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How to make sure your Vizio smart TV isn't spying on you

Vizio was just slapped with a $2.2 million fine because it didn't tell customers how it was tracking their viewing. Vizio TV owners, here's how to switch off that tracking.

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Most TV makers track your viewing habits using their smart TV systems, but the one you may have heard about recently is Vizio. That's because the popular TV maker was just hit with a $2.2 million fine by the FTC for failing to properly disclose the activity.

If you have a Vizio TV, you might be wondering how to turn off its tracking features.

While you could disconnect your TV from the Internet to prevent this, it's not the best solution. Cutting the Inernet would mean you won't be able to use built-in apps like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video. The better option is to just turn tracking off and still enjoy your TV's smart features.

First, however, you need to know which Vizio smart TV you have.

Which models are affected?

For models sold before 2011, designated VIA (for Vizio Internet Apps), the company says tracking has been disabled already -- so no action is needed. But just to make sure, we've included instructions for those older TVs below as well.

For TVs sold between 2011 and 2016, you'll have to do it manually. And for TVs sold in 2016 as SmartCast displays, the tracking is not enabled.

Disable tracking on older VIA TVs (up to 2011)

As mentioned, Vizio already disabled tracking on TVs from 2011 and earlier, but you can do this just to make sure. Press the Menu button on the remote, open Settings, highlight Smart Interactivity and switch it to off.

Disable tracking on newer VIA Plus TVs (2011-2016)

To disable the Smart Interactivity feature on the models with the VIA Plus interface, press the Menu button on the remote to open Settings, select System, followed by Reset and Admin. Then scroll down to Smart Interactivity and switch it to off.

You can now enjoy using your TV without having to worry about Big Brother watching over you.

This article was originally published November 16, 2015. It has been updated to reflect recent developments.