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Summary:

Thought iPads and Android tablets were bad for netbooks? Wait until they replace TV sets. Vizio CTO Matt McRae believes that consumers are beginning to choose tablets over small TVs. Luckily, his company is making both – and a new set-top-box that further blurs the line.

matt mcrae

iPads and other tablets won’t kill off the laptop, but rather small-screen TVs, Vizio CTO Matt McRae told me during an interview at this week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco. “Instead of buying a 19 inch TV or a 24 inch TV, (people) may be more likely to buy a tablet,” he said.

McRae was at I/O to promote the company’s new Google TV set-top box, and he told me a bit about that device as well. Check out my interview with him below:

Vizio is still primarily known as a TV set manufacturer, but the company also started selling Android tablets last summer, and recently added laptop and desktop PCs to its inventory. And this week, it announced the Co-Star, a Google TV set-top box that will be available for pre-orders for $99 next month.

McRae told me that he ultimately sees all of these screens – TVs, PCs, tablets and smart TV devices – working together to deliver content to consumers. Asked about the market share of Google TV, he provided a rather diplomatic answer, pointing towards a growing market share for smart TVs in general. “The penetration for smart TVs is skyrocketing,” he told me.

Check out my e-book Cut the cord: All you need to know to drop cable to read how media blogger Jim Romenesko replaced all of his TVs – even the big ones – with an iPad.

  1. What is a small screen TV? 42″?

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    1. I would assume that a small screen TV is anything under 32″. 32″ and above would still be big enough to provide a better experience than a tablet. As someone who owns a 24″ television for my bedroom, I know that a tablet would offer a better visual experience than my TV, primarily because the distance between my eyes and the TV is large enough that quality loss is evident.

      By switching to a tablet, I not only get better content clarity due to the distance being reduced, but I also get the portability of a tablet. I don’t think anyone would consider buying a tablet over a 42″ or even a 32″ or 36″ television, but for the really, really low end of the television space (<32"), I could see tablets being a more popular alternative.

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