How Giant Tablets Could Be the Future of Television

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It’s all about size

Today’s televisions are smarter than ever. Thanks to on-board intelligence or devices like the Apple TV or Roku, TVs can, for the first time, run apps like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. And these smart TVs are taking off: Research firm NPD Group predicts that there will be 231 million smart TVs (or dumb TVs connected to smart devices) by 2018, a growth rate of over 80%.

“The two largest drivers of growth will be the increased acceptance of connected televisions in the homes of U.S. consumers, as well as the continued adoption of streaming media players such as those offered by Google, Apple, Roku, and Amazon,” said NPD Executive Director John Buffone in astatement accompanying his firm’s report.

Another NPD analyst, Stephen Baker, has an interesting theory. He believes that, in the future, demand for big televisions will drop, despite all these new smart features. Why? Because Netflix and other video apps also run just fine on tablets, which are cheaper and more multi-purpose than giant TVs. The theory, then, is that people will buy one humongous television for their house, then rely on a tablet to watch TV shows and movies in other rooms.

Samsung, for one, is making at least a small bet on that future. Its new Samsung Galaxy View tablet measures a whopping 18.4 inches. That’s gigantic for a tablet. But Samsung is marketing the device as a “mobile TV,” a portable, high-definition screen you can take with you around the house. I’m already using a 13-inch tablet for a similar purpose, keeping it on my bedside table and using in lieu of a bedroom TV.

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