TV manufacturer Vizio has been forced to pay a $US2.5 million (NZ$3.5m) fine to settle allegations that they surreptitiously tracked consumers' viewing habits and sold the information to marketing companies and data brokers.

The settlement announced this week ends parallel investigations conducted by New Jersey state officials and the Federal Trade Commission in America into the use of data-collecting technology on Vizio's smart TVs.

According to legal documents, Vizio and a subsidiary manufactured smart TVs that captured second-by-second information about video displayed on the sets.

The data was sold to marketing companies and data brokers to measure viewing habits, such as the effectiveness of ad campaigns.

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The Californian-based company does not have a presence in Australia but you can easily order one of the company's smart TVs from the US.

In fact, the VIZIO E50-C1 smart TV could be bought in the US and shipped to Australia for around A$890. However due to incompatibility issues, one would expect such instances to be rare.

However it's far from the first time a TV manufacturer has found itself in hot water for not revealing the secret habits of its TVs.

Last year Samsung changed its privacy policy warning customers to stop making casually racist remarks, talking about their credit card details and talking dirty in front of their new Smart TVs.

The company informed users of the voice recognition feature which meant their spoken words will be "among the data captured and transmitted to a third party".

Naturally, anger from surprised customers and privacy advocates ensued.

The saga prompted an article in The Conversation titled "It's not just your TV listening in to your conversation".

In the era of the "internet of things" in which an increasingly large number of home devices are connect to the internet and communicate with each other - and their owners - it's not uncommon for devices to be eavesdropping on you.

Basically, if you want to eer on the side of caution; if it connects to the internet and has a microphone, then you should pretty much expect that it's collecting and sending some kind of data to a server somewhere far away.