Is my smart TV spying on me & if so, where is the camera on my smart TV? Don’t worry – you’re not paranoid for asking this question. Several smart TV owners have had this question on their minds since November 2019. That’s because the FBI issued an official warning regarding smart TVs & the privacy risks they pose that year.
Since then, many smart TV owners have rightfully asked the question – where is the camera on my smart TV? But before we address that question, let’s explore what the FBI had to say about this issue. According to the FBI, TV manufacturers and TV app developers can technically watch their customers via hidden cameras. But they don’t pose the main threat.
The main security threats come from hackers who might hack into your smart TV. Once they gain control of your TV, they can use the in-built camera or microphone to spy on you. Therefore, consumers need to know about smart TVs with cameras and microphones. Let’s address all the important questions regarding this vital security issue.
Do you have a particular question about locating the camera on your smart TV? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
Do Smart TVs Have Cameras?
Yes. Many new smart TV models come with built-in cameras. All TV manufacturers in the US are obligated to mention this detail in the owners’ manuals. So, don’t worry about your TV manufacturer hiding this detail to spy on you. If you suspect you own a smart TV with camera and mic, check the owner’s manual to verify your suspicion.
Do All Smart TVs Have Cameras?
99% of the smart TVs in use today don’t have built-in cameras. That’s because most of these TVs were manufactured before the pandemic. Back then, people didn’t need to use their smart TVs for video chatting or live-streaming. However, since 2020, many newer smart TVs have started offering this feature.
So, all smart TVs that offer features like video chat or facial recognition do come with built-in cameras. If you own a smart TV with hidden camera, learn how to deactivate this feature. Here’s a helpful video on this topic. You can basically ensure that your smart TV never collects any private information by disabling this feature.
What TVs Have Cameras in Them?
Smart TVs with video chatting or facial recognition features have built-in cameras. Some notable examples include the following:
- LG’s LA9600 55-inch smart TV
- Samsung’s F7500 55-inch smart TV
- LG’s LA8600 55-inch smart TV
- Samsung’s F8000 55-inch smart TV
More smart TVs will have built-in cameras in the future. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to detect a smart TV hidden camera.
How to Tell if your TV Has a Camera?
Inspect the bezel/border areas of your smart TV. The bezel is the hard-plastic frame that surrounds your smart TV screen. Most TV manufacturers, including Samsung & LG, place cameras in the bezels of their smart TVs. To detect whether your smart TV’s bezel has a hidden camera, shine a light on it.
Shine a light across your smart TV’s bezel to see if a camera lens reflects the light back at you. You can also re-read your smart TV’s instructions or owner’s manual for camera information. For more clarity, you look up the model of your smart TV on the Internet. Look for sources that mention the word “camera” and your smart TV model.
Where is the Camera Located on a Smart TV?
The most typical smart TV camera location is at the center of the top bezel. Notice the plastic rim on top of your smart TV screen? That’s where you need to search for a circular lens. Bear in mind – this circular lens will be very small, located right on the top edge of your TV screen. So, look closely & use a flashlight if possible.
Some of the latest LG & Samsung smart TVs in the market come equipped with retractable lenses. That means you might not see these lenses directly as they might be retracted. To verify whether your smart TV has a built-in, retractable camera, run your fingers across the top edges of your TV. Do you feel an insert or a compartment? If yes, then your smart TV has retractable lenses.
Should I Buy a Smart TV with a Hidden Camera?
Like most smart devices in the world, smart TVs are designed to collect users’ personal data. A top smart TV manufacturer doesn’t need a hidden camera in the TV screen to get access to this data. That’s because all smart TVs come with automatic content recognition (ACR) tools. These built-in tools are already tracking your viewing habits.
Based on this data, the TV companies and their advertising partners tailor advertisements & content recommendations. To turn off your smart TV’s ACR, follow these steps –
- Press the Home button on your smart TV’s remote
- Enter the ‘Settings’ section (the section that has a gear symbol)
- Scroll down to see an option that says ‘Privacy.’
- Enter this page & look for an option that says ‘Smart TV experience.’
- Here, you can disable your smart TV’s ACR technology
Your smart TV may still collect basic data for its parent manufacturer. But, it won’t be able to collect and share massive amounts of personal data about your viewing habits.
Can a Smart TV Spy on Users?
Technically, yes. A new-age smart TV’s built-in camera and ACR can easily be used to spy on users. But rest assured – TV manufacturers & advertisers are not interested in spying on consumers via hidden cameras. However, hackers may have different, more nefarious intentions. To further secure your smart TV from such security risks, take the following steps –
- Find out the location of your smart TV hidden camera and cover it with a piece of tape.
- Change your smart TV’s default security settings. Use customized usernames and passwords that would be hard to crack for potential hackers.
- Keep up with your smart TV manufacturer’s software updates. Don’t miss out on installing any security patches.
Most importantly, keep learning about your TV manufacturer’s privacy policies. Learn how all the internet-connected devices in your life, including your smart TV, collect data. The key to maintaining your security is attaining knowledge about all the potential threats!
Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.
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