Do smart TVs have hidden cameras or microphones? Chances are that you probably own at least one TV somewhere in your house. After all, TVs are a fairly common appliance that can be used for entertainment, information, and just about anything in between.
As technology has advanced and changed throughout the years, smart TVs have gone from a luxury that few could afford to being the standard for most TVs.
Although this means that most TVs today are fully capable of doing things that people couldn’t have imagined years ago, it also means that they are somewhat more complex than the box TVs from the past.
One of the ways that this shows itself is the fact that most smart TVs today have a camera and a microphone built into them.
These are often used with gaming consoles and other smart appliances that you would use to command the TV to do something.
If you aren’t used to owning a smart TV, you may not know exactly where the camera or the microphone are, which can cause problems if you are trying to troubleshoot or if you need to adjust them at all.
While there are industry standards for many aspects of smart TVs, one of the less strict standards is where the camera and the microphone go.
What this means for you is that the placement of the camera and microphone can vary depending on a number of factors. If the TV has particularly thin bezels (the border around the screen), it may be harder to find the camera and microphone.
Likewise, if your TV is a bit newer and designed to be as sleek as possible, finding the camera and the microphone can be harder, as they are designed to blend in a bit more than they used to be.
Do Smart TVs Have Hidden Cameras Or Microphones?
Just because there isn’t really an industry standard for the placement of the camera and microphone doesn’t mean that they are all going to be in wildly different places.
There are some places on the TV that are simply the most optimal for cameras and microphones, meaning that you are going to have the best chances of finding them there.
Another thing to remember is that the microphone and the camera are usually going to be located very close to each other, as there is little reason for them to be far apart.
If you find either the camera or the microphone, chances are that you can also find the other one right beside it. More often than not, the camera and microphone are going to be on one of the top corners of the bezel.
You will have an easier chance of finding the camera first, as you will be able to see the lens before you can see a tiny hole for the microphone.
If your TV has particularly thin bezels, there may be a space where the camera pops out, rather than taking up space on the ultra-thin bezel.
Typically, the microphone is going to be very close to the camera, so you won’t have to look for long to find the microphone after you have found the camera.
Where Is The Camera On A Smart TV?
The easiest way to find the camera and the microphone on your smart TV is to look through your owner’s manual.
Most owner’s manuals will show you where all the little parts of the TV are so that you can do your own troubleshooting if something isn’t working as it should, and this applies to the camera and microphone as well.
If the owner’s manual doesn’t make any comments about where the camera or microphone are, you should double check that your TV is one of the models that does have a camera/microphone built into it, as not all smart TVs will.
Some smart TVs are going to have retractable cameras. This means that they generally remain hidden until you pop them out so that you can increase the privacy and have control over whether or not the camera is fully capable of capturing footage when you don’t want it to.
Another common place for cameras to be is going to be in the top middle of the TV, as this is going to provide the best recording area without being skewed from being in the corner.
Some TVs may have the camera in the middle and the microphone off in one of the corners, but this is less common. Some companies for smart TVs may not include cameras and microphones built into the TV.
However, they instead sell a camera/microphone combination that you can purchase separately and place on top of the TV (or wherever you find is the most optimal position).
This will not only help you have control over when the camera is turned on or not, but this usually means that the cameras are much larger and easier to locate, so you won’t have a problem finding these.
The only problem is that they require being purchased separately. Finally, keep in mind that some smart TVs, despite the prevalence of cameras and microphones in smart devices, simply don’t have cameras or microphones built into them.
If one of your concerns is not having clear control over a camera potentially being used without your awareness, you should consider looking for a smart TV that doesn’t come with cameras or microphones built into them.
Turning the Built-in Camera and Microphone Off
It would make sense that some people simply don’t want to deal with having the camera and microphone on at all times. After all, this poses a security risk and can make some people feel uncomfortable.
Thankfully, even though all companies may have different set-ups and approaches to turning these off, the general idea is going to be the same.
Typically, these companies will list the camera/microphone activity under an area relating to tracking. Tracking refers to the practice of tracking activities for advertisement purposes, for the sake of the software being used, and similar.
You will want to look for an option relating to “tracking” in the options menu of your smart TV if you are curious about disabling the camera and microphone.
In this area, there will usually be an option that will lead to the camera and microphone accessibility settings. This will allow you to either limit what has access to the camera and microphone or allow you to turn them off completely.
Should You Remove the Camera and Microphone?
While this may seem like a permanent and trustworthy solution, you should try and think about other methods before this.
Physically removing, uninstalling, or otherwise damaging the camera and microphone may void the warranty of the TV, meaning that if something else goes wrong, you may not be able to get a replacement or repairs.
Additionally, there may be some functions of the smart TV that require the camera or microphone, and removing these items may impair that function.
There’s no telling what the camera and microphone are required for from your TVs software, so there is no way to tell what functions you may be impairing if you try to remove the camera or microphone from the TV of your own will.
If you are worried about them, there are other less permanent and damaging ways to make sure that they cannot pick anything up. If you have located where the camera lens is, you can consider putting a piece of electrical tape over the lens.
This will make sure that the camera cannot pick up anything if it tries to turn on without your permission, but it also means that if you need to use the camera for whatever reason, you can simply remove the electrical tape and go about your day.
There are other similar solutions, such as using a piece of cloth draped over the camera lens or simply never allowing a retractable camera lens to unretract. By covering the camera, you can often muffle whatever sounds that the microphone could be picking up.
It is a lot harder to fully mute a microphone, but you may also be able to find more settings in the owner’s manual about disabling and turning off the microphone than you would for the camera, as most people don’t want their microphones on regularly.
Typically, the best that you can hope for is going to be that you muffle the sounds that the microphone picks up so that there is nothing too discernible.
Can You Tell If the Camera or Microphone Is on?
One of the industry standards surrounding cameras and microphones in smart TVs is that you can usually tell when one or both of them are turned on.
This can range from there being a small light indicating that the device is on to a popup on the screen informing you about it. Different companies will go about this differently, so the way that you will be able to tell depends entirely on what company produced your smart TV.
With cameras, your best bet is to look for an LED indicator. Most TVs that make use of a camera are going to have an LED indicator to let you know when the camera is on and recording.
There are a few companies that don’t have this kind of indication, and for those, it can be a lot harder to tell whether the camera is turned on or not.
Because of the ambiguity surrounding this area, it is often best to leave the camera covered or unplugged until you need it, and then covering it up again or unplugging it when you are done so that there is no feasible way that the camera could be being used or be picking up footage without your awareness.
Checking the microphone of a smart TV is a little bit more difficult. Some smart TVs won’t allow you to disable the microphone at all so that they can pick up when you give the TV verbal commands.
Others will allow you to disable the microphone whenever you wish. Some TVs will have an LED indicator of when the microphone is on, but most don’t, meaning that you may not know if the microphone is being used to record without your permission.
If your TV is one that doesn’t allow you to disable the microphone at all, then you can generally assume that the microphone is always on so that it can register the voice commands.
If this makes you uncomfortable, you can try and find the pinhole where the microphone opening is located. All built-in microphones are going to have this pinhole, as this is how the microphone best picks up sounds.
Once you have found it, you can either stick a small piece of foam over it or another similar sound-absorbing material.
This won’t affect the warranty of the TV the way that physically removing the microphone would because you can simply remove the foam when you need the microphone to be used.
The foam will likely not dampen any recorded sounds completely, but there’s a good chance that it will muffle them to the point where anything being said cannot be clearly understood, meaning that you won’t have to worry nearly as much.
Are Smart TVs Dangerous?
The worry that the smart TV is “spying” on you to pick up information about you is a valid one.
More often than not, when TVs do this, it is less about spying on you as a person as much as it is trying to find ways to target advertisements to what you have been talking about or what the camera picks up, which is not always a comforting thought.
There is also the risk that someone could hack into the smart TV remotely, disabling any options to turn the camera and microphone off, leading to a number of problems.
The good news is that hackers of this nature are extremely rare because it isn’t really beneficial for them to hack into a smart TV, though it is always a good idea to be cautious and cover up the microphone and camera when you are not actively making use of them.