Television viewers concerned about personal privacy may wish to brace themselves before reading this. Chips built in to some of the latest TVs are aware of every program, even every snippet of program and YouTube video, the set is showing.
These chips also know and can report on any apps that get used and website activity that goes through the TV. Furthermore, this information can be available to advertisers and other third parties if the viewer opts in.
The technology is called Sync Apps and it’s from Flingo, the San Francisco-based startup best known for its eponymous TV app that lets users “fling” their choice of Internet content over for viewing on their connected television. It also has makes connected TV apps for broadcasters including CBS, MTV, and Fox.
As Digital Media Wire previously reported, Flingo has been making deals to be embedded in chipsets and has been licensed by consumer electronics manufacturers including LG, Samsung, Vizio, Insignia, Sanyo and Western Digital. The first televisions with the Flingo chipsets are nearly ready to reach retail, where they will cost less than $500, according to a report in Technology Review.
On the plus side, these sets will be able to respond in real time to what’s being watched – regardless of whether its source is the Internet, a satellite/cable provider or somewhere else – enhancing the program with relevant information or other additions. Even social network activity could reflect what’s on the screen. Additionally, they will be able to target advertising, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since studies show that relevant advertising is less annoying than ads of zero interest to the viewer.
Flingo was launched in 2008 by BitTorrent alumni Navin and David Harrison.
Technology Review – http://tinyurl.com/3w5vy4h
Photo by flickr user Photo the Berto, used under Creative Commons license