Smart TVs are getting more features and keep getting smarter every day.
Some of the latest additions are cameras that you can use for facial recognition and family video calls.
But what do smart TV cameras look like?
Smart TV cameras look like phone or computer cameras. One of the most common designs on high-end TVs is a pop-up camera. Some cameras are mounted on the top or bottom bezel, and some smart TVs support USB webcams that you buy separately.
Read on to learn about a few examples of smart TV cameras, how to tell if your TV has one and if your TV camera can spy on you.
1. Pop-Up Cameras
Pop-up cameras have become very popular in both smartphones and smart TVs.
They make more sense on a TV because you can always tell if your TV’s camera is on or off.
Pop-up cameras are common on high-end smart TVs from brands like LG, Honor, and TCL.
OnePlus has recently patented a rotating pop-up TV camera, too, so we can expect a model from them soon.
You can tell that your TV has a pop-up camera if there’s a cutout at the top bezel.
Also, when you want to use facial recognition, the camera appears and then quickly disappears.
Pop-up cameras are the most interesting of the bunch but are very expensive to manufacture.
Manufacturers use them for bezel-less TVs that have no other place to house the camera.
2. Top Bezel Camera
If your TV isn’t a bezel-less one, it most likely has a camera inside the top bezel.
It’s usually in the middle, but it could be off-center too.
It looks like a smartphone camera and has a lens with a circular cutout in the bezel.
Other times, there’s a visible protrusion that houses the camera. Those cameras are easy to recognize.
You can’t find it if you’re looking from far away. You’ll have to walk up close to the TV to find it.
3. Bottom Bezel Camera
Similar to a top bezel camera, you can often find a camera on a smart TV on the bottom bezel.
A few other things look like cameras on the bottom bezel, like the IR remote sensor.
But if you look closely, you can tell the difference.
A camera always has a lens and a sensor behind it. And it’s always circular, so that’s a giveaway too.
4. USB Camera
Just like your PC, a TV can use a regular USB webcam. However, not all TVs and cameras will work together.
Also, your TV may include one in the box as part of a bundle deal, or you can buy it as an aftermarket accessory.
The cameras are usually sleek and designed to make them easy to mount to the top bezel.
A good example is the Sony CMU-BR100 Camera and Microphone from Amazon.com that works with select Sony Bravia smart TVs.
It’s a 720p camera with a minimalist design and four microphones that pick up everything you say.
You may also wonder: Do I need an Android box if I have a smart TV?
How To Know if Smart TV Has Camera
There are a few ways to check if your new smart TV or the one you want to buy has a built-in camera.
If your TV has a facial recognition or gesture recognition feature, it’s a dead giveaway that it has a camera.
Those features are exclusive to TVs with cameras because they have to record you.
If you don’t know if your TV has those features, here are a couple of ways to check for a camera on a smart TV.
Check the Smart TV Bezels
All smart TV cameras are either somewhere on the bezel or pop out of it. There are no smart TVs with under-display cameras, at least not yet.
A 2020 paper explains why making one under the screen is so tricky. If you have privacy concerns, you can put your mind at ease now.
So, the easiest way to tell if a smart TV has a camera is to check the top bezel.
A smart TV camera looks a lot like your smartphone camera, but it’s probably a bit smaller.
Point your camera flashlight at the bezel. If you see a reflection, inspect it closely to see if it’s a camera.
Check the Smart TV Manual
This method is a bit easier, especially if you haven’t bought the TV yet.
Go to the TV manufacturer’s website and look up the specific TV model. It’s usually a combination of letters and numbers.
For example, if you’re looking at the Samsung F7500, go to Samsung’s website and type “F7500.”
If the user manual doesn’t mention a TV camera anywhere, it’s safe to say that the TV doesn’t come with one.
How To Add a Camera to Your Smart TV
Virtually all smart TVs have USB ports that you can use to add a USB webcam.
You need to get a camera that you can fit on the TV.
The Qtniue 1080p Webcam With Microphone from Amazon.com is a perfect smart TV camera because it’s easy to mount to the top bezel.
It has a minimalist and sleek design and records high-quality 1080p video. The camera has a built-in microphone for video and voice calls.
Most cameras will work just fine with smart TVs, but you must check if your TV is compatible with USB webcams. Again, the manual is the best way to know.
If it doesn’t mention USB webcams, it probably won’t work.
Can Your Smart TV Spy on You?
Your smart TV won’t spy on you because it would be highly illegal. However, the TV may collect data from you to learn what you’re interested in to serve you targeted ads.
Also, a hacker can easily access your TV’s camera and microphone if it’s connected to the Internet. The security baked into smart TVs isn’t the best, so it’s easy to do.
If you have a pop-up camera, you’ll know when it’s on because it has to pop out to record. Also, if there’s an LED indicator light, it may turn on when the camera is on.
Nonetheless, you should play it safe and put a small piece of electrical tape on the camera.
You can get AmazonCommercial Electrical Tape from Amazon.com. The black tape is opaque and safe to use for your camera.
This won’t necessarily prevent attacks from happening, but at least the hacker won’t be able to see you.
If you still aren’t convinced that this is a major issue, an ethical hacker on News 5 Cleveland has shown that hacking a smart device is incredibly easy on this video:
So, protect yourself and your family by taping the camera off when it’s not in use.
Smart TVs are among the few devices that don’t have built-in cameras as a standard.
However, you can find a few models with pop-up or bezel-mounted cameras for facial recognition, gesture control, and video calls.
Some have support for USB webcams, but not all of them are compatible. And some manufacturers offer a first-party USB webcam for their TVs like Sony.
But cameras on a device that’s always connected to the Internet can be dangerous. Hackers can easily exploit it.
You can prevent the camera from spying on you by putting a small piece of electrical tape over the lens.
You might also want to know: Will a Smart TV Work With an Antenna? 5 Device Facts