In Which I Rant About the Most User Hostile Piece of Tech I Own

It’s a TV with built-in Roku. Shocking, I know.

I don’t use it as a “smart” TV any more. For that I use a Fire TV stick which definitely isn’t better from a privacy standpoint, but it’s way faster, supports more codecs, and is much friendlier towards advanced users.

I wanted to disconnect the Roku from my wifi since I have no use for it being on the network and I’d rather it not spy on everything I watch. Turns out they really don’t want you doing that.

First of all, the option to clear your network settings is buried several menus deep in advanced system settings, nowhere near the rest of the network settings. Annoying, but nothing you can’t figure out after an internet search.

So I got it disconnected but soon discovered the most offensive part of this whole process. If the TV doesn’t have an internet connection, it repeatedly flashes the big bright red LED bar on the infrared sensor which is right below the screen. It’s extremely distracting and makes the TV almost unwatchable, and I have no doubt it was deliberately designed to be that way.

I started considering a few options.

Maybe I could connect it to wifi again, but then only allow it access to whatever domain it uses for its connectivity check? I couldn’t find a reliable source for which domain I’d need to allow and there’s no guarantee it would even work.

I actually at one point considered getting into the TV to disconnect or rip out the LED. An overreaction and too much work. And knowing myself, I’d break something.

I ended up doing the sane thing and just covered the LED up. This just means I can’t use the Roku’s remote, not that I need it that much when I’m not using any of the Roku’s “smart” features.

I just found this whole experience pretty telling about how much these TV manufacturers need your data, and this isn’t the first time I’ve gone through something like this with this TV. They make more from user data than selling hardware.

The Verge: Vizio’s profit on ads, subscriptions, and data is double the money it makes selling TVs (2021)

#100DaysToOffload #privacy #tech