In our day and age, concerns over private security have come to dominate our daily lives. Often, these arise from convenience features intended to make our lives easier, which unfortunately can be easily co-opted by malevolent actors to harm our privacy and safety. Our phones and other devices are often the main culprits of such security leaks, and that includes television sets. For instance, how do you tell if your TV has a hidden camera?
Contemporary Smart TVs might feature a hidden built-in camera and/or microphone, but this varies from model to model. To find out for sure, it is best to scan your TV’s user manual and spec sheet for terms such as “video chat” and “facial recognition” features. Also, analyze the bezels of your TV’s screen and look for a small camera hidden there.
With a little bit of detective work, it should be relatively easy to find out whether your TV has a hidden camera installed or not. To find out exactly how, read on below for our quick and easy guide!
Do All TVs Have Hidden Cameras?
Not all TVs, and not even all recent models, feature hidden cameras. Just because your television might be new or expensive doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a hidden camera inside.
Generally speaking, hidden cameras are included on Smart TVs that feature advanced video, conferencing, and facial recognition functions.
Where are Hidden Cameras Found on Smart TVs?
The by far most common location for a hidden camera within a TV is inside the screen bezel. Look for a small lens opening within the area just beyond the edge of the screen, usually near the center either on top or bottom. Cameras on the side edges also exist, but are less common.
It is not unusual for a hidden camera to be paired with a hidden mic as well, for video-calling functions for example. This can make them a little bit easier to find.
Does My TV’s Manual Tell Me If There is a Hidden Camera or not?
In all but exceptional cases, a careful look through your TV’s manual should tell you whether there is a hidden camera in your device. Often, the wording might be vague, or you will have to skim through fine print – but rest assured, the information is almost certainly in there.
Watch out for keywords! If your TV’s manual mentions that it is capable of video calls, voice or facial recognition, or integration with apps such as Skype or Google Hello, then you know for sure that it must have a camera built into the hardware.
How Do I Deactivate the Hidden Camera in My TV?
There are plenty of methods that you can use in order to make sure the built-in hidden camera in your TV can’t bother you. The following should work in almost all cases – if one technique doesn’t do it for you, try the next further down the list!
Using an Internal Retraction or Shutter Mechanism
Some brands, such as LG, are kind enough to include a mechanism designed into the camera housing to temporarily deactivate it – or permanently, should you choose to do so.
Usually, this is a mechanical shutter that covers the lens, or an arm of sorts that retracts the camera into a position where it cannot record from. You should consult your TV’s manual to make sure whether the camera has such a lockout.
Covering the Lens
If your TV’s manufacturer doesn’t allow you a quick and simple way of deactivating the camera like above, don’t fret! This next one is a perennial trick used for years by privacy-conscious users of smartphones and laptop computers. It’s easy, doesn’t require a lot of materials, and most of all it’s non-destructive and reversible!
All you have to do is take a small piece of material thick and opaque enough to not let a lot of light through – such as multiple layers of post-it notes, or even white tack – and apply it to the lens of the hidden camera. Now, until you choose to remove your improvised shutter, the camera won’t be able to record you.
Removing the Hidden Camera
If nothing else works, or if you just want to be as sure as possible, there’s always the nuclear solution: removing the camera altogether. While the exact process will differ depending on the model and there probably won’t be any guides online running you down the exact steps for your particular kind of TV, the good news is that it should be a relatively simple job.
First, you’ll likely need to remove the bezel and screen housing. These days, it’s usually held in place with a few plastic clips that you will simply need to gently bend and click out of place before removing the entire assembly.
The camera should now be exposed. Check if it is attached to the rest of the TV’s insides with any kind of wires or cables, and if so, carefully unplug them. If there are any screws holding the cameras in place as well, you will need to remove these too.
Now, the camera should just fall out, and you can replace the exterior screen bezel. Done!