Last updated on June 4th, 2021
No, not all smart TVs come with a built-in camera, although it is very common for them to have one. Generally speaking, most smart TV’s come with the following standard features:
- Internet access
- File system
Though these four features are pretty standard across all smart TV models (regardless of manufacturer) your particular model might differ, especially if you have the latest-generation smart TV packed with all-new features. As a side note, though most modern smart TVs come with cameras and microphones integrated into their construction, some people find that they struggle to actually locate them on their TV.
Though the best thing to do is refer to the owner’s manual (which will contain a description of each part of the TV, as well as locations) most cameras and microphones are installed side by side for convenience and are usually situated somewhere across the top of the TV screen.
How do I use the webcam on my smart TV?
Though most smart TVs come with a webcam already installed into the design, they do also often come with additional connectivity ports (including USB ports) which will allow you to connect an external USB if you so wished. However, if you’re currently trying to figure out how to get your TVs built-in webcam up and running, try following the following steps:
- After turning your TV on, grab your remote and head over to the settings area on your particular model.
- Once there, you should see a Source section. Click on it and your TV should bring up a list of source options in a dropdown menu on your TV screen.
- Click on the webcam option, and your webcam should turn itself on.
- Spend some time adjusting the camera settings so that you can clearly see yourself on the screen.
- After doing this, your TV should then prompt you to connect the webcam to the internet so that you can proceed to make video calls with friends or coworkers.
As a side note, please keep in mind that these are only general instructions. Alongside this guidance, we also recommend that you refer to your owner’s manual, as there will be specific information on how to use your smart TV’s webcam there.
How do you stop a smart TV from spying on you?
If you have a smart TV, then you’ll already know that you have a wealth of cool features available to you, including a built-in camera, microphone, and even access to streaming apps. However, as your smart TV will have access to the internet, there is a potential risk that hackers may gain access to your TV, and alter the controls, allowing them to spy on you, both through the camera and the microphone.
This risk was highlighted by the FBI back in 2019, and they noted that both app developers (of the apps you currently have installed for use on your TV) as well as the creators of your TV, could both gain access to your TV, as well as potentially watch and listen to you.
In addition to that, another major privacy concern that the FBI brought to attention consumers is the potential risk of hackers gaining access to your television in order to change controls and show inappropriate content.
Alongside that, there is also a risk that hackers may use your TV’s camera and microphone to spy on you and your family, or even use your TV to gain access to connected devices that may have personal information.
Though the chances of these things happening are rare, there is still a possibility that it could happen, which is why it’s so important to carry out a few preventative measures to help ensure that your privacy and security are protected. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do today:
Avoid relying on your TV’s default privacy settings
One of the first things that we recommend you do is stop relying on the privacy/security settings that your TV came with. Where possible, we recommend resetting your passwords and changing them to something unique, as well as making sure that you are aware of how to properly turn your microphones and cameras on and off.
You should also be sure to double-check whether or not your particular smart TV model allows you to moderate whether or not your personal information can be shared, as some manufacturers do not allow you to control this.
Tape over your camera
If you’re particularly concerned about being watched through your camera, one way that you can give yourself some peace of mind is by purchasing some tape (black is preferable, as it will be harder to see through) and carefully taping over the camera.
Though this may seem like a bit of a DIY solution, it’s actually a very effective preventative measure that will not only guarantee that no one will be able to spy on you through your smart TVs camera but has also been recommended by the FBI as a best practice.
From there, you will then be able to make a more informed decision about the apps you allow access to your TV, as well as be able to raise any privacy concerns you may have with your TV’s manufacturer.