Have you ever talked about a certain product type, only to see a sponsored ad about that type of product moments later? No, it’s not magic and it’s not pure coincidence. Modern devices use the ACR or Automatic Content Recognition technology that essentially records you (sometimes both your audio and video) and use the gathered information to advertise selected content for you.
Now if all of this seems like a breach of privacy, it’s because it can be argued that it is. That being said, let’s just dive into turning the ACR off on your Roku device.
You’ve probably experienced ACR on Instagram and other social media apps, but make no mistake because numerous streaming devices are utilizing this technology to create something along the lines of your ‘marketing profile.’
Apparently, many devices send this collected data to Facebook, Amazon, Doubleclick, etc. To make things worse, many devices, such as Amazon Fire TV and Firestick or Roku, are actually used on most mainstream TV brands. However, it’s got nothing to do with these TV manufacturers, it’s the streaming devices that collect all the data.
Yes, your Roku device probably does this too, and, while not really dangerous, once you’ve learned about this, you may feel the urge to turn this setting off. The thing is, with most devices, this feature doesn’t have an “off” switch. Roku, luckily, does. Well, kind of.
Disabling ACR on Roku
With almost a dozen mainstream TV brands compatible with Roku devices, their user base is constantly growing. Apparently, ACR doesn’t apply to streaming channels on Roku devices and, frankly, this is what your Roku use will come down to for the most part. On the other hand, opting out of ACR won’t affect information collection that pertains to the Roku streaming channel use.
Whatever the case might be with ACR data collection, you’ll likely be inclined to turn the service off. Flipping the switch on ACR is easy and pretty much straightforward on Roku devices. Press the Home button on your Roku remote and then navigate to Settings. In this menu, scroll until you’ve reached the Privacy option, select it, and find the Smart TV Experience option.
On this screen, uncheck Use Information for TV Inputs and this will disable Roku’s ACR technology. By doing this, you’ll have limited program tracking from any device connected to the TV. However, the Roku will still both collect and share information regarding your data usage. This may sound a little strange, even off-putting, but this is really the best you can do ACR-wise, without getting into programming and hardware.
Disabling ACR on Mainstream TVs
The fact that you’ve disabled ACR on your Roku may not be enough for you, especially given the fact that you won’t really be shutting the thing off completely. Although doing what was outlined above will block out every component, other than Roku, from collecting any kind of information from you, you may just want to do it on your smart TV device too, just to be safe.
The thing is that ACR is rarely, if ever, displayed as an “ACR” option on devices. More often it will be referred to as something else, probably even a number of different options. For instance, on Samsung smart TVs, disabling ACR includes shutting off Viewing Information Services, Voice Recognition Services, and Interest Based Advertising.
Some models may not offer this option, at all. The best way to go is browsing around the web for solutions, using the “ACR” keyword with your smart TV model.
Disabling ACR on Roku
There is a lot of gray area covering the ACR subject. As you can see, even though you can shut the thing off on your Roku device, you can’t really shut it off for Roku itself. The situation is fairly similar with most other devices, so you should definitely do a bit of digging around online if you want a complete solution.
Have you disabled ACR on your Roku? What do you think about their ACR policy? Feel free to start a discussion in the comments section below.