How Smart TVs track pixels, communicate what you are watching to other devices, all to serve up ads

New York Times:

In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes.


Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.

You might think this is nothing new, but this isn’t simply translating the current time and the channel on the screen to know what show is playing. This is actually analyzing the pixels on the screen to suss out the nature of the content. They can tell what video game you are playing, or watch you watching home videos, harvesting data and drawing conclusions all the while.

Have we learned nothing?

[H/T Robert Walter]