A new report seems to confirm what you could probably already guess: that, like every other device you own, some TV streaming devices are collecting lots of data about what you do.
The report comes from Princeton University and the University of Chicago, and focuses on two platforms: Roku and Amazon Fire TV. To see what apps on these two services tracked, the people behind the study created what they call “smart crawlers.”
They essentially did the same thing humans would do — install apps (the top 1,000 on each device) and watch videos — while taking a look at the data that was collected any time an ad was shown. You can guess where this is going.
When Amazon (AMZN) released Fire TV earlier this month, it was easy to be underwhelmed. Physically, it didn’t look much different than Apple TV (AAPL) or Roku, and it lacked one of their best features: the ability to watch HBO (TWX). While the device still looks a lot like its competitors, Amazon has just leapfrogged the field on the HBO front. The company said on Wednesday that it will offer not only the HBO Go app on Fire TV, but also give Amazon Prime subscribers the ability to watch some HBO shows free.
Don’t get too excited, True Detective fans. Shows will be added to Prime’s free streaming service about three years after they air. For now, viewers can re-live the joys of The Sopranos, The Wire, and Six Feet Under, with more shows to come over the course of the partnership. The first batch will be made available on May 21st. In addition, HBO will have an app ready for Fire TV by the end of the year.