Surprise: Most TV Viewers Aren’t Alarmed by Camera-Enabled Set-Top Boxes

But 43% of consumers say they would “probably” or “never” accept such monitoring, according to Strategy Analytics survey

Freaked out by the idea of a TV provider watching your movements through a camera in the set-top box? You’re in the minority.

Most consumers don’t have serious concerns about so-called “spy” set-tops, which could be used to serve targeted ads or program recommendations, according to a new survey from research firm Strategy Analytics.

Still, 30% of consumers surveyed said they would “never” accept such monitoring and 13% said they “probably” would reject such a service.

Only 14% of those surveyed said they “don’t mind at all.” About 24% said they were neutral on the idea and 20% agreed that they had “a few reservations” but in general wouldn’t object if the overall service improved.

For now the question is largely hypothetical. But last month, the potential for privacy abuses with the technology prompted a U.S. representative to introduce legislation that would force video providers to display the message “We are watching you” if they use devices with cameras that monitor the activity of viewers.

SEE ALSO: House Bill Would Restrict Camera-Enabled ‘Spy’ Set-Tops

Microsoft currently provides voice- and gesture-based controls with the Xbox’s Kinect attachment (picture above). But those features can be disabled by consumers, who are “in control” of their own data, according to Microsoft.

Intel has described a set-top box with a camera for its forthcoming over-the-top TV service that would perform facial recognition to determine who’s watching TV. Similar to Microsoft, the chip company says there are no privacy issues because users can turn the feature off.

In the Strategy Analytics survey, the research firm posed the question to consumers by telling them: “It is possible in the future that television could have cameras and sensors that will be able to identify who is in the room and which TV shows they are watching.” The survey question noted that benefits of such technology could include personalized recommendations and paying less for the service.

The firm surveyed 6,180 consumers in the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Tony Ayres - International Live Action

    Netflix Boards Tony Ayres' Tech Thriller 'Clickbait'

    Top Australian film and TV creator, Tony Ayres, “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman and Christian White have set up “Clickbait,” a new thriller series for Netflix. It probes probing the dangers of social media and the widening gulf between people’s real and virtual selves. The show is to be produced in Melbourne, Australia through NBC [...]


    Netflix's Podcast Slate 'Deepens' Space Around Original Content, Programmers Say

    It should come as no surprise that, in its quest to become a full-blown entertainment ecosystem, Netflix has built a roster of podcast programming to complement its scores or original series and films. The programs recruit top talent and hosts to hang out and talk about the streaming giant’s TV and film content. It’s a [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content