Vizio has made its name with impressive value-priced TVs that
don’t skimp on features (it’s also a leader in the soundbar
market, and has made attempts at selling tablets and phones too).
According to the filing, Vizio has sold more than 15 million
smart TVs, with about 61 percent of them connected as of the end
of June. While viewers are benefiting from those connections,
streaming over 3 billion hours of content, Vizio says it’s
watching them too, with Inscape software embedded in the screens
that can track anything you’re playing on it — even if it’s from
cable TV, videogame systems and streaming devices.
We’ve never heard of Inscape before, but as explained in the S-1
Vizio filed today, it’s based on ACR (automatic content
recognition) software licensed from a third party, and viewers can
opt-out of participating in it while maintaining other connected
features. That’s actually fairly common in modern TVs, and others
like LG and Samsung have already rolled out features based on the
tech to do things like integrate with TV shows, or display ads
based on what the TV is showing. ACR software recognizes the video
being displayed, matches it up and phones home the data. According
to Vizio, its Inscape platform can pull some 100 billion
anonymized datapoints from 8 million of its connected TVs every
day. That kind of data can be used for ratings, and is valuable to
both advertisers and content providers.
Note to self: never buy anything from Vizio.