You’re not just paranoid: your smart TV really is tracking what you watch. And yes: other devices in your house are showing relevant ads based on what you watch.
This is true whether you’re watching online content or watching conventional TV, because of a sophisticated algorithm that can identify what you’re watching at all times. A system like this called Samba TV is active on millions of TVs right now—possibly including yours.
Here’s Sapna Maheshwari, writing for The New York Times:
Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.
Of course at this point so-called smart TVs can be cheaper than those without such features, in part because of advertising features like this. Our advice: don’t connect the things to the internet.
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