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.

RELATED: How to Stop Your Smart TV From Spying on You

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.

Here’s how to stop your smart TV from spying on you, in case this all leaves you feeling uneasy. Personally, we think smart TVs are stupid and that you shouldn’t buy one if you can avoid it.

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.

Image Credit: madeaw_ec/

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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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