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How to stop your Vizio TV from spying on you

Published Feb 8th, 2017 10:31AM EST
How To Disable Vizio TV Spying
Image: Vizio

We have some good news and some bad news for all the Vizio TV owners out there. The good news is that you’re smart enough to recognize what a fantastic value Vizio TVs offer, providing picture quality and a user experience that rival top-tier TV brands for a fraction of the price. The bad news is that affordable TV hanging in your living room right now has been secretly spying on you ever since you bought it. Yikes indeed, but don’t worry because in this post we’ll tell you exactly how to stop your smart TV from collecting your viewing data for Vizio to sell behind your back.

As we explained in a recent post, Vizio has admitted to secretly collecting user data and then selling it to third parties for audience measurement and other tracking. The company was fined $2.2 million by the US Federal Trade Commission, and it has agreed to change its software so that users must opt in before data pertaining to their viewing habits can be collected and/or sold.

Now, it should be noted that the data being collected by Vizio TVs is anonymized, so it can’t be tied directly to you. That said, it’s never a good thing to learn that a company is profiting by selling your private data, which is why we’re going to tell you how to completely disable data collection on Vizio smart TVs.

There are two different types of TVs impacted here. The first covers VIA-designated Vizio TVs built through the end of the year in 2011, and the second group includes VIA-designated Vizio TVs sold after 2011. VIA, by the way, stands for Vizio Internet Apps.

If your TV is from 2011 or earlier, Vizio says that data collection has already been disabled remotely. If you want to be sure, follow these steps:

  • Press the Menu button on your Vizio remote
  • Select Settings
  • Scroll to Smart Interactivity and turn it off

If you have a newer TV model, follow these steps to disable data collection:

  • Press the Menu button on your Vizio remote
  • Select Settings
  • Select System
  • Select Reset and Admin
  • Scroll to Smart Interactivity and turn it off
Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.