Last week, you may have noticed your local TV station ran a segment attacking devices like the Roku and the Fire TV. A good example of one of these stories is from WPSD Local 6 HERE.
The complaint is that Roku and the Fire TV, along with other streaming players, track what you watch and use that to display ads targeted to your interests. What they forgot to mention is the fact that cable TV boxes also report what you watch.
Cable TV companies not only know what you watch, but they also turn around and sell that data including information that can be used to identify you to other companies.
This is not all bad news. One of the main things this data is used to determine is if a show should be renewed or canceled. In the past, this decision was often based on guesses and surveys. Now TV producers know exactly what shows people are watching.
The good news with streaming players is if you don’t want them to use that data to target ads to you, you can turn it off. For example, Amazon’s Fire TV allows you to remove targeted ads. You will still see ads, but they will no longer be targeted to you.
The idea that Amazon and Roku are spying on you seems to imply that this is something special that only Roku and Amazon do. Even our example above, WPSD, includes ads on their website that use targeted data based on your browsing history.
The truth is targeted advertising is how many services survive. Without it, we wouldn’t have many of the free streaming services we enjoy now.
Do targeted ads bother you? Did you even know your cable company was collecting data on what you watch? Leave us a comment and let us know what you found.
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