislation is there and enforcement seems to be slowly getting stronger.