This remarkable chart shows how amongst various goods and services, TVs have become the most affordable over the past two decades – down 97%. The article goes on to explain why. Ofcourse, technological developments and economies of scale akin to the Moore’s law has helped reduce the cost of making a TV but there are hidden costs to the consumer in the form of data. Most modern TVs are smart TVs equipped with software to capture our viewing behaviour that TV makers monetise by supplying it to advertisers.

“Perhaps the most common media platform, Roku, now comes built into TVs made by companies including TCL, HiSense, Philips, and RCA. But there are many more operating systems: Google has Google TV, which is used by Sony, among other manufacturers, and LG and Samsung offer their own.

Smart TVs are just like search engines, social networks, and email providers that give us a free service in exchange for monitoring us and then selling that info to advertisers leveraging our data. These devices “are collecting information about what you’re watching, how long you’re watching it, and where you watch it,” Willcox said, “then selling that data—which is a revenue stream that didn’t exist a couple of years ago.” There’s nothing particularly secretive about this—data-tracking companies such as Inscape and Samba proudly brag right on their websites about the TV manufacturers they partner with and the data they amass.

The companies that manufacture televisions call this “post-purchase monetization,” and it means they can sell TVs almost at cost and still make money over the long term by sharing viewing data. In addition to selling your viewing information to advertisers, smart TVs also show ads in the interface. Roku, for example, prominently features a given TV show or streaming service on the right-hand side of its home screen—that’s a paid advertisement. Roku also has its own ad-supported channel, the Roku Channel, and gets a cut of the video ads shown on other channels on Roku devices.

This can all add up to a lot of money. Roku earned $2.7 billion in 2021. Almost 83 percent of that came from what Roku calls “platform revenue,” which includes ads shown in the interface. And Roku isn’t the only company offering such software: Google, Amazon, LG, and Samsung all have smart-TV-operating systems with similar revenue models.”

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