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Roku TV sets get a super creepy, but helpful new feature

Roku TV owners beware; given your blessing, the TV will soon be watching what you’re watching.

With the Roku OS 7.6 update released today, the streaming box giant has added a ‘More Ways To Watch’ feature, which serves up viewing suggestions based on what you’re watching on cable or satellite TV.

As creepy as that may sound, the idea is for the automatic content recognition software (ACR) to give you a heads-up if what you’re watching is also available on streaming services like Netflix.

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This, in theory, could be really helpful. It could enable users to discover they can just jump into the next episode once the one they’re watching on TV ends.

If viewers come in half way through the episode, switching to Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu could allow them to watch from the start and without the hassle of commercials.

Or, if users are seeing this pop-up over and over again, then it may bring them to the realisation they don’t need to be forking out a fortune for cable when most of the stuff they watch is available on Netflix.

However, the feature raises privacy fears. Roku says users will have to opt in after the update has installed, so it does require consent.

Those viewers who choose to enjoy the benefits should know that Roku confirmed to TechCrunch it will be recording this data, but was not specific about how it would be used.

Our best guess is that it’ll be going directly to any advertiser that fancies targeting you based on your viewing habits.

‘More Ways To Watch’ is available to US Roku TV set owners initially.

How much personal data are you willing to sacrifice for a better TV viewing experience? Is this a bridge too far? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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