Vizio IPO Shows How Its TVs Track Whatever You’re Watching ➝

Richard Lawler, regarding Vizio’s Inscape software:

We’ve never heard of Inscape before, but as explained in the S-1 Vizio filed today, it’s based on ACR (automatic content recognition) software licensed from a third party, and viewers can opt-out of participating in it while maintaining other connected features. That’s actually fairly common in modern TVs, and others like LG and Samsung have already rolled out features based on the tech to do things like integrate with TV shows, or display ads based on what the TV is showing. ACR software recognizes the video being displayed, matches it up and phones home the data. According to Vizio, its Inscape platform can pull some 100 billion anonymized datapoints from 8 million of its connected TVs every day. That kind of data can be used for ratings, and is valuable to both advertisers and content providers.

I’m really glad I decided to buy a “dumb” TV. And I don’t expect I’ll be recommending any Vizio televisions anymore. This is the kind of privacy-invasive tracking software that we should be fighting against.