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Which are the best and worst smart TV brands with regards to advertising and data collection? I know of course to avoid Samsung and understand LG isn't much better, but how about Philips, Sony, JVC, Panasonic etc?

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  • This is a very vague question. Define 'best'. Do you want to control which other shows are prioritised relevant to the ones you already watch? This information is already available to the channels you are watching, the TV doesn't need to do that. Advertising… what advertising? I don't see ads other than those during a show I'm watching, which I normally pause/skip anyway, or record to watch later. The trouble with blocking feedback is that you will lose other useful service aspects. Better to just use a good ad-blocker on your compy, so the TV data becomes irrelevant to your other activities.
    – Tetsujin
    May 18, 2022 at 8:30

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I have a Sony smart TV, but I leave the Wifi non-configured. Meaning, I don't use any of the Smart features. Not sure you can beat that for privacy. Hook up rabbit ears and nobody will know you're watching TV.

I've read reviews for LG and Samsung that claim you are required to activate the Smart features upon first boot, and/or are vague about being "allowed" to skip those steps.

In the end, if you really want privacy, buy the dumb versions of the TVs. They do exist, visit your local electronics store and they'll help you.

However, I have an Amazon FireTV hooked up. So my privacy may be undone. It isn't the TV that is spying on me :-D

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  • Thanks but I want the Youtube and Netflix apps on there! Those apps are free to conduct telemetry and make recommendations. But like you say, there's no reason for Samsung etc to do so (other than the obvious in their own interest).
    – Sam
    May 18, 2022 at 21:19
  • I see, so you're trying to pick the least evil. Do you trust Google and not Samsung? Google is in business of sharing your data. I guess it comes down to researching which company you trust most and purchase from them. Get an Apple TV or Fire Tv or Roku and buy a dumb TV. Then you've cut out the middle-person.
    – ripvlan
    May 19, 2022 at 14:42
  • I've not had any experience with these devices but Roku looks pretty good. I definitely appreciate a smooth, responsive interface (which my TV certainly does not deliver). My TV has broken but still under warranty so out for repair / replacement. So I probably won't be buying a new one yet but would just like a better understanding of which companies are best and worst for advertising, privacy etc.
    – Sam
    May 19, 2022 at 15:16
  • Nothing on any hardware device I know of [AppleTV might be the best of the bunch for this, due to their elevated privacy functions] will block Google's insidious tracking. Better off using a computer with a serious ad-blocker for YouTube. Netflix, they can track whatever you do - you're paying them to track you, you can't watch it without signing in. I'd give up on the 'safest TV' idea altogether, unless you want to start running everything through a corporate firewall or a PiHole device.
    – Tetsujin
    May 19, 2022 at 16:29
  • Yeah I have a Pi (first gen so limited in what it can do) sitting around doing nothing so might look into PiHole (will need to look into other hardware that might need like wi-fi AP etc). As I say though, I'd really just like the knowledge (if anyone has it) as to which TV brands do best and worst. They're obviously not all exactly as bad as each other.
    – Sam
    May 20, 2022 at 6:55

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